For the past few months, I’ve been watching with keen interest as the recent Marriott/SPG merger opened up new opportunities to earn a coveted Southwest Companion Pass.
In brief, it’s now possible to transfer Amex Rewards points –> SPG points –> Marriott points –> Marriott Travel Packages (exchange your points for a week of hotel accommodations with airline miles included) –> Companion Pass. You can get on this train at any one of the stops and still end up at the same destination. 😉 The end goal is to get 110,000 Southwest Points, which is the amount you need to earn in a year to earn the pass.
More Info About The SWA Companion Pass
- The Companion Pass is valid for the remainder of the year in which you earn it, plus the entire next year. So if you get the pass in January of 2017, it’ll be good through December of 2018.
- The pass is especially valuable because your companion can fly for free even when you are flying on an award ticket using points.
- Another great feature is that you can name up to three people (one at a time, of course) during the life of the pass.
Over the past few days, a couple of things happened that made me decide to pull the trigger on this deal.
- First, on January 1, 2017, Southwest unexpectedly pulled the plug on a longtime method of earning the pass, which was to convert Hyatt or Marriott points to Southwest points. Then, on January 5, in an amazing display of goodwill, they reversed their decision until March 31, 2017! Crazy times! Nothing like a little drama to snap a girl into action! Gotta act fast!
- Southwest started flying from Oakland to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas – for SUPER CHEAP. As in 7,128 points for a nonstop flight! This means that my family of 4 could fly to Mexico for less than 60,000 points roundtrip (45,000 if I use my companion pass). Woo!
What I Did
I’ve been really focused on my job lately, and as a result I haven’t planned many family trips (in fact, one of my goals for 2017 is to travel more).
For this reason, my points and miles balances have really built up. I was sitting on 30,000 SPG points, plus a ton of Amex points, so I decided to transfer 180,000 Amex points to SPG (at a ratio of 3:1). This gave me an additional 60,000 SPG points, for a total of 90,000.
Since SPG points transfer to Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio, I transferred all of my 90,000 SPG points to Marriott, for a total of 270,000 Marriott points.
Then I called Marriott (1-800-321-7396) to purchase a Southwest/Marriott Travel Package. This is an incredible value – you can exchange 270,000 Marriott points for 120,000 Southwest points PLUS a 7-night Marriott stay at a Category 1-5 property.
Honestly, I’m not even sure I’ll use the hotel stay. This deal was good enough without it! If I do manage to find a property that works, I’ll consider it gravy.
In the meantime, I’m busy planning a couple of trips to Mexico. With 120,000 Southwest points, I have almost enough for a total of 3 roundtrips.
Happy New Year, indeed!
Has anyone else decided to get the Southwest Companion Pass this year?