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On Sunday, Southwest stealthily changed their program rules without advance warning, removing hotel point transfers as a method to earn Southwest Companion Pass.
After an apparently controversial campaign to write to Southwest, file DoT complaints, and raise awareness of the change on social media, Southwest agreed to give a 3 month grace period to transfer hotel points and have them qualify to earn Companion Pass status. Southwest has posted about their change of heart here.
If you earn 110K Southwest points by 12/31/17 you’ll earn Southwest Companion Pass status that will be valid until 12/31/18.
With Southwest Companion Pass you’ll get to bring a companion with you for free on all Southwest paid tickets, Southwest award tickets, and Southwest tickets booked with AMEX or Chase points, though you need to call AMEX or Chase to actually book travel on Southwest. There is no limit to how many times you can use the companion pass.
Southwest still offers 2 free checked bags. Plus you can cancel revenue tickets with no charge and use the funds for a future flight. Point reservations can be cancelled for free with the points redeposited back to your account.
Until 3/31/17 Southwest will count hotel point transfers towards companion pass status.
After 3/31/17 only points from the Southwest credit cards, from flying on Southwest, and base points earned through transactions with Rapid Rewards partners will count. However hotel transfers made by 3/31 will combine with points earned from Southwest credit cards and paid flights to earn companion pass status by earning 110K points by 12/31/17.
-Transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards don’t count towards Companion Pass.
-You can’t transfer Starwood points directly to Southwest, but you can transfer Starwood points to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio and then transfer Marriott points to Southwest.
-You can transfer 50K Chase points to 50K Hyatt and 50K Hyatt points into 30K Southwest points and those points will count for Companion Pass status.
-You can transfer Chase points to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio.
-You can earn Companion status from signup up and spending on Southwest credit cards.
-You can transfer points to another Marriott member to complete an award.
-You can transfer points to another Starwood member living at your address.
If you use the regular Marriott Rewards transfer chart you would need 310K Marriott Rewards points to transfer 110K Southwest points.
However it’s a much better deal with Marriott’s miles+nights. 270K Marriott Rewards points would give you 120K Southwest points and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel. You’ll also earn Southwest Companion Pass status with that award!
A transfer of 90K Starpoints into 270K Marriott Rewards points will make that happen.
You must call Marriott at 800-321-7396 if you want to book a miles+nights package.
-It will take 2-3 days for the points to reach Southwest and your Southwest account will be updated to Companion Pass status within a few days of the transfer.
-The 7 night electronic hotel certificate expires in 1 year, though Marriott currently will extend them for 1 additional year if you contact them.
-You don’t need to choose the hotel at the time of a nights+miles redemption.
-The certificate must be used at one property for 7 consecutive nights.
-You can have the certificate issued in anyone’s name.
-You can use more Marriott points to get yourself into a higher hotel category or you can save points if you already earned Southwest points this year and don’t need 110K points for the Companion Pass.
-You can upgrade your hotel certificate by paying the difference in points later on.
-Some agents will refund 45K Marriott points (15K Starpoints) if you return the 7 night stay certificate, but not all agents will do that.
You can view hotels by category and tier via the “find” button on this page.
-120K Southwest points will net between $1,800-$2,400 of free flights. Thanks to the companion pass you can bring someone along for free, which will mean you can use those points for $3,600-$4,800 of free flights. Plus of course you’ll get a 7 night category 1-5 hotel stay. Not a bad deal for 90K Starpoints!
-If you wanted 7 nights at the tier 3 Ritz-Carlton Herzliya you would need 420K Marriott or 140K Starpoints for that stay and 120K Southwest points with Southwest Companion Pass Status.
-If you wanted 7 nights at the category 7 Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel you would need 330K Marriott or 110K Starpoints for that stay and 120K Southwest points with Southwest Companion Pass Status.
There is also a 5 night hotel+points option that can save you some Marriott points, but officially that’s only available for Marriott timeshare owners. 5 nights and 120K Southwest points would cost 235K Marriott points. That’s 35K fewer Marriott points than are required for the 7 night package. On rare occasions some reps will book the 5 night packages for non-timeshare owners.
You can buy Starpoints here if you need some extra points to top off your account.
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser
-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.
-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months.
-If you have the Platinum Card® from American Express or the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN you can call to have your Starwood account upgraded to Gold status which will then be matched to Marriott Gold as well!
-The Chase Marriott card offers 87,500 Rewards points (also transferable to 29,167 Starpoints) for spending $3,000 and adding an additional user card. After hitting the signup bonus it’s not worth spending on this card. You’ll get 3 Marriott Rewards points per dollar by spending on a Starwood card instead!
You can view credit card offers by clicking on the “Credit Card Offers” tab on top of the DansDeals banner to view links for card offers. You can click on the link that says “View all card offers by issuing bank” and scroll down to view all card offers from the bank of your choice.
Will you go for Companion Pass status before the hotel point transfer opportunity ends?