You have two more days (including today) to transfer hotel points to Southwest for the purposes of earning a Southwest Companion Pass. Friday, March 31 is the cutoff. After Friday, any points transferred to Southwest will not count as “qualifying” towards the Companion Pass. That includes Marriott Travel Packages.
The Southwest Companion Pass, if you’re unaware, is one of the best deals in travel. If you have the Southwest Companion pass, you can designate a companion who flies for just the taxes on every Southwest flight you fly. You have to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards to get a Companion Pass, and it lasts for the year that you earn it in as well as the following year.
For the moment, qualifying points for Southwest Companion Pass can be earned a variety of ways, the easiest of which being from credit card sign up bonuses, credit card spending, Rapid Rewards shopping portal points, or hotel points transfers. Qualifying points CAN NOT be earned by transferring points directly from Ultimate Rewards.
The News That Pissed Everyone Off at the Beginning of 2017
Word hit the miles blogosphere at the beginning of this year that point transfers in from hotel and car rental programs wouldn’t count towards a companion pass anymore. A few days after Southwest broke the news, they released another statement via The Points Guy that they had decided to retract the closing of the loophole through March 31, 2017. It was very good news for those of you who took advantage of Marriott Travel Package #3 in the very beginning of the year for the purposes of earning the companion pass as early in 2017 as possible. Marriott Travel Package 3 includes a hotel certificate for seven nights at a category 1-5 Marriott hotel and 120k Rapid Rewards, and I’m betting many transferred 90k SPG points (1 SPG point = 3 Marriott points thanks to their new relationship) to buy the 270k point package.
So, if you have 90k SPG points and want a companion pass, transferring to Marriott for the travel package is still a viable option, but only until this Friday, March 31. I have not transferred any SPG points to Marriott points myself, but others have all reported instantaneous or near instantaneous transfer times, and you just have to initiate the purchase of the Marriott Travel Package by March 31 for the Rapid Rewards to qualify towards a Companion Pass. The Points Guy confirmed that yesterday.
Of course, the March 31 deadline also applies to other hotel point to Rapid Reward transfers, so if you need topping off to get to that 110k benchmark get a move on!
Here are transfer rates from common hotel loyalty programs:
- 5,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = 2,400 Rapid Rewards. Transfers must be made in 1,250 point increments. Transfers of 50,000 points or more get 6,000 Rapid Reward bonus (i.e. 50,000 Hyatt points = 30,000 Southwest points)
- 5,000 Best Western Rewards points = 1,200 Rapid Rewards
- 6,000 Choice Privileges points = 1,800 Rapid Rewards
- 6,000 La Quinta Returns points = 1,200 Rapid Rewards
- 2,000 Club Carlson points = 200 Rapid Rewards. Note that you can only redeem Club Carlson points in increments of 2k, 50k, or 100k.
Need Some Catching Up?
If this post confuses you, read up on the Southwest Companion Pass in our Master Thread.
Southwest Airlines made an announcement in the beginning of this year that point transfers in from hotel or car rental programs would not count as qualifying points towards the Companion Pass anymore. Southwest customers flipped out, so the company wisely retracted their new rule for a grace period of three months. That grace period is nearly over.
If you want to redeem Marriott points the Rapid Rewards Hotel + Air Package, or transfer other hotel points to Southwest Rapid Rewards for the purposes of accruing 110k Rapid Rewards for the Companion Pass, do it now. This Friday, March 31, is your deadline.