For those that have been following this blog for awhile, you probably already know that I am a huge fan of Southwest Airlines especially due to their companion pass perk! I’ve personally been a companion pass holder for approximately 8 years now (I’ve started to lose count) and it has allowed a companion to fly with me an UNLIMITED number of times throughout he life of the pass. If you want to learn more about this companion pass, read this prior series. It is awesome!
While there are many ways to earn the pass, one method is to use Marriott’s Flight + Hotel packages. With this option you can redeem anywhere between 270,000 and 540,000 Marriott points to earn 120,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points plus a 7 night stay at any Marriott hotel in the respective category you are looking to purchase the package for. Typically, this is a better offer if you are looking to redeem at a category 5 property, but the big problem is that many travelers do not typically stay at the same hotel for 7 consecutive nights. To earn the Southwest Companion Pass you need to earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year. The points transferred over from Marriott DO count towards the pass.
Now, due to last Friday’s announcement that you can link your SPG and Marriott accounts, you can now take advantage of this offer if you are sitting on a bunch of SPG points. Prior to this, you could not transfer your SPG points to Southwest so there was no way of earning the Southwest Companion Pass by utilizing SPG points. Since SPG points transfer to Marriott at a 1 to 3 ratio, this means just 90,000 SPG points can get you this same package of 7 nights at a Marriott hotel and 120,000 Southwest points.
But, are you still getting a good value when transferring your points? Let’s assume you value SPG points at 2.2 cents per point. That means 90,000 SPG points equals $1,980. The 120,000 Southwest points you earn is worth approximately $1,800 towards free flights. Also, when you redeem points for a free flight, you are also able to use your companion pass. This means your companion can fly with you for free (plus taxes). So as long as you use the 120,000 points while you have the pass, you can double the value. On top of that you’ll get a certificate to use for a category 1-5 hotel at a Marriott hotel for 7 consecutive days. This is at least a $1,000 value. Assuming you will use the Southwest companion pass, transferring your SPG points is a fantastic value!
Let me know if you have any questions regarding the Southwest companion pass or using your SPG points. There are also a ton of other ways to earn points towards the Southwest companion pass!
all sounds good, but let’s just hope that SW won’t pull the plug w/o advance notice
If all the bloggers keep pumping this to death, well it will be dead shortly.
May as well wait until Jan 1 at this point. Generally I would plan to keep my points in Starwood as long as possible. Basically Starwood points are much more valuable for booking hotels especially in high season when you often can’t even use your Marriott points. Marriott has a vested interest in having us move points from Starwood to Marriott. The redemption fee that Marriott pays hotels is much less than Starwood, who pay close to full rate when the hotel is sold out or close to it.
The question is how long is this SPG to Marriott transfer deal going for?
@John – My assumption is until the merger is finalized.
Fascinating…… a way to get the SWA companion pass without getting the two SW cards again end or year, then then requisite spend on both…. (been there done that, twice in the family) So share your enthusiasm for Southwest.
Pray tell though, for this new angle, how doth one get 90,000 SPG points? One c card only gets you 30k — if yer lucky. If you’ve covered this in another post, do re-post. thanks