Few Miles Shy of the Southwest Companion Pass?

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Yesterday I posted about my success in getting the Southwest Airlines companion pass. For those of you who are not aware of this companion pass – it is one of the best perks in the entire airline industry! While others would disagree due the lack of business class seats on Southwest flights, that does not bother me. I mean, I am an economy kind of girl anyways —> less miles redeemed = more trips to take! You can read an entire post about the companion pass here.

After my post yesterday, many readers commented that they are just shy of earning the points needed for earning a companion pass and if I have any suggestions. You need a total of 110,000 points and here are some options:

Credit Card Usage

  • The Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward credit card is currently offering 50,000 points for new applicants (I applied for the personal and business card to receive 100,000 points).
  • Each dollar spent on your credit card = 1 point towards companion pass. Points typically post 2-3 days after your statement close date.
  • If you do not want to wait until your next statement, call Southwest and ask them to change your close date as early as possible. Southwest was able to up my close date 7 days closer – this allowed me to earn my companion pass earlier.

Rapid Reward Partners

  • Rapid Rewards Dining – Earn three points per dollar spent. You also will receive additional bonuses the more you dine.
  • Hotel Stays – Instead of earning hotel points, you can opt to receive Southwest Rapid Reward points (which count towards the companion pass). You will receive 600 points per stay at the following hotels: Best Western, Choice Hotels, Hyatt, La Quinta Inn & Suites, Marriott, Starwood, The Venetian/The Palazzo, Wyndham
  • Rental Cards – Earn 600 points per qualifying rental with the following car rental companies: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Thrifty. You can also earn 150 points each way with an airport SuperShuttle/ExecuCar reservation. Remember, many corporate rates do not qualify to earn frequent flyer miles.
  • Retail – You can earn points with the following merchants: Energy Plus, e-Rewards, teleflora, TXU Energy (not all have been confirmed to work. e-Rewards ha been confirmed by a reader.

*Per the companion pass terms & conditions, bonus points will not count towards the companion pass, just the normal every day points. For example, triple points when renting with Alamo.

Transfer Partners

While you will typically not be getting a great value when you transfer your points from one program to another, it may be worth it to earn those few extra points needed. While I have not personally tried the hotel transfer, others have and confirmed that the points do count towards the companion pass.

  • Ultimate Rewards – While points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, they DO NOT count towards the companion pass (however, UR points can be transferred to Marriott and Hyatt, and then transferred to Southwest)
  • Marriott – You can transfer at the following rate:
    • 10,000 Marriott points = 2,000 Rapid Reward points
    • 20,000 Marriott points = 5,000 Rapid Reward points
    • 30,000 Marriott points = 10,000 Rapid Reward points
    • 70,000 Marriott points = 25,000 Rapid Reward points
    • 125,000 Marriott points = 50,000 Rapid Reward points

If you do not currently have Marriott points, you can purchase the points needed (up to 50,000/calendar year) at a rate of $12.50 per 1,000 points. This means that it will cost you $625 for 15,000 Rapid Reward points

  • Hyatt – You can transfer at the following rate:
    • 5,000 Hyatt points = 2,400 Rapid Reward points – additionally, with every 50,000 Hyatt points transferred, you will receive an additional 5,000 Rapid Reward points (these bonus points might not count towards the companion pass)

If you do not currently have Hyatt points, you can purchase the points needed (up to 40,000/calendar year) at the rate of $24.00 per 1,000 points. Additionally, through March 31st, you will receive between a 10-30% bonus when purchasing points (meaning you can actually get up to 52,000 points currently). During the non-bonus time frame, it will cost you $960 for 19,200 Rapid Reward points – more expensive than Marriott.

  • Wyndham Rewards – You can transfer at the following rate:
    • 8,000 Wyndham points = 2,400 Rapid Reward points

Currently, there is no option to purchase Wyndham Reward points

  • Choice Hotels – You can transfer at the following rate:
    • 6,000 Choice Privileges points = 1,8000 Rapid Reward points

If you do not currently have Choice Privileges points, you can purchase the points needed (up to 20,000/calendar year) at a rate of $11.000 per 1,000 points. This means that 5,400 would cost you $198 – less expensive than both Marriott and Hyatt!

Currently, you cannot transfer with: Hilton, Starwood, Priority Club.

Any other roundabout ways you’ve earned points that count towards the Southwest companion pass?

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Comments

  1. Thank you for these great tips! The 50K bonus miles for getting the credit card count toward the 100K, right? Also, do you know if you can issue a second credit card to a different holder and accumulate points that way, too? My husband just got the card – but it would help if we could both spend to accrue. THANK YOU!

    • @Tree Hugging (Almost) Attorney – YUP! The two 50k points (for a total of 100k points) both count towards the companion pass. You need to accrue the points all in one persons name. Unfortunately, you will not be able to combine points that both you and your husband earn. HOWEVER, if your husband gets a 2nd card and adds you on as an authorized user, than all the points will get posted to his account – for both his and your spend on the card.

  2. Convert your UR to Marriot, then Marriot to SW RR

    UR to Marriot took about 2 days to transfer, then about 2 or 3 to SW RR.

  3. Looking at your math on Marriot. It does not look correct. You can only purchase 50K marriot points for $625 which would convert to 15K RR, not 50K RR. as the last sentence says. You had me giddy there for a sec.

    • @Shawn – you are absolutely correct. Thanks for pointing that out. That would be too good to be true right?! I’ll check the math on the rest too.

  4. Unfortunately points from Rapid Rewards Shopping do not count towards the CP. (I’ve tried.) I can, however, confirm that points from E-Rewards do.

  5. Why purchase so many Marriott points? After the Chase bonus, you only need 10k, not 15k. I bought points for $375 and converted them to 10k RR points. And I got my CP card in the mail yesterday!

    • @Mark – That is correct, assuming you opened two Southwest credit cards and got the 100k points. Enjoy that companion pass. I loved mine the past two years and am so glad I have it back for another two!

  6. If you’re going for the CP, that probably means you’re going to do a bit of flying on Southwest in the upcoming 1-2 years. If you have some cash in the bank, a great way to speed up reaching the 110,000 points is to buy Southwest gift cards. You get 2x the points for GC purchases, and then you can redeem them to buy your tickets over the next year. A great way to bring some spending forward.

  7. @Tree Hugging-I can confirm that 2 different applicant SSN’s can be used to get to 100K CPQP for 1 person. My friend got SW RR CC and so did his wife. They both used the husband’s RR # on the application page and Chase sent all 100K to 1 account. This is an easy way for spouses, friends, family members, etc to get CP twice as fast.

    James

  8. I applied to both the business and personal cards. I was approved for personal card but not business. Is this card churnable? Can I cancel my card now then reapply in 3 months to get the bonus again? Any help will be appreciated!

    • @Neil – Did you call the reconsideration department for your business card? That happened to me and most folks I spoke to – they were approved for their first application but not the 2nd. You cannot cancel and then reapply in 3 months. With Chase it has to be at least 2 years from when you cancelled the card and there is still no cut and dry rule either.

  9. Has anyone confirmed that Marriott and/or Choice points can be converted to Southwest points that qualify for the Companion Pass?

    Thanks!

    • @Brian – While I personally have not done this (as I have no need), many people have confirmed it works if you transfer directly from your hotel account. This does not work for transferring from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

  10. I can confirm that Hyatt points transfer and qualify for companion status. However, the points I have earned from Rapid Rewards dining have NOT.

    My total points is just over 110000, but my companion qualifying points are just under 110000. The difference seems to be attributable to my RRDiing points.

  11. Can you transfer UR points to Southwest CP qualifying points by transferring UR -> Amtrak (1:1) -> Choice (1:3) -> Southwest (10:3)?
    So 40K UR signup bonus -> 40K Amtrak -> 120K Choice -> 36K Southwest for a transfer rate of 10:9. Not quite 1:1 but much better than Hyatt’s transfer rate.

    • @sna – While I haven’t transferred from Choice to Southwest directly, from what I’ve read yes – all of the hotel transfers count towards companion pass status. UR transfer directly does not.

  12. I am short of 6500 rapid rewards points to get my Companion Pass. What are my options since I only have 25 days left before my 104,000 points will be wasted…thanks..

  13. I am in the same boat as K12k30.. I need 3,000 points in 20 days. I see all these ways but if points are not credited in 20 days, it will not be worth it. Any ideas on how to get it quick?

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