A Southwest Companion Pass + $1,800 in Southwest Travel + 7-Night Marriott Stay for $1,595!

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A new promotion just came up where you can purchase SPG points with up to a 50% discount. Unfortunately though, not everyone is eligible at the 50% rate so when you sign into your account you might see a lesser offer (sad face). For those that see the sparkling 50% discount, this could be a great promotion to convert into a Southwest Companion Pass. As a quick recap, the Southwest Companion Pass allows another person to fly with you for FREE (plus tax) an UNLIMITED number of times for the life of the pass! It is probably my favorite perk in the entire travel industry.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-10-02-59-amFirst you’ll need to enter your first and last name, SPG number, and email address to see your offer. It seems like everyone is eligible for some offer, but it could be as low as a 25% discount. If you see a 50% discount, you are in luck! Out of all the account numbers I have, about half can receive the 50% discount, while the others are between the 30-35% discount.

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Use the points for the Southwest Companion Pass

Utilizing this offer for the Southwest companion pass will ONLY work if you have access to three separate accounts that are eligible for the 50% discount. While you’ll be able to take advantage with a lower discount, it will cost you more money. For now, I am doing the math assuming a 50% discount. You can purchase up to 30,000 points (per calendar year) which will cost you $525. Purchasing this on three separate accounts this will cost you a total of $1,575.

Ultimately this will net you 90,000 SPG points across your three accounts. Due to the regency merger announcement between SPG and Marriott, you can now transfer SPG points seamlessly over to your Marriott accounts at a 1:3 ratio. This means the 90,000 SPG points will net you 270,000 Marriott points between the three accounts. With Marriott, you are allowed to transfer points between different members accounts. That means you’ll need to consolidate the three 30,000 points into one account. Marriott allows you to transfer and receive up to 50,000 points per calendar year, but if you need more points to redeem for a specific award, they will allow you to exceed that cap. With Marriott it costs $10 per transfer, but if you are a Gold or Platinum member it is free.

The 270,000 points can then be redeemed for one of Marriott’s Hotel + Air packages. This will get you 120,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points plus a 7 night stay at a category 1-5 night. Of course you can redeem for a higher category, it will just require more points.screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-10-24-48-amOnce you redeem for this award, 120,000 Rapid Reward points will be transferred over directly to your Southwest accounts. Southwest points earned this way WILL count towards the Southwest Companion Pass. To earn the Southwest Companion Pass you only need 110,000 qualifying points within a calendar year. This means the points transferred over will cover the required amount needed, plus some more. With just this simple redemption, the companion pass is yours!

Not only that, you then still have 120,000 Southwest points to redeem for free travel. Southwest points are worth approximately 1.5 cents per point. This means the 120,000 points is worth about $1,800 in free travel! And the best part is that you can use the companion pass when using your points! So if you use all 120,000 points during the life of your companion pass, you can really think of it as $3,200 in free travel!

Plus, with the Marriott redemption you’ll also receive a 7-night stay at a category 1-5 resort or hotel. This is worth it even if you do not have a 7-night stay and just need it for some of the nights.

The Process & The Math

  • Buy 90,000 SPG points for $1,575 (30,000 points on 3 different accounts)
  • Transfer the points to the respective Marriott accounts (1 SPG point = 3 Marriott points)
  • Consolidate the three Marriott points into one account for $20 (or free if you are Marriott Gold/Platinum) and end up with 270,000 Marriott points
  • Redeem the 270,000 Marriott points for Hotel + Air Package 3 (7-nights at a category 1-5 Marriott + 120,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points)

TOTAL COST = $1,595

  • The 120,000 Southwest points will earn you a Companion Pass, which I will value at $1,800 (of course everyone will have a different valuation depending on how you use it)
  • The 120,000 Southwest points will get you approximately a fixed value of $1,800 in Southwest travel
  • The 7-night stay at a category 1-5 Marriott is valued at a conservative $750 (I assumed a 5-night stay at $150/night).

TOTAL VALUE = $4,350

Overall, this is a great ROI IF you have use for the Southwest points and Companion Pass. Even if you do not have a real need for the Marriott hotel voucher, you are still ahead with the other two perks. And keep in mind, there are many other ways to get an amazing value this SPG 50% discount, such as cheaper Starwood hotel stays or transferring to partner airlines. This is just one example which can play out well for many.

Just remember that the Southwest companion pass is valid for the year you earn it plus the entire following year. Earning it tomorrow, for example, will only give you a few months in 206 + all of 2017. If you can earn it on January 1, 2017, for you’ll then have it for all of 2017 and 2018 giving you a longer lifespan of the path.

For those new to the Southwest Companion Pass, here if everything you’d ever want to know!

Series includes:

Point Rewards:

Comments

  1. This is so interesting. My current companion expires 12/2016. It is a valuable tool with one son looking at college and one in college across the country. In the past 2 years it has been worth $4000+ to us. My husband and I have > 90000 points in our Starwood accounts.
    I really have no interest in a 7 night vacation with staying in a Marriot. We like VRBO and smaller hotels.
    Can I book the stay and still get the Southwest points and not go?
    It seems for our circumstances that would be a good use of our Starpoints?
    I also have the 50% offer so I could supplement need be?
    I am currently over the 5/24 and it will reset in late February , and I have been trying to figure out how to get the Companion Pass….esp if there are no 50000k offers for the SW card.

    • @Cleo – You can also transfer 140,000 Marriott points to equal 50,000 Southwest points. That equals 47,000 SPG points required. To purchase that many SPG points will cost you $822.50 through the current SPG 50% discount promotion. The math here is not in your benefit, as it is actually cheaper to do the Hotel + Air package and just not redeem the Marriott stay. If you need less Southwest points to qualify for the companion pass you can select a lesser package as well.

      You absolutely do not need to redeem the Marriott free night certificate, but you can see if maybe you can gift/sell it to a friend family member.

      • Thanks. I get it now other than the timing. Supplement my Starpoints to equal 90000 before the end of the year. ( 50% off)
        They go to my Marriot account — will tx at 1:3. Is there a timeframe or limit on that?
        Do the Hotel and Air thing January 2017 to max out the Companion Pass.
        Is there a possibility that that Marriot offer would change? ( And then I’d have 270000 Marriot points?)
        Thanks for your patience!

        • @Cleo – As of now, the transfer rate from SPG to Marriott will be 1:3 till the merger closes. I do not expect that to change. There is also no limit on the number of points that can be transferred between the two programs (as of now).

          There is always a change that a hotel program can change their redemption options. With that being said, I do not foresee them changing it so suddenly without giving its members advance notice. Marriott has always given members ample time before implementing changes. But again, you never know.

      • Not only that, you could even get some of the marriott points refunded to your account if you don’t use the 7 nights. It won’t be a full refund, but if you’re not going to use the nights, it would be better than nothing.

        • @Charles Roth – That is correct! Although not a ton of points, but still better then nothing. Thanks for the reminder to dedicate a post on how this works.

          • Great! Thanks for the info!. Only have to purchase 5000 Starpoints! Will gift/sell/send back voucher for less points. Maybe offer to a charity for an auction! Have been looking for a work-around the 5/24 rule for SW companion! This is perfect

    • @miz – there is a 5-night award available, but it is technically available to Marriott Vacation Club Owners. With that being said, some Marriott representatives will do it for you, others will not.

  2. FYI- just spoke with SWA customer service. As of tomorrow 1/1/2017 no one will be able to transfer Marriott or other hotel rewards towards the companion pass, bummer!!! We almost bought SPG discount points to transfer to Marriott 1:3 to then transfer to SWA companion to use through 2018. All a no go now!!! The only way I know now is to purchase through SWA website additional points to qualify for companion pass???

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