An Even Easier Way for the Southwest Companion Pass!

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Last week I wrote about an awesome way to earn the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass for just $1,595. While that might be a decent amount of money to actually pay for this pass, you will also end up with 120,000 Southwest Points valued at about $1,800 PLUS a 7-night stay certificate at a Marriott hotel. At the end of the day, it is really a win-win in my opinion. Especially since I love flying Southwest and am obsessed with the companion pass!

This past weekend a fellow blogger Majored in Miles pointed out to me an even easier way to obtain the pass using a similar method that I wrote about previously. Originally during my post I said you’d have to find three accounts that were eligible for the 50% discount when purchasing SPG points promotionNote: this is a targeted offer and not everyone will receive the 50% discount in their account, but instead a lesser discount. What I just recently found out is that you can gift points from your account to another account using the same purchasing points offer that you were targeted for. So ultimately, you only need to have one account that is eligible for the 50% discount, not three!

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-10-02-59-amFor those of you who did not read my post last week and are wondering what the heck I am talking about, here is a recap:

First 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.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-10-07-20-am

Use the points for the Southwest Companion Pass

Utilizing this offer for the Southwest companion pass will ONLY work if you have access to at least one account that is 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. This limit is the amount you can receive or be gifted per account. You are able to purchase the points for additional accounts (as long as they haven’t reached the 30,000 cap) even if you already purchased points for your own account. This means from Account A, you can purchase 30,000 points for Account A, gift 30,000 points for Account B, and gift another 30,000 points for Account C. Purchasing points for your account, plus gifting points for two additional accounts will cost you a total of $1,575.

Ultimately this will net you 90,000 SPG points across your three accounts. Due to the recent 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 90,000 points per account 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. You can always “sell back” the award to Marriott for some points if you aren’t going to use the award at all. Unfortunately, the number of points you’ll receive back is minimal, but still better then nothing!

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 out of 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. Therefore, I suggest purchasing the points now, but waiting until January 1, 2017 to actually redeem the award.

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

Let me know if you have any questions!

Comments

  1. Goodness…I only was offered 25% off. I’m really wanting this companion pass…do you see any better ways to do it other than this? This is such a good deal, but I just have 1 account. Not sure how you get two more…and I bet the offers on those would be the same?

      • My friend had the 50% offer and she gifted me 30,000 points last Thursday. I just asked her to log on her account so she could gift my husband another 30,000 points but her offer is now showing 25%. ;-(

        • @Joan – That is so interesting that the offer changed. Thanks for sharing. Glad you were able to get the points gifted though!

    • i tried creating account after account using my alternate emails, finally i was able to get an account with 50% offer

      • Hi,
        I have 3 questions that I hope you will answer for me. Since SPG states that “Starpoint purchases can be made by members whose accounts have been active for a minimum of 14 days. Accounts that are less than the required 14 days in age will have the purchase attempt cancelled.”
        Question 1: Did you purchase right after creating the account or did you wait the minimum 14 days?
        Question 2: (Based on Question 1) If you did wait 14 days, did the amount of the discount change?
        Question 3: After you gift/purchase SPG points, did the amount of the discount change or was it consistently 50% for that account?
        Thank you for your time.

        • @john –
          1) You need to wait 14 days to purchase points
          2&3) One reader stated that after they purchased points, the discount amount did change. I’ve only heard about this on one account though, so not sure.

    • @Rich – happy to help. You need to have one SPG account that has the 50% discount offer (let’s call this Account A). You’ll also need to use two other SPG accounts, see if friends/family members will allow you access to their accounts (let’s call these two accounts Account B and C). From Account A, you will want to purchase 30,000 points. From Account A you’ll then want to gift 30,000 points to Account B. From Account A you’ll then want to gift 30,000 points to Account C.

      Does that help?

  2. Here is a easier and much cheaper way.

    I have referrals for both the Southwest Plus and the Southwest Premier card. Both of these come with a 50,000 point sign up bonus after hitting the $2000 minimum spend. This is an easy way to get the Southwest companion pass and after hitting the minimum spend on both cards you will have 104,000 of the 110,000 points needed. The current offer at Southwest is 40,000 points per card. Without the referral you would be missing out on an additional 20,000 points which will make it that much harder to get the companion pass. Email: randycox100@gmail.com

    Yes I will get a referral bonus if you use my link. If you time it out right and have the points post to your account in January, you can have the companion pass for nearly 2 years. If you like to travel on the cheap, there is no better way to do it.

    Thanks

  3. I’ve purchased the points and have 3 Marriott accounts with 90k points each. I’m confused how to transfer those all into one Marriott account. The text says I can transfer up to 50,000 points per year. How do I get around that limit?

    • @john – technically you are only allowed to transfer up to 50,000 points per year. However if you have a specific redemption in mind that requires more points, Marriott will allow you to transfer more.

  4. Hi,
    After reading your article I decided to look some SPG terms and conditions. It states that you ca. Only gift and receive 30,000 points per calender year? And another question if you are able to gift more that 30,000 .. how are you able to gift from just one account?
    Thank you for your time!

    • @John – i believe it is you are only able to receive 30,000 points (whether it be gifted, purchased, or transferred) per account.

  5. Good article! Has anyone actually gone through the process, and have 270,000 Marriott points transferred into 1 account already?

    I am particular interested in the following statement. It sounds like a personal experience, and YMMV?
    “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. ”

    Thanks.

  6. Question on the 7 night stay certificate – I’m assuming it has to be used for a single stay? It can’t be used for two stays at different properties?

  7. Will Marriot let you combine multiple accounts? It sounds like you will need 3 Marriott accounts each linking to each SPG account. If I call Marriott and tell them I have multiple reward accounts that I want to combine, they won’t give me any problems?
    It just want to make sure there isn’t something in their T&C’s that would prevent me from moving my Marriot points from one account to another..

    thanks

  8. 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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