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I wrote about this at the beginning of the month, but wanted to give you one last and final reminder that March 31st is the last day for points transferred from partner hotels to count towards the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. This means the points must hit your account by this date, so the transfer must happen well in advance. Typically, transfers only take a few days, but assume that they can take a week. To be better safe then sorry, I’d actually give it 10 days – you never kow! So that means, this week is the last and final week to transfer your hotel points to Southwest and have the points count towards the Southwest Companion Pass
Here is the deal incase any of you are not aware of what I am referring to… Transferring hotel points over to Southwest is one of the easier ways to accrue points for the amazing Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. To earn the pass, you must earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year (points do not carry over year to year).
The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass allows a companion to fly with you for FREE (plus minimal taxes) an UNLIMITED number of times during the length of the pass. Once you earn the pass, it is valid through the rest of the calendar plus the entire following calendar year. So if you were to earn the pass now, it will be valid for travel through December 31, 2018.
Hotel Partners to Transfer your Points:
1. Club Carlson
You can only transfer in increments of 2,000, 50,000, and 100,000 – all have the same transfer ratio:
- 2,000 Club Carlson Gold Points = 200 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
- 50,000 Club Carlson Gold Points = 5,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
- 100,000 Club Carlson Gold Points = 10,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
5,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = 2,400 Southwest Rapid Reward points; additionally for every 50,000 points transferred from Hyatt you’ll receive an additional 6,000 points (this is when transferring to any partner airline from Hyatt).
The more points you transfer, the better the ratio will be. However, Marriott has Hotel + Air Packages which ultimately end up being a better transfer ratio:
- 10,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 2,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
- 20,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 5,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
- 30,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 10,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
- 70,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 25,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
- 140,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
The Marriott Hotel + Air packages are a much better value for your points (if it works for you with redeeming a Marriott hotel). There are four different packages depending on the number of Marriott nights you need – you can check them out here. This will give you the biggest bang for your buck. The least expensive option that will get you the companion pass right off the bat is redeeming 270,000 Marriott points which will give you 120,000 Southwest points plus a 7-night stay certificate at a Marriott category 1-5 hotel
While you cannot directly transfer points from Starwood to Southwest, you can transfer Starwood points to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio. Once your points are part of the Marriott program, they can then be transferred to Southwest. You can either transfer points as suggested in #3 or #4. Since the Marriott Hotel + Air package is a better option, if you go this route it will only require 90,000 Starwood points to earn the Southwest Companion Pass in full. 90,000 SPG points = 270,000 Marriott Reward points. 270,000 Marriott reward points will earn you 120,000 Southwest points plus a 7-night stay certificate at a Marriott category 1-5 hotel. Of course if you do not need as many qualifying Southwest points, you can always transfer less Starwood points depending on your needs.
5. Best Western
5,000 Best Western points = 1,200 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
6. Choice Hotels
6,000 Choice Privileges points = 1,800 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
7. La Quinta
6,000 La Quinta Returns points = 1,800 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
S0…. which one is best?
The great thing is that you can use a combo of hotel points to earn the pass! So if you have some random points laying around from loyalty programs, you can put this towards the pass. But, if you are looking to earn the pass solely from one award program, chances are most of you are looking at either Marriott, Starwood, or Hyatt. With Starwood it will cost 90,000 points, Marriott will cost 270,000 points, and Hyatt will cost 195,000 points. While all three programs have points worth a different amount, using only 90,000 Starwood points is far better then the other two programs! After that, I’d recommend Marriott, and then Hyatt. And remember, with the Starwood and Marriott transfer you’ll receive the 7-night stay certificate.
Will you be taking advantage of that? Let me know if you have any questions about transferring points or the Southwest Companion Pass in general. I am a frequent user!