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It is no secret that some of the best ways to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is by transferring points from loyalty partners. One of the best transfers being the Marriott Nights + Flights redemption. This redemption allows you to redeem 270,000 Marriott points (or 90,000 SPG points if you transferred over) for 120,000 Southwest points plus a 7 night stay at a category 1-5 hotel at Marriott. Up until now, those points transferred over to Southwest counted towards the Companion Pass. You only need 110,000 qualifying points to earn the points, so that specific transfer earned you the pass right off the bat.
Unfortunately, I have some bad news to share. As reported on many other blogs, plus a readers comment yesterday, Southwest is no longer allowing transfers from hotels to count towards the pass. This includes the Marriott Nights + Flights redemption.
Over the past few months I wrote about an extremely lucrative way to earn the pass IF you were targeted for the 50% Starwood purchasing points bonus. If you took advantage of this, it meant you spent approximately $1,575 to get $1,800 of Southwest points, a 7-night stay at a Marriott category 1-5 stay, plus the Companion Pass. If you have not yet redeemed your points and are looking to do that in 2017, it looks like you’ll not earn the pass. With that being said, you still should come out ahead as you’ll earn more in Southwest travel and a 7-night stay for more then what it cost. IF you purchased at a price less then a 50% bonus, you should even out. While no one actually purchased the points to even out, at least you should not be at a loss.
While I am not surprised that Southwest is making it harder and harder to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, I am extremely disappointed that Southwest made this decision without any prior notice. I feel like Southwest is better then that, but I guess not.
Now… Southwest’s technology is not the best, in my opinion, and I do wonder if the points actually will not count. There is a part of me that somewhat believes they will. At least for a little bit until their technology changes. When I spoke to a customer service rep a few weeks back to have them help me with another issue, she did tell me that a new system was coming out in May. So I am really really really hoping that no changes will actually take place until that system is rolled out. Of course, this is just me having high hopes and I have no inner knowledge. I guess only time will tell? Fingers crossed.
Again, sorry for those looking to redeem your Marriott Flights + Night package for the Southwest Companion Pass. If it makes you feel better, I am being burned too.