Southwest kills best option for earning Companion Pass [Update: Death delayed until April 1!]


UPDATE: Points transferred from hotel & car rental programs, and from Diners Club, WILL count towards the Companion Pass through March 31 2017.

While I was obliviously enjoying a fantastic vacation in Costa Rica, The Points Guy yesterday broke the news that points transferred from hotel and car rental programs to Southwest will no long count towards the Companion Pass.  This is big and unfortunate news for those who were planning to take advantage of Marriott’s Travel Package in order to earn a Companion Pass.

For review, if you earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year, you will earn a Southwest Companion Pass that is good for an unlimited number of flights for the rest of that year and all of the next.  It is one of the best travel deals available today and it just became harder to get.


One great option for getting a Companion Pass was to transfer 90,000 SPG points to 270,000 Marriott points, and then redeem the Marriott points for a 7 night hotel certificate plus 120,000 Rapid Rewards points. That approach will no longer result in a Companion Pass.  I’m truly very sorry if anyone bought a vacation package yesterday or today with the hope of getting a Companion Pass! 

Thankfully points earned from their co-branded credit cards, and base points earned from partners such as the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal will still count towards earning a Companion Pass.

Here is an update that was provided to The Points Guy by Southwest:

We’re working to protect the integrity and value of Southwest’s industry-unique Rapid Rewards® Companion Pass by closing a loophole that previously allowed Members to transfer mileage and points from other partner loyalty programs toward qualification for a Companion Pass. As we closed this loophole, we also updated our terms and conditions which now clarifies that points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club will no longer count toward qualification for a Companion Pass. Members will continue to earn Companion Pass benefits through paid flights flown on Southwest, points earned through spend with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards, and base points earned through transactions with Rapid Rewards partners.

For more information on these changes, see: this The Points Guy post.

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