Get the Southwest Companion Pass for 2 Years for 90,000 Starwood Points

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So it’s done: the Marriott-Starwood merger.

To be honest, they’re handling it a lot better than I thought they would. But I also get the feeling they can’t wait to destroy the program in 2018. But that’s neither here nor there.

Within the opportunity to link your Marriott and Starwood accounts, you’ll get:

  • An instant status match
  • The ability to transfer points instantly between both programs (3 Starwood points = 1 Marriott point)
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90,000 Starwood points gets you enough Marriott points for a Southwest Hotel + Air package, and thus, the Southwest Companion Pass

If you transfer 90,000 Starwood points, you’ll wind up with 270,000 Marriott points. Which is enough for a Southwest Hotel + Air package to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

It could be a fantastic deal if you fly Southwest a lot!

Use Starwood points to unlock the Southwest Companion Pass

Starwood points to NOT transfer to Southwest. But if you like flying on Southwest, you can indirectly use Starwood points to earn the Southwest Companion Pass for 2 full years by transferring 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott for a Southwest Hotel + Air Package.

Use Starwood points to redeem for Marriott's Southwest Hotel + Air Package in January 2017

Use Starwood points to redeem for Marriott’s Southwest Hotel + Air Package in January 2017

When you do, you’ll earn 120,000 Southwest points and 7 nights in a Marriott Category 1 through 5 hotel. Obvi, you’ll get the most bang for your buck at a Category 5 hotel. But you can still do well at some Category 4 hotels.

But the hotel stay is almost moot.

1 Southwest point is worth ~1.43 cents. You’ll get 120,000 Southwest points, which are worth ~$1,716 (120K x 1.43 cents).

But even better, the points you transfer do count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass.

Want the Southwest Companion Pass? It's yours for 90,000 Starwood points

Want the Southwest Companion Pass? It’s yours for 90,000 Starwood points

If you transfer the points and redeem for a package in January 2017, you’ll have the Southwest Companion Pass for a full 2 years – which means you can add a companion on ANY paid OR award ticket for only the cost of taxes and fees.

Is it worth it?

If you’re based in a Southwest hub, or a city with good Southwest service, the ability to add a companion for 2 full years is worth as much as you think you’ll use it, especially for expensive tickets like last-minute trips and during the holidays.

Even if you only use it a few times, the hundreds of dollars you’ll save can make this well worth contemplating.

In fact, as a Dallas-based flyer who lives 10 minutes from DAL, I am seriously considering doing this myself. But one huge note – wait until January 2017 to make the transfers. Because Southwest bases the Companion Pass on the year when the points are earned. If you make the transfer in 2016, you’ll only have the pass until the end of 2017.

The numbers

I’d say 7 nights at a Marriott Category 5 hotel are worth ~$800 (at least).

And the 120,000 Southwest points you’ll get will be worth ~$1,716 (at 1.43 cents each).

But you can go ahead and double that because you’ll immediately earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

Plus any other flights you buy over the course of 2 years (I’ll peg this at $1,000).

So your 90,000 Starwood points get you:

  • $800 on the Marriott stay
  • $3,432 on Southwest award flights with the Companion Pass
  • $1,000 more for your Companion on paid Southwest flights over 2 years

Which comes to $5,232. So, in essence, your 90,000 Starwood points can be worth over $5,000 depending on how much you use your Companion Pass – and which Marriott hotel your choose for your 5-night stay.

Each Starwood point, then, is worth ~6 cents each – which is a stellar deal any way you slice it – especially if you already like to fly with Southwest.

Get Starwood points

If you need or want Starwood points, sign-up for one of the cards above for an injection of 25,000 points after meeting the minimum spending requirements.

Rewards Credit Cards

Or, apply for any number of cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points which transfer to travel partners, including Marriott:

You won’t get approved for any of the Chase cards if you’ve had more than 5 open cards in the previous 24 months. But if you get one (or both, like I did) of the Amex cards and top yourself off with Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Marriott, that could be another way to get all the points you’ll need. Remember:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio
  • Starwood points transfer to Marriott at 1:3 ratio (and vice versa)

So run the numbers to see if it makes sense. If you fly Southwest a lot, and have a lot of Chase Ultimate Rewards, Marriott, or Starwood points, it could add up to be a very worthwhile deal.

Bottom line

I’m mulling over the possibilities this merger has created as of today, so be on the lookout for more ways to make your points worth more.

I do think this one is perhaps the best, though. In fact, I am strongly considering it myself.

But remember to wait until January 2017 before you redeem your points this way – because of how the timing on the Southwest Companion Pass works.

If you wait until 2017, you’ll get a Companion Pass good for all of 2017 and all of 2018 – and 5 free nights at a Marriott Category 1 through 5 hotel.

Starwood points don’t transfer to Southwest directly, so this is an indirect workaround that can be pretty valuable if you time it and use it right.

What do you think? Is this a good deal or nah? Will you consider doing it?

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Comments

  1. You’d only get one companion pass, not 2, correct? So your calculation is to the high side by the extra pass via the doubling of the 120K point value. Should be $1716 + the value of one pass (it can’t be valued in points, only average cash cost for a ticket), which is likely about $500. Closer to $4000 in total value. Still, a very, very good deal dependent on how you apply it.

    • Yes, just one. The reason I doubled it is because those points are enough to fly to 2 people – not just one – when you have the Companion Pass.

      But yes, could be a very good deal!

      • Yeah, but you can’t double the value of your points when you have the companion pass because the value of cash ticket is doubled as well. A companion pass gets you an extra fair whether you use cash or points. So if your cash is worth twice as much and your points are worth twice as much, then your points only equal the original 1x conversion rate not 2x. There have been a couple articles written on this common misconception. Even at the regular rate I would still agree with you that this is a good deal though.

        • I’ve read the articles and heard the other arguments before. But I still think of it as doubling the value.

          Because 10,000 points, say, can get you one ticket. Or, it can get you two. So the net cost becomes 5,000 per ticket instead of 10,000 – the value had doubled because you can take someone with you for free.

          Same with cash. I can buy a flight for $100. Or get two for the same price – net $50 each. It’s like getting a two-for-one deal with points or cash if you look at the bottom line.

          But I encourage everyone to think about how they value their points. And I always like hearing other opinions, so thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂

          I do agree that any way you slice it, this can be a fantastic deal if you use it a lot!

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