My Experience Getting the Southwest Companion Pass With Starwood Points

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It is here! My coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

After a disappointing New Year’s Day announcement that hotel transfers would no longer count toward the Companion Pass, to a reversal a few days later after much criticism, the beginning of 2017 was a wild ride for Southwest.

Southwest Companion Pass

Back n forth on January 1st

I wasn’t surprised by the announcement – I predicted it would happen a year ago – but it was underhanded and calculating for them to “close the loophole” on January 1st with absolutely no forewarning.

It was sleazy and the opposite of transparent. And for those few days, I was kind of happy to not have the Companion Pass. Because why would I want to commit to a company that makes those sort of changes without warning?

Made it official on January 5th

Made it official on January 5th

But they did the right thing, and added a generous 3-month deadline. So that turned me around. Although they have devalued their revenue-based points system without notice twice in recent memory. So I still have that thought in the back of my mind.

My experience getting the Southwest Companion Pass

Just as I described in this post, I transferred 90,000 Starwood points instantly to Marriott. At the 1:3 ratio, I had 270,000 Marriott points – exactly enough for a Southwest Hotel + Air package.

Package 3 is where it's at

Package 3 is where it’s at

Then called Marriott at 800-321-7396 and had a representative on the phone within 5 minutes. I asked for the Hotel + Air package for 7 nights and 120,000 Southwest points. He quoted me 270,000 Marriott points – exactly the amount in my account.

I gave him my Southwest Rapid Rewards number. The whole call took maybe 3 minutes.



The 7-night certificate appeared in my account immediately.

And the 120,000 Southwest points appeared on January 7th, a couple of days later.


It took a couple more days for the points to update

But no Companion Pass status. I was patient though, a couple more days later, saw this:



And in case I hadn’t logged in, they sent me this nice email today (January 11th) with the subject “Congrats! You earned Companion Pass.“:


Thanks, Southwest

The process from start to finish, from initial phone call to Companion Pass status, took 5 days.

  • Day 1: Called Marriott to book the Hotel + Air package
  • Day 3: 120,000 Southwest points appeared in my account
  • Day 5: Companion Pass appeared in my account

And, it’s valid through December 31, 2018 – nearly 2 full years.

As a Dallas-based flyer, I can’t wait to put it to near-constant use! An excellent way to redeem 90,000 Starwood points if you ask me.

This method of earning the Companion Pass is valid through March 31st, 2017. Then it will be gone foreverrrr.

Thoughts on this year’s travel goals

With Virgin America and Southwest both serving Dallas-Love Field, I anticipate flying out of DAL like a beast this year. With some flights from DFW on Alaska and other airlines for award flights.

I have Alaska companion certificates, gift cards, and discounts I need to use (all earned from the Bank of America Alaska Visa or Amex Platinum cards). And of course, I have 120,000 Southwest points, worth $1,716 toward Southwest flights (assuming they’re worth 1.43 cents each and they’re usually worth a little more). And, I can add a companion for only the cost of taxes and fees.

Suffice it to say, I am raring to go!

I also have a fair amount of Alaska miles to burn (because it’s easy to get 30,000 more every 45 days) and am thinking of a trip to Hong Kong and South Africa on Cathay Pacific. I’d also love to visit Patagonia, finally.

I also want to re-visit Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, and New Orleans. And fit in a trip to Portland for a weekend (Alaska has a DFW-PDX non-stop and I’ve never been there!).



Lots of domestic travel. And a few award trips to farther places. So the Southwest/Virgin America/Alaska trio is going to serve my travel goals quite well. Now, to start planning some trips!

Bottom line

Earning the Southwest Companion Pass with 90,000 Starwood points took a 5-minute call and 5 days of waiting. Easy peezy.

If you need more Southwest, Starwood, or Marriott points, you probably have enough time to open a new credit card and earn the sign-up bonus. Don’t forget online shopping portal bonuses, dining bonuses, and points earned from hotel stays all count toward the Southwest Companion Pass, too. And it all adds up!

I’m jazzed about the Companion Pass and flying 2-for-1 through the end of 2018. I have a feeling it will be put to constant use. And more importantly, I’ll use it to make new memories and visit new places – the reason I travel to begin with.

Just wanted to share about my quick and easy experience earning the Companion Pass. The hotel points transfer method will work through March 31st, 2017 – so get it while you can.

Did you get a Southwest Companion Pass already this year? Or will you, before this “loophole” closes forever? 

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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