How To Get The Southwest Companion Pass Using Marriott and SPG Points
As of today, the coveted Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is now ours until the end of 2018! For those not in the know, there is currently a loophole to earn the Companion Pass through Marriott using SPG points. Using this loophole, we used 340,000 Marriott Reward points to purchase a Marriott Hotel + Air package earning us a 7 night stay at a category 8 Marriott property and 100,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points. While that may seem like a ton of Marriott points, we supplemented our Marriott balance by transferring over SPG points. We’ll break down below how to get the Southwest Companion Pass using Marriott and SPG points for yourself!
Overview of the Loophole
This loophole came about due to the merger of Marriott and Starwood. The Marriott Rewards program historically has Southwest Airlines as a points transfer partner. SPG does not have Southwest Airlines as a transfer partner. With the two companies now merged, you can easily transfer your SPG points to the Marriott program at a 1:3 ratio. This now means that you could easily transfer 90k SPG points to get 270k Marriott points and then use that to earn the Companion Pass.
While Southwest Airlines has been a transfer partner of Marriott, the transfer ratio is an abysmal 1:5. This means that for every 1,000 Rapid Reward points, you will have to spend 5,000 Marriott points. That is terrible! To get the 1:1 ratio, you will have to purchase the Marriott Flight + Hotel Package 3.
The biggest disclaimer about this loophole is that it will be closed by March 31, 2017. Southwest Airlines has come out and officially stated that it will not let point transfer from other programs count towards the Companion Pass. So if you’re hoping to get this, you better move fast!
How to Transfer SPG Points to Marriott
While we opted for a 340k redemption of a category 8 stay and 100k Rapid Reward points, you can easily get Companion Pass for 270k Marriott points. We already had some Rapid Reward points in our account and did not need the 120k Rapid Reward packages. We also wanted to be able to use the category 8 stay in a nicer location in the future since there aren’t too many great Marriotts in categories 1-5.
If you don’t have the 270k points, you can transfer 90,000 SPG points to Marriott. The 90,000 SPG points will give you 270,000 Marriott reward points because of the 1:3 ratio. When you book the package, you will get a 7 night stay at a category 1-5 Marriott hotel and 120,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points. The 120,000 Rapid Reward points instantly earns you the Companion Pass as Companion Pass only requires 110,000 Rapid Reward Points. We would recommend this route since it’s the most minimal amount of points needed but you can always pick the option you need.
Transfer SPG Points Using the SPG Website
Transferring SPG points to Marriott is easy using the SPG website. Simply log in and find the option to transfer on your summary page. We transferred 97k SPG points and it took an hour for it to appear in our Marriott account.
Once the points are in your Marriott account, you will have to call this number 1-800-321-7396 to order the Flight +Hotel Package 3. Make sure to have your Southwest Rapid Rewards account number ready and know which option you want from the package. The ordering process takes about 5 minutes of talking with a representative.
The hotel stay certificate will appear in your Marriott account under the Activity section. The hotel certificate will be valid for 1 year from the issued date. One thing to note about the hotel certificate is that you cannot get a refund for it. You can downgrade or upgrade to a different category though. If you don’t use it within a year, you can also call Marriott to ask for an extension.
At this point, you are now done! The Marriott points will transfer over to your Rapid Rewards account within 3 days. We ordered the Flight + Hotel package on a Friday and the points appeared in our Rapid Rewards account on Sunday.
We want to reiterate that this loophole will be closed by March 31, 2017. This is probably the easiest way to get the Southwest Companion Pass aside from opening up two Southwest credit cards. If you want do this, you better hurry! Using this loophole, we now have Companion Pass through the end of 2018. We are hoping to now use the Companion Pass to fly to Cuba, Costa Rica, and some other destinations in the Caribbean!
Bryan is a travel blogger and one half of Travelling Daze. Bryan loves to blog about trip planning, reward point redemptions, photography, and videography.