Southwest Companion Pass No More Hotel Transfers
One of the greatest deals in miles & points for many years has been the Southwest Companion Pass. With the pass, you can take a companion with you for free on both paid tickets and awards. Better yet the pass is good for the rest of the year in which you earn it plus the entire next year.
To get the pass you need to “earn” 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a year. Since credit card earnings and bonuses count, for years the optimum strategy was to get both a Chase personal and business card with 50K bonuses plus earn the other 10K through either spend or hotel transfers. Of course with Chase 5/24 seemingly in effect on those cards, that deal has dried up.
People hoping to get the companion pass though had a new hope emerge with the SPG/Marriott merger. Marriott charges 270,000 points to get a Flight & Hotel package including 7 nights in a category 1-5 property plus 120,000 Rapid Rewards points. Additionally SPG Starpoints transfer to Marriott 1:3 now, so 90K Starpoints = 7 free nights, a companion pass + 120K Rapid Rewards points. Or at least they did.
As of today, hotel transfers no longer count towards the companion pass. Per The Points Guy Southwest has changed their terms to prohibit transfers from hotel and car rental partners from counting towards the companion pass. They also released the following statement:
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.
As you can see, the statement above does confirm that credit card spend still counts and it seems bonuses from the cards will as well. For those who are under 5/24 there is still some hope, but for the rest of us it is going to take A LOT of spend to get there. I understand this rule change, but definitely feel like Southwest could have given at least some notice to customers, but then again they apparently saw this as a loophole.
What are your thoughts? Should Southwest have given notice? Are you still planning to pursue a companion pass? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!