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Top 11 Ways To Top Up Your Account For The Southwest Companion Pass

by on July 30, 2013 · 35 comments

in Southwest, Top 10

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Update: This offer is no longer available. View the current offer for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card here.

As I have often said, one of the most incredible airline frequent flyer perks out there is the Southwest Companion pass,which lets a companion fly free with you for up to two years (depending on when you qualify)- whether you pay for a ticket or use points.

The companion pass is valid for the remainder of the year plus the following year.

The companion pass is valid for the remainder of the year plus the following year.

Companion Pass qualifying points differ from elite-qualifying miles on other airlines. That’s because you accrue these points from a variety of activities including flying, but also credit card purchases/sign-up bonuses and partner activity, and will earn the Companion Pass when you hit 110,000 points or fly 100 one way flights within a calendar year. That’s great news for those of you who have already gotten in on the current limited-time 50,000-point sign-up bonus offers on all four Southwest credit cards – but it also means that if you can’t get the credit cards for some reason or if you already have them, there are still plenty of other ways to top up your account for that Companion Pass.

As the summer travel season heats up it is always great to take a travel buddy, and there are many ways to build up your rewards to the coveted level of points. Here are just some of the ways to hit the required level.

1. Get a New Credit Card: The fastest way to reach the the spending limit was by a new Southwest credit card from Chase during the  limited-time bonus offer of 50,000 points on each card when you spend $2,000 in 3 months.

There are four cards to choose from so even if you have already got one ore more of the 50,000-point Southwest cards this year, you can still apply for the other cards. There is a $99 fee on the Premier personal and business card and $69 fee on the personal and business Plus cards. The Premier comes with 6,000 points every anniversary ($108 in Wanna Get Away Fares) and the Plus gets 3,000 ($54).

Marriott is one of the biggest hotel chains partnered with Southwest.

Marriott is one of the biggest hotel chains partnered with Southwest.

2. Transfer Hotel Points: Although it’s usually not a great value proposition to convert hotel points into airline miles, this is still a decent option if you just need to top up your account and know that you won’t be putting those hotel points to use. Southwest partners with several hotel programs where you can convert your hotel points to Rapid Rewards.

Rapid Rewards Members can redeem 5,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for 2,400 Rapid Rewards Points. When members redeem 50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for 24,000 Rapid Rewards Points, they receive a bonus of 6,000 additional Rapid Rewards Points for a total of 30,000 Rapid Rewards Points. While Ultimate Rewards transfers to Southwest do not count towards Companion Pass Qualification, they do transfer to Hyatt instantly at a 1:1 ratio, so topping up at 50,000 UR points to Hyatt to 30,000 Southwest points (worth ~$540 in Wanna Get Away fares) will count as 30,000 Companion Pass Qualifying points. To get the full 111,600 for the Companion Pass, you’d need to transfer 195,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which would give you ~$3,510 in Wanna Get Away fares, which when you factor in the free Companion Pass you’ll get when you redeem all of those points, you’re looking at ~$7,020 in travel! To maximize the transfer, you might as well do 200,000 Hyatt to 120,000 Rapid Rewards points to get the 6,000 point bonus per 50,000 Hyatt transferred. Top top up your Ultimate Rewards account, the Ink Bold & Plus each currently offer 50,000 points after $5,000 spent within 3 months and the Sapphire Preferred offers 40,000 points after $3,000 spent within 3 months. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year for all three cards. 

If you are a member of Club Carlson you can convert your Gold Points into Rapid Rewards Points anytime at a measly 10:1 ratio like this:

  • 2,000 Gold Points = 200 Rapid Rewards points
  • 50,000 Gold Points = 5,000 Rapid Rewards points
  • 100,000 Gold Points = 10,000 Rapid Rewards points

You can also redeem your Marriott Rewards points for Rapid Rewards Points:

  • 10,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 2,000 Rapid Rewards Points
  • 20,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 5,000 Rapid Rewards Points
  • 30,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 10,000 Rapid Rewards Points
  • 70,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 25,000 Rapid Rewards Points
  • 140,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 50,000 Rapid Rewards Points
Marriott has lucrative hotel & air packages for hotel stays AND airline miles.

Marriott has lucrative hotel & air packages for hotel stays and airline miles.

However Marrriott’s Hotel + Air packages make much more sense for larger transfers. Direct transferring to get 100,000 Southwest points would require 280,000 Marriott points. However, if you redeemed for a Hotel & Air package it would only cost 250,000 points, plus you get 7 nights at a category 1-5 hotel! An absolute no brainer and one of the most lucrative Marriott redemptions out there.

Southwest partners with many of the major car rental companies.

Southwest partners with many of the major car rental companies.

3. Car Rentals: Southwest partners with a several rental car agencies, so when you rent a car through the following companies and earn 600 Rapid Rewards points per rental, not including limited-time bonuses that pop up from time to time.

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Thrifty

Most companies don’t require a flight to be booked to redeem the points, but the conditions vary so be sure to check the specific details here and be sure either to rent your car through the Southwest partners site.

The Southwest First Step Bonus allows you to earn 500 more miles.

The Southwest First Step Bonus allows you to earn 500 more miles.

4. Southwest Dining: Like many other airlines, Southwest has a dining rewards program where Rapid Rewards members can earn points on meals at participating restaurants.  Rapid Rewards Dining program from Southwest allows members to earn 3 points per dollar spent at participating restaurants. Their current sign-up bonus is 300 bonus points after spending $25 within the first 60 days at a participating restaurant. They also have a First Step Bonus, where once you have racked up 1,500 rewards from dining and completing your reviews, they will give you an additional 500 points as a reward. For full details, click here.

Earn Rapid Rewards points shopping with your favorite retailers.

Earn Rapid Rewards points shopping with your favorite retailers.

5. Shopping Portal: Rapid Rewards Shopping is the airline’s online shopping portal where you can earn bonus points on each dollar you spend by clicking through it to shop at a number of great retailers including Nordstrom.com, Homedepot.com and Target.com. You can use the site to find retailers, compare point bonus offers and then click through and then make a purchase at the retailer’s website and the points will be posted to your Rapid Rewards account automatically, no matter which credit card you use. Act fast and get the current online Deal Of The Week at Nordstrom.com and earn 6 points per dollar spent (instead of the usual 3 points).

Some of the other current shopping earning options are:

  • Staples.com: 6 points earned per dollar spent
  • Drugstore.com: 4 points earned per dollar spent
  • Homedepot.com: 2 points earned per dollar spent
  • Groupon.com: 2 points earned per dollar spent
  • RadioShack: 2 points earned per dollar spent
  • BestBuy.com: 1 point earned per dollar spent

So there are plenty of opportunities to rack up tons of bonus points on your everyday purchases, just by shopping online.

Earn up to 12,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards with the Marriott GiftCard.

Earn up to 12,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards with the Marriott GiftCard.

6. Staying At Hotel and Banking Points To Southwest: Southwest partners with a number of hotel chains through which you can  earn Rapid Rewards either instead of or in addition to hotel points during stays. Chains where you can earn Southwest points instead of hotel points – usually at the rate of 600 points per stay - when you stay at hotel partners including:

  • Best Western
  • Club Carlson
  • Choice Hotels
  • Hyatt
  • La Quinta
  • Marriott
  • MLife
  • Starwood
  • Wyndham
Energy

Energy Plus customers can earn points by simply paying their electric bill.

7. Energy Plus: We all use electricity, so why not earn some miles based on your utilities bill? Rapid Rewards members who live in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Texas can earn points from paying their everyday bills if they are Energy Plus customers. New members will receive 5,000 enrollment bonus points after the second month with the electricity supplier, and two 2 per every dollar spent on the supply portion of the bill. If you are a Southwest credit cardholder, you will also automatically receive an additional 2,500 enrollment bonus points (for a total of 7,500 enrollment bonus points), plus an additional 1 point (for a total of 3 points) for every dollar you spend on the supply portion of your bill.   For the full set of regulations and details, click here.

Rapid Rewards members in Texas have more ways to earn as well. By switching to  the Reliant Secure 24 plan, which fixes the price of your electricity service over a set term, you get 15,000 enrollment bonus points after signup and 500 additional Rapid Rewards points each month for the next 24 months, totaling 27,000 points earned during the course of your 24-month term.

Note: Many people report that these plans jack up their energy rates, but you can always change back if you notice a huge difference that negate the value of the points received.

Chase Mortgage

Earn up to 50,000 points with a new Chase Mortgage.

 8. Get a Mortgage with Chase: Southwest not only teams up with Chase for their credit card services, but also with the mortgage department. Granted, a mortgage is a big commitment, but hey, if you’re in the housing market anyway, you might as well score a ton of bonus points along with your new home. Rapid Rewards Members can earns points on their mortgage loans, with the amount increasing depending on the value of the mortgage in the following increments.

  • 12,500 points earned for a new Chase mortgage under $250,000
  • 25,000 points earned for a new Chase mortgage between $250,000 and $500,000
  • 50,000 points earned for a new Chase mortgage over $500,000

Points are credited 6-8 weeks after the closing of the loan. Find more information here. As always, shop around for the best price, though if Chase offers a competitive rate, you might as well rack up the points! Southwest points can be redeemed for Wanna Get Away fares at around 1.8 cents a piece, so I value 50,000 points at ~$900- not chump change.

E-Miles Southwest

Surveys by E-Rewards and E-Miles can be redeemed for Southwest points.

9. E Rewards and E Miles Opinion Panels: Your opinion does matter, especially when taking part in a survey by e-Rewards or e-Miles.  When you enroll in e-Rewards and accrue e-Rewards Currency by participating in market research surveys, you can then redeem them for Rapid Rewards points in increments of $25. You will also receive a bonus of 350 Rapid Rewards points when you complete your first survey within three months of enrolling.

  • $50 e-Rewards Currency = 1,000 Rapid Rewards points
  • $100 e-Rewards Currency = 2,000 Rapid Rewards points

Similarly, e-Miles can be accrued by spending a few minutes each week reading and reacting to marketing messages. You earn 100 e-Miles miles when you enroll, then an additional 100 e-Miles miles when you enter the verification code from your welcome e-mail and up to 50 e-Miles miles for completing all your profiles. Once you have earned 500 e-Miles miles, you can redeem for 500 Rapid Rewards points.

Shuttle

Getting the SuperShuttle to the airport can now add to your Rapid Rewards account.

10. Ride to the Airport With SuperShuttle/Execucar: Getting to the airport as well as flying out of it can now earn you points through SuperShuttle and Execucar, both of which can be cheaper than catching a taxi depending on where you live. Rapid Rewards members will receive 150 points each way (300 points roundtrip) for SuperShuttle’s shared-ride airport shuttle and ExecuCar’s private sedan service. For more information or to book a ride, click here.

Regus

Regus Office offers both an opportunity to earn points and also additional perks.

11. Regus Office: Office work can pay off in more ways than one now thanks to Southwest’s partnership with Regus, a service that members can use to find business and office spaces in cities all over the US and several other countries. Many have complimentary internet, refreshments, meeting rooms, day offices and video-conferencing, as well as access to professional administrative support. Here’s what you get for joining.

  • Earn 7 Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on new Regus virtual office agreements, Businessworld Membership sales, and all meeting room or day office bookings.
  • Earn 5 Rapid Rewards Points per dollar spent on new Regus full-time office agreement

Rapid Rewards A-List Members, A-List Preferred Members, and Companion Pass Members also receive a free 12 month Preferred membership with 15 visits to over 1500 Regus Business Lounges worldwide plus:

  • 10% discount on meeting room, day office and co-work office bookings
  • Complimentary refreshments and WiFi
  • Special rates on office and virtual office
  • On hand administrative support
  • Two complimentary business lounge guest passes
  • Voucher for a free first meeting room or day office booking at any participating Regus center in the US or Canada
  • Two vouchers for 100 free black and white copies, fifty free color copies, and a complimentary LCD projector rental at any participating Regus center in the US or Canada

Earning points while getting your work done – now that’s being productive.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • dynamicspartan

    Purchase of Choice Privileges points @ $11/1,000 points is a quick way to top up. Two advantages I see: a. ability to qualify for the pass sooner b. not spending on things you don’t necessarily need at a lesser rate.

    I did 12,000 Choice points at $132, which gave me 3,600 RR points, and thus, 27 RR points/dollar (plus the 132 points I got for charging it to my Southwest card).

    This will help me cover the 6,000 mile gap, as I don’t have a significant amount of monthly credit card spend at this point in my life.

    http://www.choicehotels.com/ires/en-US/html/GPBuyPoints

  • Miles

    I have a Companion Pass, with my wife as my designated companion.

    She has a lot of RapidRewards points. Can she use her points to pay for my ticket, having her fly with me free?

  • Brian

    How do you calculate that you’d need to transfer 170,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt to then get the 110,000 Southwest points? Wouldn’t it be 30,000 per 50,000 three times to get to 90,000 points but then for the remaining 20,000 points you’d need to transfer another 42,000 at the 48% rate? I might be off on my numbers but I wasn’t following how that would work. In total it seems to me that it would be 192,000.

  • thepointsguy

    You’re totally right there- updated the post

  • jeffcwheeler

    This seems like a great way to close a small points gap. Can you confirm the transferring of Choice Privileges points counts toward the Companion Pass? Or is this something you’ve just tried out? Thanks for the tip. If this in fact works, might just be what I’m looking for.

  • dynamicspartan

    http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/01/09/southwest-companion/

    I got it from this article from a while ago, though everything seems to be the same. TPG actually mentions that Choice points transfers qualify for the companion pass in the above article, he just doesn’t explicitly state the possibility of buying those points.

    I have seen this as an option on various other more recent posts about the companion pass, as well.

  • Bobunf

    I transferred 24,000 Choice points which yielded 7,200 Southwest points.on July 22, 2013. The points counted towards the companion pass.

  • ocada

    My wife has the southwest business card and we’ve already used up her points on that (50k bonus).

    Is there any way she can cancel that card and then later on apply for both the personal and business card to get 100k points?

  • 9WS

    Bonus points from RR Dining are not CP qualifying, just regular dining points.

  • PV

    They just came out with another promotion for earning up to 12,000 points by purchasing Marriott gift cards.

  • Pingback: Maximize Monday: Southwest Companion Pass FAQ And Strategies | The Points Guy()

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  • Andrew

    According to the faq’s about the companion pass, “Purchased points and points earned from program enrollment, Tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and Partner bonuses do not count toward Companion Pass status.” This seems to me like, even when the 50k bonus comes back around, that these points will not count towards the CP. It seems like everyone claims, however, that these 50K DO count towards the CP. I am a newbie when it comes to rewards cards, so can anyone give me a little guidance?

    http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/faqs.html?topic=rapid_rewards_program_terms_and_conditions

    this is where I found the info (under Companion Pass Rules and Regulations).

    Thanks in advance!

  • Kayla

    Not sure if she can buy the ticket-someone else should be able to answer that-but she can transfer her points to you-at no cost/loss in points I do believe-and then you can buy the ticket witht he points.

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  • Joyanto Roy

    I will have 50k miles with my new SWA CC. Could I reach 110k by simply buying 60k worth of miles for $1,650? There is a promotion going on to purchase miles with a 35% bonus. Till Nov 22nd, $1,650 gets you 81k miles. I am sure I am missing some fine print. LMK :D

  • Larry

    I’m 11K points short of the CP with SWA and the year is quickly coming to an end and I’m not sure I will have any more trips gaining me more points towards the CP. I have a lot of Marriott points. Can I do any transfers there and have the Marriott points count towards the CP? Also, if I get one of the SWA Credit Cards now on 10/19/13 and spend $2K on it by the end of the year 2013, when will the 50K points post to my SWA account putting me past the 110K points to receive the CP? Will I have time to receive those points in order to get the CP by the end of the year?

  • ryanamirault

    Has anyone on here ever used the rapid rewards shopping site to get RR points? I’m close to my companion pass and want to leverage the shopping site to put me over the top. It says 6-8 weeks to get the points, but wondering if that is what people are actually seeing. Thanks!

  • jctwo10

    Question- Does shopping at staples.com with the rapid rewards chase card still yield 6 points per dollar spent? The southwest rewards website is currently saying 2 points per dollar (but perhaps I’m not taking something into account?)

  • Joe P

    Greetings: I just spent 90 minutes in the phone with Chase (on Jan 19, 2014),
    finally speaking with a senior supervisor, who insisted that though I
    may qualify for both personal cards, even if I applied for both in one
    day, I would only qualify for the 50k points bonus on one of the two
    cards. I asked if she was absolutely certain, and she said she was in
    fact certain, and that many people have been let down by this in the
    past. She cited restrictions put in place by SWA. Please advise if you
    can – thank you.

  • Ryan M

    Has anyone recently transferred Marriott Rewards to Southwest points and gotten those points to count toward companion status? I was about to do it myself, but called Southwest to confirm first. A front-line call person and then her supervisor both told me that the points wouldn’t count toward companion status. They cited their website: http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/faqs.html?topic=rapid_rewards_program_terms_and_conditions
    Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, points issued on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners. Points purchased for personal use or as a gift, transferred points, points earned from program enrollment, Tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and Partner bonuses (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not count toward Companion Pass status.
    Anyone have personal experience to share? Many thanks!

  • Ryan M

    For everyone’s reference, I gave it a go and the points DID count toward Companion Pass status. Hooray!

  • felix

    Hi Ryan did you transfer your UR points through Marriott or Hyatt? I was planning to transfer through Hyatt as this would require fewer points?

  • Jill

    You have to use the link from the Rapid Rewards Shopping page to Staples.com or any other shopping site. Make sure you complete the sale within the same window that the link opened. Once you do that you will earn whatever the stated points are for that store (6pt/$ or whatever). In addition if you use your SWA Visa to pay for the purchase you will earn your standard Visa points in addition. I take advantage of this every Christmas and earn hundreds of dollars in points.

  • Jill

    The Rapid Rewards Shopping is a great way to bulk up on points. Its been my experience that it takes about 8-12 days for most Shopping points to be added to my account. So if you wait and do some last minute Christmas shopping a few days before Christmas when most of the sites are running bonus point promotions and free shipping offers most of the points will be applied to your account AFTER the first of the year when we are all trying to get our points for the new year.

  • Ben

    Hi Ryan, Thanks for being our Marriott guinea pig. I just did the same. Do you know about how long it took for the points to be credited?

  • Scott

    It does work. Points showed up almost immediately.

  • KK

    Greetings: I just spent 90 minutes in the phone with Chase (on Jan 19, 2014),
    finally speaking with a senior supervisor, who insisted that though I
    may qualify for both personal cards, even if I applied for both in one
    day, I would only qualify for the 50k points bonus on one of the two
    cards. I asked if she was absolutely certain, and she said she was in
    fact certain, and that many people have been let down by this in the
    past. She cited restrictions put in place by SWA. Please advise if you
    can – thank you.

  • rob

    I have over 120,000 miles and a companion pass, but i live in NY, and the places I visit require at least one stop. iIs there any way i can transfer my miles to a different airline or hotel?

  • afrojack

    For sure, I was successful in getting both personal Chase southwest cards, and received 50,000 for each card. Glad I didn’t get the same senior representative you had.

  • Mark

    Shit。 why you don’t recommend to apply two southwest credit card??

  • Benettard

    So I just got off the phone with southwest, they said that transfers from UR count towards comoanion passes. Can anyone confirm that that is true?

  • KB

    I have used it several times and it usually posts in 1-2 wks.

  • Chrissycan

    Hi, Chris B. here. Not sure if this is the right place to ask you a question but I’m very frustrated by SW Rapid Reward agents and are hoping you can help me. Everything I read on your site leads me to believe I can transfer Marriott points to SW RR and they’ll count toward Companion Fare Status. Today… 2 different agents (SW) told me that’s not true. Did SW change their policy lately that you know of? I went ahead and used 70,000 Marriott points to get me 25,000 SW RR points. It could take as much as 6 weeks for them to transfer. All of this is going down so close to the end of the year… w/o these transferred points I will not make companion fare status. In your opinion, should this work for me? Thank you so much…

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