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One of the things I love most about being The Points Guy is getting to hear stories from readers about how award travel has affected their lives: the exotic vacations they’ve planned, the trips they’ve made to be with family and friends, the premium seats and suites they’ve experienced, and so much more, all made possible by points and miles. I love to travel and explore, and it’s an honor to be able to help so many of you get where you want to go.
I heard lots of great stories at yesterday’s TPG reader event in Miami, but I particularly wanted to share one I received from TPG reader Michael, who emailed recently to explain how he put Marriott’s Flight + Hotel awards to good use in order to earn one of the most prized airline perks out there: the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. Here’s what Michael had to say:
Hi Brian. I wanted to send you a note of thanks and report my success in following your strategy for quickly obtaining the Southwest Companion Pass for 2015 and 2016.
My wife and I had booked a Marriott Rewards redemption in Lake Buena Vista (Florida) for 100,000 points, and used Southwest points earned in 2014 for two of our three flights. However, I then read through some of your info about the Companion Pass, and realized there was a better strategy, so here’s what we did:
First, we called Marriott Rewards and cancelled our 100,000-point reservation, combined our accounts, and then re-booked at the same property using the Flights + Hotel package for 250,000 Marriott points.
When my Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card statement closed, we got my anniversary bonus, along with all the points we earned from fun Christmas shopping, the Rapid Rewards shopping portal and Rapid Rewards dining. Finally, we transferred some points from Hyatt.
Bingo! We had over 110,000 Southwest points, and the Companion Pass showed up in my account just a few days later. I really couldn’t believe that it could be done that easily, but here we are! I’ve already booked over $800 worth of free flights with the Companion Pass.
Michael and his wife showed some real creativity and savvy by pooling their Marriott accounts to take advantage of the Flight + Hotel award options. I also admire how they utilized Rapid Rewards earned in so many ways to get those last 10,000 points needed for the Companion Pass. It sounds like the effort is already paying off.
I love this story, and I want to hear more like it! To thank Michael for sharing his tale of success (and for letting me post it online), I’m sending him a $200 Visa gift card, and I’d like to do the same for you. If the tips and strategies you’ve learned here have helped you fly in first class, score an amazing suite, reach a far-flung destination, or even just save a few dollars, please indulge me (and the whole TPG team) with your own award travel success stories by emailing email@example.com and putting “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. If we publish it, you’ll have our utmost appreciation, and a gift card to jump-start your next adventure (purchased from Office Depot with my Chase Ink Plus, of course).
Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!
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