An Interesting Way To Earn The Southwest Companion Pass Without Flying

The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass has been in the news quite a bit for travel folks lately.  First, there was the unfortunate news that certain transfers (including from hotel and car rental companies) would no longer count towards Companion Pass qualification, effective immediately.

That left some folks in bad shape, having already executed transfer and waiting to finish up qualification for a Companion Pass.  Whether from customer pressure, social media or bloggers, Southwest heard their customers and relented, allowing folks a few extra months to transfer points before closing this lucrative path to the Companion Pass.

For all intents and purposes, that appeared to leave just credit card sign-up bonuses as the only significant path to a Companion Pass without flying a whole lot.  Or, at least I thought so.

As an aside, not familiar with the Southwest Companion Pass?  It’s exactly what it sounds like.  “Purchase” one ticket, get another one free.  I put purchase in quotation marks because you can also redeem Rapid Rewards points for a ticket and receive a free one.  It’s one of the best values in travel, especially if you have a significant other and/or family.  My friend Jennifer from Deals We Like has a great series of posts covering everything you need to know about the Southwest Companion Pass.

I saw a post a few weeks ago, but I wanted some time to research it before sharing it with you.  It appeared on Million Mile Secrets, written by a blogger I hadn’t heard of before, Go To Travel Gal.

The short version is it involves Southwest’s hotel booking portal,  It appears that points earned from hotel bookings count towards the Companion Pass.  I checked a couple of random bookings to see if the prices were competitive on the portal.

January 30th, Herndon VA:

Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest Hotels Booking

Southwest Companion Pass

Hyatt Website

January 30th, Chicago:

Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest Booking Site

Southwest Companion Pass

Hyatt Website

Is This Right For You?

Cruising through the Southwest Hotels website, I found rates that offered as many as 4,000 Rapid Rewards points on a 1-night booking.  I only found one 4,000 point rate, but it was at a legit hotel (Hyatt Regency McCormack Place in Chicago).  I also found one 5,000 point rate for a property in Dallas I’ve never heard of.  The original post noted rates that included as may as 10,000 points.  I didn’t find any of those, but I only searched a dozen cities for a couple of different dates.

These bookings don’t earn elite status credit or hotel points.  That means you need to forego those benefits if you want to earn the Companion Pass.

If you averaged 2,000 points a night from Southwest Hotels, you’d need just over 50 nights to score the Companion Pass with no flight activity.  That’s manageable for a frequent traveler, but no so much for the occasional traveler.

The Final Two Pennies

It’s an interesting path to the Companion Pass.  My gut tells me that most folks will only find joy here in combination with a credit card sign-up bonus or some Southwest travel.  The whole point of the miles and points game is to find outsized value where you can.

There’s definitely outsized value to be found here, but it’ll likely take a bit of elbow grease if your goal is a Southwest Companion Pass.

The post An Interesting Way To Earn The Southwest Companion Pass Without Flying was published first on Pizza in Motion


  1. I recently read about this hotel booking site while on a southwest flight. You can earn southwest points by booking through rocketmiles, so I wonder how the prices and points earned compare! Will have to do som research. Thanks for the reminder about this site.

    1. Natasha, yes! I meant to include a paragraph about that in the post, thanks for reminding me. With a companion pass, you get one free ticket for each one you “purchase”, either using dollars or points. So, you can score an award ticket and get the second one free (just the airport tax).

  2. What f I were to purchase 50k Marriott points + get someone to gift me another 50k Marriott points. I think it would cost $1250. Wondering if that route is worth it.

      1. I meant as one of the ways to earn Marriott points towards and air + hotel package. I have about 180k Chase UR and was contemplating this route towards getting the required 270k Marriott points.

  3. Interesting information. When I check Herndon, VA as an example, I also see an offer with 1000 miles. However for most other hotels, the miles offered are only around 100 miles. So, the 1000 or 2000 miles is like an exception, rather than the norm. I tried with another location, Orange County in California for a trip around Feb 4 where I will go, I found NO hotel offering that high number of miles. All of them offer around 100 miles. If that’s the case, then Southwest portal for hotels should not be considered as a serious contender for this game.

  4. With airlines continuing to crack down on the back doors we use to extreme benefits, little nuggets like this one will become of greater value. I don’t usually use cash for personal stays, but this will definitely be in my arsenal for business stays. I wonder if you get hotel loyalty program benefits when using this site? Many times you won’t get your expected benefits when using 3rd-party booking sites. Maybe the 1k-2k SW points is the trade-off to upgrades, late check-out, stay/night credits, etc. you would get when booking direct with your status?

    1. From what I have read, you do not earn Hotel loyalty points when using the SW portal. As a result, only worth it when you can get >2000 SW points per night, in my opinion.

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