My points and miles portfolio is a spread-out a little.
Chase points: 200,000 (Chase Sapphire Preferred and now Chase sapphire reserved)
Alaska Miles: 41,000 (25,000 of these are from opening a checking account)
IHG points: 60,000 (I earned these in a contest at a cost of $45)
Marriott Points: 142,000
American Airlines: 21,000
Plus a few thousand scattered about that may not evolve into anything.
In total about 462, 000 which doesn’t include another 120,000 my wife has with about 80,000 of those already tied up in reservations. Keep in mind, most of these points were free or very low cost to me.
Now it’s time to start spending them and getting some perks. My first mission? I am going to try and land the Southwest Companion Pass. This is one of the most sought after travel perks around right now and the major loophole to get it closes March 31st. I have no plans to let it pass me by and I won’t have to fly one mile to get it. Some blogs will say you have you get a certain use out of it, but I am looking at another way. Anything I get out of it was basically completely free.
So here is how it works:
I am going to transfer 128,000 Chase points to my Marriott account giving me 270,000 in my Marriott account. I am then going to spend those 270,000 on a Hotel and air package. I will get an electronic certificate valid for a 7-night stay at any Marriott (category 5 or below). This is valid for one year but evidence suggests you can get it extended an additional year too. In addition, Marriott will then give 120,000 Southwest points which are mine to spend. Just by having at least 110,000 qualifying points in my Southwest account, I am going to earn the Southwest Companion pass. That loophole counting the Marriott transfer as qualifying points will end March 31st. I am up against the clock but hoping all works out. I should have all my points around February 8th, then I will make the transfers.
Now how does that companion pass work you ask?
Any flight I book on Southwest whether with points or money and my companion goes for free with me. You get to assign an initial companion and then you can change it 3 times per calendar year. This opens up a world of great ideas for me, especially as a sports fan. If you can book a $59 flight (each way) to a city where your team is playing but maybe you split that with your companion, now its $59 total. Want a quick trip to Vegas for $88 each way? Now its $88 total per person. Use points and its really free. I can book a flight today for the cheapest fare available. Say in a couple months my companion decided they want to go too? But fares are now expensive? No problem. If Southwest has an open seat it is yours, regardless of price they are charging. The companion gets added on for free.
Essentially, I am spending 150,000 for a future Marriott stay 7 nights (or about 21,428 per night). I am spending 120,000 points to convert straight over to Southwest. Southwest has great value for reward purchases. On top of that I get the companion pass. That's a win in my book.