I love my girlfriend. I’m absolutely crazy about her, so when her job told her they’re sending her to Denver, I was pretty bummed and stressed out.
How are we going to see each other? How are we going to make this work?
We decided a 1 hour time difference and a 2.5 hour flight was no big deal. One of us would fly to the other every month, and we’d alternate months.
For the first couple months, we booked our flights the traditional route. We looked up the cheapest deals using the Hopper app, Google Flights, or individually checking Southwest and United for convenient departure times, and we’d pay for it with our credit card.
It wasn’t until after that initial couple months I was awakened. I decided I’d learn as much as possible about credit card points and utilizing those points for our monthly travel plans.
I applied for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Card, which at the time offered 60,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 on the card within the first 3 months of opening.
When I got my Southwest card, I used it to purchase everything: food, gas, groceries, cell phone, and other bills to hit the $1,000 mark.
At the time I got my bonus points, Southwest points were worth about 1.5 cents each.
60,000 x $0.015 = $900 !!!
It’s like Southwest is giving you $900 worth of flights. If you subtract the annual upfront fee of $59 , I got about $841 in value.
Currently, I have about 28,000 points left, and I need to book a flight to Denver for January. FYI, I only book Wanna Get Away fares on Southwest.
The cheapest flight on the day I want to fly out to Denver from Oakland is $79.
If I switch the fares to Points, the cheapest flight is 4,339 points.
$79 / 4,339 points = Each point is worth ~1.82 cents (This is really good because most airlines points are worth about 1 cent each. It’s like paying $43.39 for something that’s worth $79!)
All this math really doesn’t mean shit because all I’m paying for is the Security Fee of $5.60, and 2 checked-in bags fly free!
That’s not even the best part. Say your plans change, and you need to cancel your flight. If you bought your flight (Wanna Get Away) with dollars and you need to cancel, Southwest won’t refund you by your original payment method. Instead, you’ll have to remember your canceled flight # (which can get lost in your email), and you have one year to apply those funds for a future Southwest flight.
But if you used points and you cancel your flight, the points get returned to your Rapid Rewards account immediately, and the $5.60 Security Fee is refunded back to your Southwest Card. And say you somehow forgot you had a flight tonight and didn’t show up to the gate in time, Southwest returns those points to your account! WTF?! That’s amazing!
Before my annual fee is due again to Southwest, I’m planning to cancel the card because I found another way to accumulate points. More on that later.
Current Offer from Southwest on 12/8/2017:
- 40,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 on the card in first 3 months
- $69 upfront annual fee
You get about $531 worth of points (assuming 1.5 cents per point) after the annual fee. You could wait for the 60,000 bonus points offer to come up again, but I still think this is a good value and only if you cancel your card before the annual fee is due again.
You can apply here: Southwest Rapid Rewards Card