10/30/13 is the Final Day for Southwest 50,000 Point Offer

I can’t think of a travel credit card that gives you more free trips than the Southwest credit card with a 50,000 point offer.  Here’s a general overview of the Southwest Rapid Rewards program.

The marketing offer says that the promotion offers you “2 Roundtrip Flights”.  However, depending on several factors, you could definitely get more trips from your points.

Here’s a breakdown of the number of points some of my recent Southwest trips cost:

  • Roundtrip Denver to Buffalo during peak Christmas travel time = 14,100.
  • One Way – Rochester, NY to San Juan – 8,172 points
  • One Way – Denver to Seattle – 6,000 points
  • One Way – Denver to Los Angeles – 7,120 points
  • Round Trip – Denver to Phoenix – 3,001 points
  • Round Trip – Denver to Washington DC – 8,279 points

Total = 46,672 points

From the 50,000 points that I received from a single credit card sign up bonus, I was able to take a total of 9 one-way trips to a lot of really neat destinations.

I think there are two keys to getting good value out of your Southwest points:

  1. Book Early - The number of points a Southwest flight requires is directly proportional to the cost of the flight (60 points per $1 – but that will be changing next year to 70 points per $1).  For that reason, the sooner you book, the cheaper your flight will be.
  2. Double Check Prices - Half of the reservations above were rebooked when the cost of the trip dropped – sometimes significantly.  As an example, the trip to Washington was originally around 14,000 points, so I was really happy when it dropped to 8,279.

Of course, the biggest key to getting even more value is making a strategy to get the Companion Pass.  

This Southwest card + the business version of the same card + the Companion Pass = the best travel credit card offer for the domestic traveler.  If you get the card now, just be sure you don’t make your minimum spend until 2014 so that your points will post in 2014 and you can accumulate the 110,000 points for the Companion Pass.

If you want in on the fun, be sure to sign up by 10/30/2013.

By the way, writing this post reminds me of how sad it is that I don’t currently live in Southwest city.

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