With the current Southwest credit card promotion you can earn 50,000 points. The beauty of the Southwest program is that if you can find dirt cheap fares, your miles can keep on giving you more and more free travel.
Of course, it is always good to have a stock pile of miles with different programs and book tickets with whatever airline is offering the best value at the time of booking. If you live in a Southwest city and are planning on traveling domestically, I suspect it will be hard to find a better redemption value than using your Southwest points.
As a result, I thought I’d share some tips on how to get the lowest fares (thus also, lowest points redemptions) with Southwest.
3 Ways to Stretch Your Southwest Points to Cover as Many Flights as Possible
1. Install DING
About 3/4 of the way down the Southwest.com homepage you’ll see something that says “Sign Up For Exclusive Savings: CLICK ‘N SAVE’ DING” (as shown below). If you click there, you can download a program called DING.
Once you’ve installed DING you can start watching for special fares from the cities you select.
A recent DING alert let me know there is a sale between Denver and Corpus Christi. The sale is only available for flights between August 1st and 31st, but if you’re planning on traveling on those dates you’d really be able to s-t-r-et-c-h your points. In fact, you’d be able to get 10 one way flights between DEN and Corpus Christi with your 50,000 points.
2. Use the Lowest Fare Calendar
After entering your departure and arrival city and searching for fares, you’ll be displayed fares for the dates you’ve searched. However, if you click on “Try our Low Fare Calendar”, you’ll be able to see which dates have the cheapest flights.
After click on the Low Fare Calendar it will display something like the calendar below.
This way when you’re planning your trip, if you have flexibility you can plan it around the cheapest travel days (typically Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday).
3. Buy a Good Price, But Always Watch for Lower Prices
One mistake some folks make with Southwest is they think that the last thing they should do is buy tickets. However, due to Southwest’s change policy, when you buy tickets you always have the opportunity to create your own lowest fare guarantee. Essentially, if you ever find a lower fare, you can cancel your existing itinerary and purchase the lower fare without any fees – and keep the cash or points difference.
For example, you buy a one way points flights for 10,000 points. A few months later, they have the same flight (or a new one if you change plans) for 8,000 points. You can buy the new 8,000 point flight with no fees, and they’ll redeposit the difference, 2,0000 points, back into your account.
One thing I didn’t feel was worthy of its own section, but I did want to mention is that you can always find the best fares online with Southwest.com.
My theory is if you’re going to sign up for the Chase Southwest credit card to get 50,000 bonus points (expired), then you really ought to try and get 5 round-trip flights out of it instead of the posted two free flights.
Do you know of any other tips to help stretch your points or dollars when booking with Southwest?