This summer has been epic for our Daughter. By definition: “Slang. spectacular; very impressive; awesome” Sounds like over kill but I can assure you epic fits. While she has been off on a mission trip to Lesotho and then learning to be a camp counselor her parents have been working. She was globe trotting, we ordered pizza and did not even do the dishes every night.
I had some Southwest airlines credit to use by fall. We booked our Christmas tickets and the price decreased after our booking, by over $70 each for Daughter and I. (Husband travels less so I use the points on his tickets and IF I have to pay I do so on my account to earn more points.) With Southwest you can re-book and either get a credit or the points back in your account if the price drops. The credit is good for one year.
Husband was going on a guys fishing trip for almost a week so that gave us girls a guilt free travel pass. So in my mind I had a few places to check out in Florida, Seattle or even back to San Antonio for our girls weekend. I figured let Daughter choose where she wants to go, maybe some place I am not even thinking of going? The requirements were the location needs to be on a Southwest airlines route and reasonable cost. Has either Holiday Inn or Club Carlson hotels, and I need to travel from my home airport to get there. And the sticking point was it had to be someplace that Dad really is not in a hurry to visit.
So she thought for a morning. Asked a few questions and kept on thinking. Where did she pick? (I will be honest and say I really did not see this coming.) Savannah, GA.
That is what happens when you travel without your child, you end up going back to places with them. Husband and I were here in 2014 for our anniversary, alone. It was fun but I was in no hurry to go back. Plus August is HOT! I was not that excited but she sure was! A long girls weekend in Savannah and throwing in Charleston for good measure.
So maybe only travel geeks would find a fare map fun? I have a couple of times searched for a weekend away on the Southwest Airlines Getaway Finder. The map lets you enter your starting airport, dates and price range.
Voila! The locations under $236 round trip from Minn/ St Paul airport. Philly at $176 looks like a great getaway!
You can play with the map here: http://getawayfinder.southwest.com/flights?clk=GSUBNAV-AIR-MAP
Updated: This offer is gone and the current offer is 25,000.
This is hands down what I think is the best travel credit card offer to get started on free travel. The points had dropped down to 25,000 for a while but 50,000 will get you places!!!!!
You need to spend $2,000 on the card over 90 days to get the 50,000 miles. In the past there was no spending quota but $2,000 seems to be pretty standard with Chase now.
There are a total of four Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards – currently ALL of them have the same 50,000 points offer with the $2,000 spend within 3 months:
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Card – $99/year fee, but you receive 6,000 points after year card member year – which will give you $100 towards a future Southwest “Wanna Getaway” fare.
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card – $99/year fee, but you receive 6,000 points after year card member year – which will give you $100 towards a future Southwest “Wanna Getaway” fare.
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Card – $69/year fee, but you only receive 3,000 points after each annual year.
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Business Card – $69/year fee, but you only receive 3,000 points after each annual year.
What does 50,000 points get you? One way from Midway to Orlando is 7,684 points. Round trip is 15,368. Midway to Minn/St Paul for a Mall of American Weekend is 3,777 each way. Orlando to Las Vegas is 12,242 each way.
Often I like to use my Southwest points for one way tickets and pay for the return leg. Stretches my points further and reduces the cost of the trip to Orlando in half.
Who doesn’t want to fly for free? Signing up for credit card bonuses is often the fastest way to earn miles/ points. The Southwest Airlines card is great for domestic airline travel.
Exclusive Benefits Include:
- Receive 25,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.
- Redeem points for International flights, cruises, hotel stays, car rentals, and gift cards.
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and AirTran® Airways purchases made directly with the airlines.
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Receive 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary.
- Earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points toward A-List and A-List Preferred status for every $10,000 you spend on the card (maximum of 15,000 Tier Qualifying Points annually).
Currently the signup bonus is only 25,000 points. Often they offer 50,000 points.
What does 25,000 equal in flight travel? A $90 flight is 4,409 points. A flight for $199 is 9,879 points. The best thing about Southwest is when they have a sale the points you need to fly also go down! So earn the points and hold them for a sale.
Using those Southwest Points for your next get away!
Log into the Southwest site, type in your airport information, dates and how many travelers. For this trip my daughter and I are running in Orlando on the weekend. IF your dates are flexible take a look at the low fare calendar. Often its less points for fly out on a Thursday or return on a Monday.
Select points to see how many points each leg of the trip will cost you. We are traveling on a Thursday and a Monday to save on the cost. Select the flights and you will see this screen next.
Tells you this trip will be 28,800 points and $10 for the security fees. IF you only have enough points for 1 way and you want to pay cash for the other leg just book two separate one way trips. We did this for our Spring Break trip to Mall of America. I often like to book Southwest flights as two separate trips, that way if price drops its easier to rebook.
How do we do this?
#5 Using online shopping to earn airline or hotel points.
I think I now do the majority of my shopping online. Aside from groceries I can get shoes, clothes, gifts, and anything else shipped to my house. And often it’s easier to just have it sitting outside my door 3 days later than driving around trying to find what I need.
When I shop online I first click thru the website that gives me the most points/miles for my dollar. To do so I use http://evreward.com I enter the site name I am shopping it and evreward tells me who gives me the most back.
I used Kohl’s as an example here and see the following points available.
I usually go for airline miles UNLESS a hotel has a huge promo going. If Marriott is giving 15 points per $ I might go for them. If I chose to go with American Airlines I click on the info link and it will take me to the American Airlines portal. I click thru Kohl’s on their site and I am earning miles on my purchase. It takes an extra minute or two. But over time the miles add up.
How do we do this?
#4 – Use those airline miles!
The fastest way to get a large chunk of miles is credit card signups. But if you are not comfortable with that do it the old school way. Use your frequent flier number whenever you fly, shop thru the airline portals, sign-up for the emails. Granted this will take a little time to build up a balance but slow and steady gets results also. I will post later on how I earn my miles.
Right now my favorite airline hands down is Southwest! The “critics” say not to waste points on domestic coach travel. But if it moves my family around for free or cheap then it works for me! We are not saving for trips to Europe and beyond, right now my family is into shorter trips in the USA. 2250 points will get you a $49 fare on Southwest. If they are having a sale the points needed to travel goes down, love that! If you don’t have enough points for round trip you can do a one way then with them. And if the price goes down you can rebook it online and get some points back. LOVE it!
We recently cashed out for 3 round trip tickets on American Airlines to Texas. The airfare if I had paid cash was over $1800, yes $1800 for the 3 of us. I don’t have that kind of money to fly around! I did have 52,500 points so we flew to Texas for the first week of summer break. It took me a couple of years to save up that many points but a few flights and some online shopping made it possible.
The $49 one way sale Southwest has from time to time is awesome. I took enough points (2250 each) to book 1 way for 4 people to Minn. / St. Paul. Then we each paid $49 for the other leg back home for our spring break trips. $49 to fly to the Mall of America for a few days, why stay home???? It was a great girl’s trip and I love it that we can do one ways with Southwest.