Current Strategy: Exactly What I am Doing! Stop Everything You are Doing and Act Now! Hint Southwest Companion Pass!
Let’s face it, with the internet there is always a deal to be had. Many times it’s extremely difficult to determine where a “deal” falls on the spectrum of “meh” to “stop everything you are doing and act now (SEYADAAN)!!!”. The problem with this scale that I just created is that a deal that is “meh” to you may be “stop everything you are doing and act now!!!” to another geyser. If a hack existed to save $25,000 on a new BMW M3, this would mean nothing to the majority of us because we are not in the market for a $40,000 car, even if it is normally $65,000. However, to the guy who is pulling up to the BMW dealership with $65,000 in $20 bills in his lap, this is a “stop everything you are doing and act now” moment. If pulling over and doing this imaginary deal would save this bloke 25 grand he would be a fool not to use it. This is a problem with many blogs, deal sites and other resources that are out there. In an effort to reach more readers you must create broader content and post things that do not appeal to everyone equally. This is not a good thing or a bad thing really, it’s just something you must be aware exists. Sometimes I will post an opportunity that you will want to jump on and sometimes you will sit out. One way that I am going to attempt to clarify great all around deals is to let you know which opportunities I am using myself or those that have me grabbing the ear of family members trying to get them to join my cult.
The first opportunity is one that I have already started acting on, but is a process over the next 3 months. As you may already know my Southwest Companion Pass is set to expire on 12/31/2014. You can click to read more about it, but in summation anyone holding a “Southwest Companion Pass” gets a free flight for their named companion anytime they book one. It doesn’t matter if you book with cash or points any ticket you book instantly offers the opportunity of adding a companion. Since you are only allowed to change your companion twice it is not as useful for the tinder and grinder set that would like to have a different companion at the drop of a hat. This is the perfect deal for families or couples (couple does not need to be romantically involved) that travel together. Once you earn your companion pass it is good for the rest of the year you earn it and the entire following year. Therefore, if I earned the pass on October 31, 2014 I would be able to use its benefits for November, December and the entirety of next year, 14 months of the perk not expiring until December 31, 2015. That’s a hella sweet deal, but if I can hold off just 2 months and instead earn the pass in January of 2015 it will be good for all of 2015 and 2016 which gives 24 months of use. So, what am I doing to achieve this benefit?
Currently, Southwest is offering 50,000 rapid reward points to sign up for their credit card, all you need to do is spend $2,000 in 3 months to earn the bonus. On the application you simply fill in your rapid rewards account number from Southwest. If you don’t have one go sign up for one, it’s free and you do not need to fly or be flying anywhere soon. Fill in that account number on the application. After you spend your $2,000 you will get 52,000 points (50,000 bonus and 1 point per dollar spent). These 52,000 points will be good for over $700 worth of airfare! Keep in mind that you do pay a $99 annual fee for the card (which does not count toward the $2,000 spending requirement so make sure the balance in 3 months is at least $2,099), so in essence you’re getting over $600 worth of airfare for free and this is without even scoring the companion pass. The trick is to hold off hitting your $2,000 until January 1st. If your points hit in December the points needed for a companion pass will reset on January 1st. In order to get the companion pass you need to earn 110,000 points in one calendar year. So we get 52,000 points from a credit card where will the other 58,000 points come from to earn this?
The way I will do it is to sign up for the business version of the Southwest Credit Card which is offering the same terms. It will cost another annual fee up front, but will earn you an additional 52,000 points. Just be certain that when signing up for the second card you put the same Rapid Rewards account number on the application. If you don’t do that you will be sorry. If you leave the account number off of the application one will be created for you. Now that you have earned 104,000 points you will still be short by 6,000 points. In order to earn these you could do a number of things including using your Southwest credit card to charge another $6,000. You can go to southwest.com and use their portal to earn points. Booking a hotel or rental car through their website can also earn additional points. If you get to the 104,000 point mark it would be nearly criminal to not figure out a way to get the other 6,000 points you need.
This is a deal that I am already acting on currently and have advised my parents to look into as well. If you’re thinking, “our family doesn’t fly” well it’s likely because it costs too much. At minimal, even without the companion pass these cards offer value. Keep in mind that with the companion pass we were able to fly our family of 4 to California for just over 60,000 points. That’s only slightly more than you receive from signing up for one card. As always, with Southwest, even when shopping using points always wait until sales are best and fares are lowest. On their sale last week their shortest distance flights were $49 each way, which meant a roundtrip ticket would only cost < 5,000 points. Assuming you had 110,000 points you could take 22 roundtrips, if you earned the companion pass that would translate into 22 roundtrip tickets for you and 22 roundtrip flights for your companion.