Category Archives: Rapid Rewards

Southwest 50k Offers Are Back, Leverage Them for $3,142 in Free Flights

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

All four Southwest credit cards are back with a 50k offer. This is perfect timing to get the Companion Pass for all of 2015 and 2016.

Southwest is currently offering 50k bonus point sign ups on its personal and business credit cards after spending $2,000 in three months. You can leverage the offers for $3,142 in free flights.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 3.24.15 PM

You can get both a personal and business card at once, and after meeting their minimum spending requirements, you will have 104,000 Rapid Rewards post to your account.

Southwest has a fixed-value program in which you can get any Wanna Get Away? fare for 70 points for every dollar of the base fare. That means 104,000 points are worth $1,485 in free flights.

Earn another 6,000 Rapid Rewards with the cards or a few other ways–getting to 110k points total–and you will earn the best deal in all of travel hacking: a Southwest Companion Pass.

If you have the Southwest Companion pass, you can designate a companion who flies for $5.60 per direction on every Southwest flight you fly. That’s every Southwest flight–including paid tickets and awards–for all of 2015 and 2016 if you play this correctly.

The free travel from the 110k Rapid Rewards and Companion Pass are worth at least $3,142 even after Southwest’s recent devaluation.

  • What is a Southwest Companion Pass?
  • How can you get one from two credit cards?
  • How can you time this to make your companion pass last over 23 months?

Continue reading

How to Exploit the Southwest-Airtran Merger

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Deal originally posted April 22, 2012. Deal ends November 1, 2014. Post updated 10/13/14:

Southwest Airlines and Airtran Airways’ three-year merger is almost complete. For over two years, transfers have been allowed between Southwest’s Rapid Rewards loyalty program and Airtran’s A+ loyalty program.

These transfers present an arbitrage opportunity that caps roundtrip award flights at 19,200 Southwest points (the normal cost of a $274 award.)

This is a cool trick that can save you major Rapid Rewards. You can use this trick in conjunction with your Southwest Companion Pass (the best deal in travel).

  • How does this 19,200-cap trick work for the next few weeks?
  • How far in advance can you book Southwest flights?

Continue reading

Free First Class 2014: Basics of Southwest, JetBlue, and Virgin America Points

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

This is the nineteenth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

I’ve covered how to earn miles and the redemption options for miles. Now I’m giving the basics on several major airline programs where you can quickly collect miles for amazing trips. Today: the Southwest Rapid Rewards, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin America Elevate programs. I’m taking all three together because they are similar programs.

Why Collect Southwest, JetBlue, and Virgin America Points?

All three types of airline points can save you big on your next domestic trip or near international trip.

All three types of points can access every flight on their respective airlines with no blackouts.

  • What airlines can you fly with Rapid Rewards, TrueBlue points, and Elevate points?
  • What are the special features of each program?
  • How can you book Rapid Rewards, TrueBlue, and Elevate awards?

Continue reading

Southwest 40% Bonus on Purchased Points, Worth It?

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Until July 31, 2014, you get a 40% bonus when purchasing Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

You can buy points here and the bonus is automatically coded into the purchase.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.40.13 AM

With the 40% bonus, the all in price is 1.96 cents per point, and you can buy in increments of 1,400 points.

  • Is buying Southwest Rapid Rewards for 1.96 cents each a good deal?

Continue reading

50,000 Rapid Rewards + $50 Statement Credit

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Commenters are not having success with calling in. Writing a Secure Message is still untested. If you want a 50k offer, just wait a few months. They pop up every few months.

I got an email from Southwest over the weekend with the subject “Get 2 Roundtrip Flights along with a $50 statement credit for EarlyBird Check-In” that advertised the best Southwest credit card offer I’ve ever seen.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.41.56 AM

The offer is for 50,000 Rapid Rewards (worth over $700 in free Southwest flights) after spending $2,000 in the first three months after opening the account. In addition, the card comes with $50 in statement credits to offset EarlyBird Check-In on four Southwest flights.

  • Is this a good deal?
  • Is this a public offer?
  • What is EarlyBird Check-In?

Continue reading

750 Free Southwest Rapid Rewards for 20 Seconds of Work

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Three weeks ago I got an email from AirTran A+ Rewards with the subject “Get 750 Rapid Rewards Bonus Points.”

The email explains that Rapid Rewards and A+ Rewards, Southwest’s and AirTran’s loyalty programs will merge on November 2, 2014. (Southwest acquired AirTran in May 2011.)

If you verify your A+ and Rapid Rewards accounts to make that combination easier on the airline, you can get a quick 750 Rapid Rewards, worth about $11 in free flights. This took me about 20 seconds, so I thought it was a good return on investment.

  • How can you get the 750 points?
  • What amazing arbitrage opportunity will end November 2, 2014?

Continue reading

Airlines are Responding to Bank, Accounting, and Consultant Pressures by Opening Up More Award Space

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

According to the Wall Street Journal, airlines are opening up more award space this year compared to last year because of pressure from banks, accounting rules, and consultant studies.

In the short term, that’s good for us. More award space: woohoo!

But in the long run, these pressures could cause more airlines to move to revenue-based frequent flyer programs. Revenue-based redemptions: boohoo!

Every year IdeaWorks comes out with one of the worst-conceived studies imaginable in an attempt to quantify which frequent flyer programs make redemptions the easiest. Every year, Gary Leff makes correct points about why the study is so dumb.

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 1.55.07 AM

The yearly IdeaWorks study makes no sense because it compares all frequent flyer programs without differentiating which offer revenue-based redemptions, distance-based redemptions, and chart-based redemptions.

It ignores prices on the award chart, international flights by United States carriers, partner award availability, and the imposition of fuel surcharges.

Even with all those flaws, the study gets picked up in the Wall Street Journal and parroted as gospel about which programs are better for consumers.

That’s why it’s dangerous for us.

  • Why is the IdeaWorks study producing positive changes in the short run?
  • Why might the IdeaWorks study produce negative changes in the long run?
  • What pressures are on airlines to increase award availability and how can we increase those pressures?

Continue reading

Shouldn’t It Say Get 1 and 5/7 Roundtrip Flights?

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Southwest and Chase market their Southwest card in a misleading way. The big bold letters say:

Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 12.08.37 PM

The 50,000 points the card offers in no way correlate with two roundtrips. All Southwest Wanna Get Away fares are available for 70 points per dollar, so 50,000 points are worth about $714 in Southwest flights, however many one ways or roundtrips that is.

What I find really strange about the marketing, though, is that it still says “2 Roundtrips.”

That’s the same thing it said when Wanna Get Away fares were available for 60 points per dollar up until last month.

Now the points are worth 17% less.

Shouldn’t the bold letters now say “1 and 5/7 Roundtrips“?

————————————————————————————————————

Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!



Powered By Credit Karma

Massive Southwest Devluation Happens Monday, How to Beat It

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Southwest Rapid Rewards points are currently worth 1.69 cents each. Starting Monday, March 31, 2014, they will be worth about 1.44 cents each.

What is the exact devaluation?

Among the Six Types of Frequent Flyer Miles, Southwest has a fixed-value program. For every dollar of the “Wanna Get Away?” base fare, you have to spend 60 Rapid Rewards for an award ticket.

So a $220 Southwest ticket with a $200 base fare would be 12,000 Rapid Rewards + $5 in taxes as an award. Here’s How to Book a Southwest Award.

For bookings made on or after March 31, 2014, the redemption rate will be 70 Rapid Rewards per dollar of base fare. That $200 base fare goes from being a 12,000 point award to 14,000 points.

Interestingly, Southwest is not just devaluing its existing points, which most of us get from credit cards. It is also devaluing flying Southwest.

You currently earn 6 points per dollar spent on Southwest “Wanna Get Away?” fares and then need 60 points per dollar to redeem those points. That works out to earning a 10% rebate on your Southwest flights through the Rapid Rewards loyalty program.

After March 31, 2014, you will still earn 6 points per dollar but need 70 points per dollar to redeem. That cuts the rebate from flying to 8.6%. I can understand a devaluation of credit card points even if I don’t like it, but I can’t see why Southwest would want to cut the rebate percentage for its flyers. I’m surprised the earning rate is not being bumped to 7 Rapid Rewards per dollar spent on Southwest base fares to keep the rebate percentage of flying constant at 10%.

This is bad news for those of us holding Rapid Rewards and Ultimate Rewards, since they transfer 1:1 to Southwest. But the bad news illustrates why holding transferable points is better than holding points from a single airline. While Rapid Rewards used past March 31, 2014 were cut in value by 17%, Ultimate Rewards used after that date have most of their uses (like transfers to United, Hyatt, or British Airways) unaffected.

This illustrates one of the main points I made in Which Miles Should You Stockpile?

Your Move

What trick can you take advantage of to beat the devaluation?

Continue reading

Another Reason Miles Are Better than Cash: Free Cancellations

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Using miles to book trips instead of using cash has tons of advantages:

  • Easier access to First Class and flat beds: An international First Class ticket can cost $10k or the amount of miles you can get from opening a pair of credit cards.
  • Better open jaw and stopover rules: Few revenue tickets allow you to stopover without increasing in price. Most mileage awards allow free stopovers and open jaws for no extra miles.
  • Some mileage awards can be cancelled for free or close to it.

This last advantage–free or very cheap cancellations–is an oft-overlooked benefit of certain mileage programs.

I can afford this seat with miles, but not cash.

I can afford this seat with miles, but not cash.

Which program allows completely free cancellations? Which programs allow cheap cancellations, as cheap as $2.50?

Continue reading

The Southwest 50k Card Offers Are Back. Your Chance to Get Over $3,000 in Free Travel with the Southwest Companion Pass

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

How to Get Over $3,142 in Free Southwest Flights from Opening Two Credit Cards

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Southwest is currently offering 50k bonus point sign ups on its personal and business credit cards after spending $2,000 in three months until November 18, 2013.

You can get both the personal and business cards at once, and after meeting their minimum spending requirements, you will have 104,000 Rapid Rewards post to your account in early 2014 if your time your spending well.

Earn another 6,000 Rapid Rewards with the cards or a few other ways–getting to 110k points total–and you will earn the best deal in all of travel hacking: a Southwest Companion Pass.

If you have the Southwest Companion pass, you can designate a companion who flies for $2.50 per segment on every Southwest flight you fly. That’s every Southwest flight–including paid tickets, regular awards, and special loophole awards–and soon to be every AirTran flight until the end of 2015.

The free travel from the 110k Rapid Rewards and Companion Pass are worth at least $3,142 even after Southwest’s recent devaluation, and are worth more if you can use some of the points in early 2014.

What is a Southwest Companion Pass? How can you get one from two credit cards? How can you ensure that you can use it for 23+ months of 2-for-1 travel?

Continue reading

Bad Deals to Avoid This Week

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

There were some great deals this week:

But there were also a few bad deals that superficially looked a lot like the good deals that I want to warn you about.

What are the bad deals to avoid this week?

Continue reading

Southwest Massively Devalues Its Rapid Rewards Points

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

Southwest Rapid Rewards points used to be worth 1.69 cents each. Starting March 31, 2014, they will be worth about 1.44 cents each.

What is the exact devaluation?

Continue reading

What I’d Least Like to See Changed about Each Frequent Flyer Program

This blog contains links to our affiliates. Below are credit card products that we recommend from our advertising partners.

United scared me a lot on Friday when it tweeted that changes were coming to MileagePlus.

United still hasn’t told us what those changes are, but insists we’ll like them.

It’s very unlikely I’ll like them much. It could be a minor enhancement, but there are very few things I would change about United MileagePlus that United would also change. (That is, I would love for the change to be that all awards now cost 5,000 miles, but that won’t happen.)

But there are a lot of negative possible changes that could come like award chart devaluations, restrictions on routing rules, more surcharges and fees, or a throttling of ultra-premium availability.

In this post I’ll lay out my single biggest fear for each of several major programs’ next round of changes.

Continue reading