Mission: Earn cheap flights on Southwest Airlines.

Recent trips we have taken and costs:

All of these are direct flights. The amount of money listed is how much we paid for our airline tickets. The cost is for the Federal fees ($5.60 per flight so round trip is $11.20 per person) All trips are round trip and the costs indicated are for all of the round trip tickets.

Kari and I from Milwaukee to Vegas - August 2016 - 49K points - $22.40

Family of 4 from Milwaukee to Atlanta - March of 2017 - 50K points - $44.80

Kari and I from Milwaukee to Vegas - October of 2017*- 48K points - $22.40

Kari and I from Milwaukee to Vegas - November 2017 - over Thanksgiving - 25K point - $22.40 (Used Free Companion so I only had to pay for my ticket with points)

Kari and I from Milwaukee to Vegas - Feb 2018 - 24K points - $22.40 - Used Free Companion. See note below**

Kari and I from Midway to New Orleans - March 2018 - 30K points - $22.40 - Used Free Companion

Kari and I from Milwaukee to Vegas with 1/2 of the trip taking place in Utah - June 2018 - 22K points - $22.40 - Used Free Companion. We are going with another couple that are also using their free companion pass.

Kari and I from Milwaukee to Washington DC - July 2018 - 17K points - $22.40 - Used Free Companion

Kari and I from Milwaukee to Boston - August 2018 - 20K points - $22.40 - Used Free Companion

*The Oct 2017 trip to Vegas was with another couple who started this credit card program in Jan of 2017. They booked their Vegas flight using points (about 48K points). They earn Free Companion just before we left for our Vegas trip. For Christmas in 2017 they gave their kids the gift of travel and are taking them on a trip to San Fran in 2018. They used points to purchase 3 of the tickets and then used Free Companion for the last ticket. Overall price for the 4 round trip tickets was $44.80. We hang around with another couple that also has free companion that started in Sept or 2017 and goes through Dec of 2018. We are trying to fit a trip in with them this year as well. I guess my point is that it's very possible to accomplish the goal of getting lots of points and free companion.

**The Feb 2018 Vegas trip leaves on a Friday and returns on a Monday. The flight is $22.40. Parking our vehicle at the MKE airport will cost about $30. The Palace Station Hotel, which is where we normally stay is offering us a great discount.... free. So basically our out of pocket for the trip is $52.40. Granted food, transportation (Uber, Trams and Buses), gambling, shows and etc will still cost us money. It was hard to pass up the offer!

3 Cards
There are 3 Southwest Credit Cards. The basic rules for each card are the same - for each dollar you spend you earn 1 point. You earn more points per dollar using your card for special purchases. If you buy airlines tickets at face value you can earn up to 6 times the amount you spend, most of the time you will only earn 2 times. Each of the cards have an annual fee but you get bonus points on your anniversary date. It's not a horrible deal because the more expensive cards costs $99 per year but you get 6,000 bonus points. Doing the math: 2 of the cards are $99 per year and the other is $79 per year. So total I'm spending about $280 per year in annual fees but in exchange I'm earning 15K in points. Depending on where you are flying too, 15K could cover a full round trip ticket. Usually from MKE to Vegas it's about 22K in points but if you purchased it with money the ticket would be around $420. So yeah, you have to pay for annual fees but a lot of cards charge fees and in this case you get something in return.

When signing up for these cards do not include your spouse's name on the application or on a second card. Down the road your spouse can sign up and you can run the program again and hopefully get another free companion under his/her name. You will see the bonus points listed as 40K or 50K - The offers change throughout the year so depending on when you sign up you can earn different amounts of bonus points. To earn the bonus points each card requires you to charge a certain amount of money to the card within some number of months of signing up. Usually it's $2,000 or $3,000 within 3 months. While that might sound like a lot it really doesn't take much to charge that much if you are family. A typical family of 4 can easily cost $1000 per month in food, gas and cell phone bills.

1) Here's the first card you should start with. The link below does give me some bonus points if you sign up so I would greatly appreciate if you use the link to sign up. Earn 40,000 or 50,000 bonus points with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card. I can be rewarded with some bonus points too if you apply here and are approved for the card. Learn More - https://www.referyourchasecard.com/223/QOAJ6YDYD3

2) Once you have chraged enough on the first card to earn the 50K bonus then sign up for the Southwest Chase Premier card and earn another 40,000 or 50,000 bonus points. https://www.referyourchasecard.com/224/1BDIODS9M5

3) Instead of doing the plus card you can choose to get a business card. The Premier Business Card earns you 60K bonus points for spending 3K in 3 months. When you sign up for this card you will have to create a fake business name and use your social security number as the federal ID for the company. Your application will more than likely get rejected. Usually if you call up and plead your case then will then process the card for you.

https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/60KPremierBiz (I don't get any credit for this one).


Free Companion
The overall goal is to earn 110,000 points in one calendar year starting Jan 1st. If you sign up for the first 2 cards and earn the bonus points on each card you will have just over 100K in points toward the 110K needed (50K bonus + 50K bonus). Of course in order to earn the bonus points you have to charge some purchases to the card so really you might be closer to 104K or 105K. That means you only have to charge around 6K before the end year to get the free companion. On Jan 1st of each year the counter towards the 110K resets but you do not lose any points. Also, if you use points during the year they do not count against the earn count. When you reach 110,000 points you will be notified you have reached Free Companion Status and will be asked to submit the name of the person you will have as your Free Companion. Your Free Companion Status begins the day you get 110,000 points and will carry on til the end of the following year. For example I earned it in Oct 2017 so all flights booked and traveled from Oct 2017 thru December of 2018 fall under the free companion. When booking a flight and using Free Companion, start by purchasing a flight for yourself. You can pay for the flight using dollars or points. Once you have it booked, go the Southwest.com website or use the mobile App and view your upcoming trips. Click on the trip and in the details there is a link to "Add Companion". Only earned points (via spending, bonus points, dinner, shopping, surveys and etc) count towards the 110,000 points. Point transfers and directly purchasing points doesn't count.

When booking a flight using points you will have to pay the federal taxes/fees with real money (can't use points). Currently that is $5.60 per flight per person - so round trip is $11.20. When you add a companion you also have to pay those fees so it will cost another $11.20. Basically each round trip will cost you $22.40 if you use points. A typical flight to Vegas is about 22K per person.

Ways to increase your point earning:

https://www.rapidrewardsdining.com/

1) Enroll in Rapid Rewards Dining - usually earn 3x the dollar amount your spend plus the normal 1 point per dollar you charged so really you could earn 4x for each dollar. Watch for specials were you can earn bonus points for doing certain things like spending at least $25 dollars at least 3 times in the next 30 days and earn an additional 1,000 points (Right now they are running that offer). After you eat at one of the places within the program you can earn additional points by filling out surveys about the establishment.

2) Enroll in Rapid Rewards Shopping

https://rapidrewardsshopping.southwest.com/

When you purchase items from Websites like Walmart.com or HomeDepot.com you can earn extra points. There are lots of online stores to choose from so you need to search the list. Just remember that you have to start your shopping by clicking on a link from the Rapid Rewards Shopping website to the store in order for your purchase to qualify. The Chrome Browser has a Rapid Rewards Shopping Extension that alerts you when you are at a site that offers a deal. It's very easy to use and it makes the whole process real slick. We did some home remodels in 2017 and I went to HomeDepot.com and filled my online cart with everything I needed. Then waited about 2 hours for them to pick the order. Drove up, grabbed our stuff and left. I didn't save any money but at that time I earned 1 extra point for every dollar spent plus I didn't have to waste time walking around the store getting all of the stuff. I do the same thing with Walmart purchases. I buy it online and then pick it up at the store. I earn an extra point for each dollar spent.

3) There is a Rapid Rewards Survey program but the surveys were kind of annoying and asked for a little too much personal information for my taste. I did 2 surveys and was awarded about 600 points so maybe it's something you can do if you are little short on points.

4) THIS IS A FAST WAY TO EARN BONUSE POINTS - When booking a hotel or car rental, purchase it through the Southwest.com website or the Southwesthotels.com website. You will earn bonus points for some car rentals and hotel stays. I've earn a lot of additional points using this method. Their prices are pretty much the same as all of the websites (hotels.com, orbitz, etc). I've seen some hotel stays in Vegas for 3 nights for $300 but you get 4K in bonus points. Sometimes they offer additional points if you pay a little more for the room. I saw one for Palace Station in Las Vegas where the base cost was $314 for our stay but if I paid $408 they threw in an extra 4,000 points so we got 7,000 points instead of 3,000. Yeah, it costs a little more but I figured $90 to get 4000 points was a good deal.

5) You can purchase points if you are short. Usually at the end of the year you can purchase points at a discount through the southwest.com website. Keep in mind that the points you purchase do not count towards the 110K needed for free companion but the dollar amount you spend to get the points does (because you charge them to your credit card).

More Points
If you are running out of points and want to pick up a quick 50K you could sign up for the Chase Sapphire card. That card offers 50,000 Sapphire Points for spending $4,000 in 3 months. Those points can be transferred to Rapid Rewards as a 1 to 1 transfer but they don't count towards the 110K for free companion. Once again, sign up without your spouse and run this program twice.

Jerry - flights@jetacer.com
If you have questions ask!

P.S. All spelling and grammar errors in this document are provide free of charge.