When I took my Southwest flight 2 weeks ago, I was flipping through their in-flight magazine, ironically called Spirit (the other lower cost Carrier) and saw an offer for 750 Bonus Points for signing up for Southwest’s Frequent Flyer Program called Rapid Rewards.
Rapid Rewards = Awesome
While I know Southwest is not really on the radar for most Frequent Flyers because they don’t offer true “Elite Status”, don’t fly Internationally, or a member of any Alliance, I’d still recommend signing up with their Frequent Flyer Program.
The reason for this is because Southwest is GREAT for One Way and Roundtrip flights using Southwest Points.
Since Reward Tickets on Southwest are based on the actual price of the ticket, you can get some great deals if you need a One Way or Roundtrip flights.
This saved my butt when I needed a One Way from LAX – SEA.
In the end I only paid 7,080 Southwest Points!
Real Life Example
I need a One Way from Chicago back to LA on October 2nd.
Doing a quick search on Kayak.com, the cheapest One Ways on AA and United are $129, which isn’t terrible.
The cheapest fare on Southwest.com is also $129.
If I didn’t want to spend $129 and instead chose to use Miles, this is where the real advantage of Southwest lies.
On United and AA, an Economy Saver One Way costs 12,500 Miles and $2.50 in taxes and $75 Close-In Ticketing Fee, so $77.50 total!
If AA and United were the only 2 options for redeeming Miles then obviously it would be far better to pay $129 for a Revenue Ticket, rather than spend 12,500 Miles and $77 in taxes/fees on an Award Ticket.
With Southwest, the cost of Award Tickets is based on the price of the Revenue Ticket Base Fare (not including the mandatory Excise Tax) X 60 Points Per $1.
So depending on the Price of the Revenue Ticket, you can find some amazing deals!
So in my case, the cheapest Revenue Fare Base Fare was $118 (total was $129 with Excise Tax) which when multiplied by 60, came out to only 7,080 Points!
The best part of this is that the taxes on Southwest are only $5 with no stupid $75 Close-In Ticketing Fees!
So not only is the Award Ticket substantially cheaper (7,080 Points) compared to AA and United (12,500 Miles), but the taxes/fees are only $5 compared to $77.
And if that doesn’t blow your mind, you get 2 Free Checked Bags on Southwest…
Why This Is Relevant To Anyone That Doesn’t Fly Southwest On A Regular Basis
If you are like most Frequent Flyers (including myself), you rarely ever fly Southwest.
Therefore you might be reading this and think that it is great that Southwest’s Reward Flights are cheap, but since you don’t have a Southwest Credit Card or fly Southwest often enough to earn Points, this isn’t really applicable to you.
Since the Southwest Credit Card is issued by Chase, not surprisingly, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards Points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase INK Bold, to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio!
So in the above example, if your decision was either to use Miles for United or Southwest, it would be far cheaper to transfer 7,080 Ultimate Rewards to Southwest rather than transfer 12,500 Ultimate Rewards to United.
While One Way trips are fairly useful, Southwest really comes through on Round Trip Award Travel too.
A Economy Saver Award from Chicago to LA on United or American is 25,000 Miles.
On Southwest, the same route is only 14,160 Points!
Or in other words, only 1,660 more Points than a 12,500 Mile One Way on United or American…
So even if you don’t fly Southwest regularly or ever, I strongly suggest signing up for their Frequent Flyer Program because depending on where you are going, it can save you TONS on miles, money, and fees!