Trick for Big Travel on Southwest Using US Bank FlexPerks Cards

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For folks with a US Bank FlexPerks card (like the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa or US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards AMEX), there’s a trick to redeeming your FlexPoints for more Big Travel on Southwest!

Trick For Big Travel On Southwest Using US Bank FlexPerks Cards

Fly to Gorgeous Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic on Southwest, and Take a Friend for Nearly Free If You Have the Southwest Companion Pass!

I haven’t tried this myself, but I’ll show you how it works.  And give you some ideas about how to use your Southwest credits!

About the US Bank FlexPerks Cards

Link:   US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa

Link:   US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards AMEX

Link:   US Bank FlexPerks Select+ AMEX

US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Cards

When you open the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa or US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards AMEX, you’ll earn 20,000 FlexPoints when you spend $3,500 on purchases within 1st 4 months of opening your account.

The annual fee on both cards is $49, waived the 1st year.

Now here’s the fun part.  With your 20,000 FlexPoints, you can book a flight that costs, at most, $400.  But in reality, you might find a flight that costs $310 or $250.  So you’d be leaving money on the table!

The trick I’ll show you is a way to get your full $400 worth of flights (on Southwest) from the 20,000 FlexPoints sign-up bonus!

With the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa, you’ll also earn:

  • 3X FlexPoints per $1 spent on charitable donations
  • 2X FlexPoints per $1 spent on either gas, groceries or air travel – whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle, and most cell phone expenses
  • NO foreign transaction fees
Trick For Big Travel On Southwest Using US Bank FlexPerks Cards

US Bank Travel Rewards Visa and AMEX Cards Earn 3X FlexPoints on Charitable Donations

And with the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards AMEX, you can earn:

  • 3X FlexPoints per $1 spent on charitable donations
  • 2X FlexPoints per $1 spent at restaurants, fast food, and most cell phone expenses
  • 2X FlexPoints per $1 spent on gas, grocery or airfare – whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle
  • NO foreign transaction fees

Both cards come with:

  • 3,500 bonus FlexPoints each cardmember year you spend $24,000 in net purchases, which can be redeemed for your annual fee or other rewards of your choice
  • 1 FlexPoint per $1 you spend on everything else
  • Up to $25 statement credit per award ticket for airline expenses (checked bag fees, in-flight food, and drinks – you’ll get $25 max for 1 transaction)

You’ll have to call US Bank at 877-978-7446 to get the $25 credit for in-flight purchases within 90 days of a qualified purchase and it’s only valid on the dates for when you booked your award.

US Bank FlexPerks Select+ AMEX

Folks who want a card with no annual fee might consider the US Bank FlexPerks Select+ AMEX.  You’ll earn 10,000 FlexPoints after spending $1,000 on purchases within 1st 4 months of opening your account.  And 1 FlexPoint per $1 spent on the card.

Keep in mind it has a 2% foreign transaction fee for transactions in US dollars, and a 3% fee for foreign currency transactions, so it’s NOT a good card to use abroad.

Redeem FlexPoints for Southwest Flights

Link:   Ways to Redeem Your FlexPoints

You can redeem your FlexPoints for lots of travel options, including:

  • Airfare
  • Car rentals
  • Cruises
  • Hotel stays

Or, spend them for gift cards, statement credits, and merchandise.

You can use FlexPoints to book flights on most airlines, including Southwest.  Note you’ll have to call to book flights on Southwest because they can’t be booked online.

US Bank charges a $25 fee to book over the phone.  But you can request they waive the fee for you because it’s impossible to book online.

I haven’t personally booked 1 of these award flights, so let me know if the comments what your experience has been!

Trick For Big Travel On Southwest Using US Bank FlexPerks Cards

Redeem FlexPoints Starting at 20,000 for a Plane Ticket Up to $400

Book flights starting at 20,000 FlexPoints.  For that amount, you’ll get a plane ticket up to $400.

That means that the ticket could be $100, $250, or $399 – all of them cost 20,000 FlexPoints.

Trick For Big Travel On Southwest Using US Bank FlexPerks Cards

LUV to Fly Southwest? FlexPoints Are Another Way to Redeem Points for Flights!

And, you’ll earn frequent flyer miles on these tickets!

How Does It Work?

Because you can use 20,000 FlexPoints for flights up to $400, the trick is to find a flight as close to $400 as possible.

1.   Find a $400 Flight on Southwest (Wanna Get Away Fares Do NOT Count)

Search on Southwest’s website until you find a flight that’s close to $400.

Trick For Big Travel On Southwest Using US Bank FlexPerks Cards

Look for “Business Select” or “Anytime” Fares. I Found Lots of Options Near $400

I found a flight from Chicago to Dallas for $399!

Trick For Big Travel On Southwest Using US Bank FlexPerks Cards

Search Southwest’s Web Site to Find a Flight As Close to $400 As You Can. And Remember You Can’t Book “Wanna Get Away” Fares with FlexPoints

Keep in mind 3rd parties can NOT book Southwest’s “Wanna Get Away” fares.  So look for “Business Select” or “Anytime” fares.

2.   Call US Bank to Book

When you find a flight that’s close to $400, call 888-229-8864 to book using FlexPoints with a US Bank representative.

US Bank might pull higher prices on their flight booking software, so be sure to verify the price.  It’s a good idea to have a couple of backups at a slightly lower price in case they price it higher.

3.   Call Southwest to Link Your Rapid Rewards Number

After the flights are booked and you have a confirmation number, call Southwest at 800-435-9792 to link your Rapid Rewards number to the flight reservation.

They’ll ask for your name, flight information, and Rapid Rewards account number.  The confirmation number from US Bank will NOT be the same as the 1 from Southwest, so be sure to ask for your Southwest confirmation number.

4.   Cancel Your Flight Online

When you see the flight in your Rapid Rewards account, you can cancel it for free.  That’s because Southwest doesn’t charge any fees to change or cancel their flights.  Be sure to select “Hold funds for future use.”

Keep in mind you can’t transfer the credit – you must use it for your own flights.

The credit will be available to you to use on Southwest flights for a full year!

Again, I haven’t personally tried this trick, but it should work!

Who Should Do This?

This trick is handy for folks who:

  • Want to get as much value as possible from their FlexPoints
  • Want to take more than 1 Southwest flight within a year
  • Need to use their FlexPoints before they cancel their US Bank FlexPoints credit card
  • Want the flexibility Southwest offers
Trick For Big Travel On Southwest Using US Bank FlexPerks Cards

If You Have the Southwest Companion Pass, Easily Double the Value on Your FlexPoints!

But the biggest reason to use this trick is to fly with a partner if you have the Southwest Companion Pass.  That’s because they can fly with you for nearly free on any ticket!

This way, your 20,000 FlexPoints are worth $800 in Southwest flights instead of $400.  That’s a great deal!

With the current offers for 50,000 Southwest points on the Chase Southwest cards, it’s easy to earn the Southwest Companion Pass!

The flights you take will count toward Southwest A-List elite status, and help you earn more qualifying points toward your next Companion Pass because it’s like booking a paid ticket!

And remember, everyone gets 2 free checked bags on Southwest flights!

The drawbacks to this deal are the possible $25 phone booking fee, and you won’t be able receive statement credit for in-flight goodies if you fly on dates that are different from the ones US Bank booked for you.

But this can still be a great deal for some folks, especially if you have the Southwest Companion Pass!

Bottom Line

You can redeem your FlexPoints earned with the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards VisaUS Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards AMEX, or US Bank FlexPerks Select+ AMEX for flights on Southwest.

20,000 FlexPoints are worth up to $400 in airfare.  But most folks probably end up booking a ticket for less than the full $400 they’re entitled to.  Because they’ll find the flight they want for say, $290, and think that’s close enough.

But…when you book a Southwest flight that’s close to $400, you can cancel the ticket to use the credit for future flights.  So you’ll the highest redemption possible.  And, if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll get nearly $800 worth of flights!

Be aware US Bank may charge $25 to book the flights over the phone (but ask them to waive it for you), and you can’t ask for statement credits if you fly on dates that differ from the ones you requested for your award flight.

You’ll have a full year to use the Southwest flight credit.  This can be a great deal for folks who like to fly on Southwest.  And, you’ll earn frequent flyer miles!

Let me know if you’ve had success with this trick!

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25 responses to “Trick for Big Travel on Southwest Using US Bank FlexPerks Cards

  1. The US Bank FlexPerks Visa no longer charges foreign transaction fees.

  2. Great tip. If I have the US Bank card, may I book a ticket with my points in my wife’s name?

    I would want to do this because her account has the companion pass, so I would want the credit to go to her southwest account.

  3. FlexPerks cards do not have FTFs.

  4. I have 30,000+ points I still haven’t used. Wish I had known this before paying the annual fee last month! Good to know though.

  5. Those application links are incorrect then. Check out the main card page at https://www.usbank.com/credit-cards/flexperks-travel.html

  6. @John on US Bank website the fine print says “Travel rewards can be issued in any individual’s name”. In that case, you can use your pts to book a ticket under your wife’s name, after all booking is confirmed have her call Southwest to get the companion ticket for you, or she might just be able to add you online under her reservation.

  7. @JR – Thanks for the link! I’ll look into it.

  8. Just tried calling US Bank and the prices they gave me were way lower than what I found them on the SW site. BUR to TPA was quoted as $597.50 on SW, US Bank had it at $298. BUR to MSY was $587.50 on SW, US Bank had it for $328.

  9. I got an email last year (Oct 2014) about elimination of foreign transaction fees:

    Now when you use your FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card for purchases abroad, you pay no foreign transaction fees.¹ So whether you’re buying lunch, reserving a hotel or picking up a souvenir, you won’t have to worry about unexpected fees for purchases abroad.

    Your FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card also features smart chip technology, which offers additional security, plus extra convenience when used with the smart chip checkout systems common in Canada and Europe. Bring FlexPerks with you on your next adventure — it’s now the only travel card you need.

  10. @Darius I just did this a few weeks ago. It worked great. Please refer to my blog post. This provides detailed information on how to do this. http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=55785.msg1269223#msg1269223

  11. @Danny@Darius-The prices US Bank quotes are NOT Business Select or Anytime fares. They are Wanna Get Away fares booked over the phone as if you called Southwest and did not book online. I confirmed this with a US Bank rep. That being said I found that if the Wanna Get Away fare price was cheap for a particular route then the phone fare will definitely be significantly higher. Conversely if the Wanna Get Away fare price is an expensive one for that route then it will most likely be the same as the one quoted by Southwest over the phone and the one US Bank quotes. This is a common misconception on the various blogs which states that the price is Business’s Select Anytime fares. The problem is not many people have done this but I did a few weeks ago. One rep told me price is “typically $50-$100 higher than lowest online fare” second rep said its the price booking over the phone rather than online.

  12. I one needs to get a reservation using Busn Select or Anytime fares, they are much higher than Wanna Get Away. So if you book a $400 Anytime fare with US Bank FlexPerks, then you can later cancel, have some $$ in a SWA travel award which you can use to book Wanna Get Away fares later on. So buy a $400 fare say from LAX to Wash DC, cancel and then book a $220 fare for same flight later on? Is that the best way?

  13. @Mike C- find a Wanna Get Away fare that is an expensive one. Look at the calendar for a given route one way, preferably longer distance flight and find something close to $400. Example would be BDL to SFO, if you look at rt fare a cheap ticket will price out at $400 and US Bank will quote more than $500. Look at a one way fare that ~$390 and it will likely be the same price as online.

  14. So, once you cancel the Southwest ticket and the funds go into you Southwest account, can those funds be used to buy a ticket for anyone, or just for the account holder or for the person who’s name was on the original ticket?? Thanks

  15. One easy way to know what fare you’ll be quoted is to ask Flexperks to book a flight where WannaGetAway fares are sold out, but Anytime fares are still available. That ensures that Flexperks will quote you the Anytime fare.

    Also, be careful reusing Southwest ticketless travel funds. Funds are good for one year from original ticketing date, and ALL money paid for a new reservation inherits the OLDEST funds expiration date. For example, suppose you purchase a $390 ticket with Flexperks on January 1, cancel the ticket, and reuse $330 of the funds for a flight you actually take. That leaves $60 in funds good through December 31. If, on November 30, you purchase a new $400 WannaGetAway fare using the $60 credit plus $340 in new money, the ENTIRE $400 expires on December 31. If your plans change, you can easily end up forfeiting the entire $400. :-(.

    Colleen, the funds can only be used for the person whose name was on the original ticket.

  16. Just booked my $597.50 one way flight. Look for routes where the Wanna Get Away fares are not available. I called Southwest to confirm what prices they would quote over the phone for a few one way tickets I found. Spring Break 2016 is a great time to search for more expensive fares. The first route I tried, they said it was unavailable for the dates I tried, so I had to loose out on $0.50 and book a cheaper route that I had as a backup.

    Something seems to be wrong with the rewards info on the website. I can’t get it to work right now. I freaked out thinking I had lost 30,000 points for a bit. Please remember that points expire 5 years from when they were earned regardless of activity. Just in case you have been hanging onto your card for too long.

  17. And they did waive the $25 since you can’t book Southwest on the website. Thanks so much for this tip. I have been trying to figure out what to do with these points for a long time.

  18. Wouldn’t this same trick work using Barclay’s Arrival miles (if you wanted to cancel the card, not pay the AF, but didn’t have any immediate use for the Arrival miles)?

  19. @Drew- I did this accidentally once. I booked a JetBlue flight then cancelled within 24 hours. Received a charge and credit for same amount. Then went and was able to redeem my points for a statement credit on that flight.

  20. BetsyBettyBecky

    I just called to book an award flight on SW (for my companion-pass-holding husband) and the price quoted was lower than the Wanna Get Away published fares I found listed on SW’s website. To get the most bang for my reward buck, I booked a business select fare for $390 which I plan to cancel and save the funds for later, but if I can’t, I’ll be adding myself to the ticket for free! I was told over the phone that the ticket is non-refundable, but I’m assuming that only applies to the FlexPoints program. *I did request the $25 fee to be waived, which the representative allowed. Thanks for all the helpful info, Daraius.

  21. Does this work with other airlines such as Frontier or Spirit ?

  22. When I called in today to make a Southwest booking, the agent proactively told me that they wouldn’t charge me the $25 booking fee because it was on Southwest. She also called Southwest to manually ticket a Wanna Get Away fare so I would fall under the 20,000 points ticket price. A big thumbs up on the customer service!

  23. The U.S. Bank FlexPerks folks seem to have access to “Wanna Get Away” inventory that does not show on the SWA website. I found an “Anytime” fare that fell just shy of $400, with “Unavailable” showing in the “Wanna Get Away” column.

    I immediately called in to U.S. Bank, but the ticket value they quoted me was less than $200…similar to what a “Wanna Get Away” fare would be if it could be booked. I hung up.

    Then I found another SWA flight with the “Wanna Get Away” showing as “Sold Out”. I called in again, and this time the ticket price was the full “Anytime” amount that I expected. (Actually, it was a few cents cheaper…the SWA website rounds prices to the dollar.)

    As a bonus, the FlexPerks rep gave me two 6-character confirmation codes…one for their office use, and the other the all-important Southwest Airlines code.

    Thank you for your post, which showed how to best use my FlexPerks!

  24. Today I completed the second (and final) step of the FlexPerks-to-Southwest-Airlines transfer trick. After waiting a little over 24 hours from the initial ticket purchase, I went on the SWA website and added the trip to my Rapid Rewards account. After a few minutes the flight showed up in my list of upcoming flights, and at that point I canceled it…with funds saved for future flights. It’s important to note the 6-character confirmation code of the canceled flight, because you need that in the future to use the funds for travel. (If you don’t have it, you can call in and they will find it for you.)

    I now have just shy of $400 “cash” in my SWA account, which will be used by me and my Companion as we travel in coming months around the country 🙂