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I recently booked TWO tickets on Southwest for ~$170 (~$85 per person) in taxes and fees, plus ~20,000 Southwest points for a family vacation in Costa Rica. These flights would have normally cost us ~$850, making it a great way to get Big Travel with Small Money!
The secret to getting these super cheap flights is by using points earned from credit cards. I have to spend money on groceries, gas, and doctor’s appointments anyway, so I might as well be rewarded for it! Some of my favorite credit cards to earn rewards with are the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. I transferred my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest for free at a 1:1 ratio (trust me – it’s super easy!).
Here Are My Favorite Ways to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Chase issues some of the most valuable travel rewards credit cards. To recap, here are a few of my favorites:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Our favorite card for folks just starting out in the miles & points hobby!
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – Our favorite travel credit card for folks who know they’ll travel a lot
- Ink Business Preferred – Our favorite business credit card for travel
Get Nearly Half Off Flights With the Southwest Companion Pass
If you have a friend or family member you regularly travel with, then I highly recommend earning the Southwest Companion Pass! If you have it, you can bring along a guest for just the cost of taxes & fees! You can use the perk an unlimited number of times while you have the Southwest Companion Pass. And it works for flights paid with cash or paid with points!
I’ve used this perk a dozen times within the last year and half, saving me at least ~$3,600 in flights ($300 average cost of a flight x 12 flights).
How to Book Your Flights to Costa Rica!
It’s easy to book your flights once you have the points.
Step 1. Create a Southwest Account
Once you’ve got one of the Chase credit cards mentioned above, and earned the intro bonus, you’ll need to create a Southwest account.
Start by visiting the Southwest website and clicking “Enroll” in the top-right corner. Then enter your information and follow the instructions to finish creating your account.
Step 2. Find Your Flight & Transfer Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Next, you’ll want to find out how many points you need for your flight. And then you’ll need to transfer the points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest. If you can be flexible with your dates, you can save more points.
The only place you can search for Southwest flights is on the Southwest website. On the homepage, you’ll enter your travel itinerary details, then click “Search.” Remember, you can search for the cash or Southwest points price for flights.
If you want to check the prices of flights for an entire month at a time click “Low Fare Calendar” and enter your travel details on the following page.
Step 3. Book Your Flight
Once you’ve found the flight you want, select it and click “Continue.” On the next page you’ll see what the flight will cost in Southwest points and fees before you pay for your ticket. Most flights departing from the US have fees of ~$22, and the return flights from San Jose are ~$63. Certain routes might have higher taxes & fees. Be sure to always check the cash price on Southwest as well, because the added fees make your points less valuable.
And don’t forget you can cancel or change Southwest flights for free! So if your plans change, you’ll won’t have to pay hefty fees to change your flights.
You also get 2 free checked bags on Southwest which is another reason why I love flying the airline.
I saved at least $850 on TWO tickets to Costa Rica, thanks to Chase Ultimate Rewards points and the Southwest Companion Pass. In the end, I spent ~$170! I’ve never been to Costa Rica before, so I’m super excited to check it out!
Have you been to Costa Rica? Please share your recommendations with me on what I shouldn’t miss in the comments!