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Lyn writes about how to fly free on Southwest on her GotoTravelGal.com blog. And created a free e-book that walks you through exactly how to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets 1 person fly nearly free with you for up to 2 years.
As we head into the busy holidays, I asked her to put together a list of how to maximize the number of Southwest points you can earn this season.
Lyn: Holidays are one of the best times to rack up TONS of Southwest points. But to make sure you earn as many as you can, you’ll need a strategy. And NOW is the time to start putting that together!
Here are 7 ways to help you get as many Southwest points as possible this year!
7 Ways to Earn the Most Southwest Points With Holiday Spending
November is upon us – and that means the holiday season is about to get into full swing. Christmas commercials are airing, and store shelves are lined with lights, ornaments, and gifts. Before you jump into holiday spending, make sure you have a strategy for maximizing the number of points you will earn for free upcoming flights. And remember, there are OTHER ways to earn points aside from gift-buying.
Here are 7 ideas to get you started:
1. Shopping on the Southwest Shopping Portal
The easiest thing you can do when buying gifts is to make sure you ALWAYS start at the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal. You could earn between 1 to 20 Southwest points per $1 spent – at NO additional cost to you!
Here are some tips to get the most out of the portal:
- Add the New Chrome Browser Button – Southwest made this process easier by adding a handy button for Google Chrome browser, which pops up on any retailer website that partners with Southwest. It reminds you to activate points-earning and shows you how many points you can earn. Be sure to download the button if you haven’t!
- Order Online & Pick-Up in Store – Even if you plan to purchase an item in store, consider buying it online ahead of time and opting for store pick-up. Many retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart let you buy the item on their website and pick it up later in the store. This lets you earn points versus purchasing it in the store where you could not earn points.
- Consider Unique Gifts – Be creative when it comes to gift buying. In addition to popular online retailers like Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Macy’s, or even Things Remembered, the Southwest Shopping Portal offers a set amount of Southwest points for purchases at some retailers.
Here are some ideas:
- Monthly Wine Membership from Vinesse Wines – 1,400 Southwest points
- Monthly Wine Membership with Laithwaite’s Wine – 2,000 Southwest points (start at this link)
- Genetic Testing Kit from 23andMe – 700 Southwest points
- Monthly Meal Recipes & Ingredients from HelloFresh – 700 Southwest points
- Monthly Gift Box from NatureBox (350 Southwest points) or BirchBox (200 Southwest points)
Also, make sure you don’t make these mistakes when using the shopping portal to ensure you get all of your points! And always check other shopping portals to see if you’re getting the best return on your spending!
2. Take Advantage of Holiday Bonus Point Offers
Southwest offers holiday bonus points when you spend a certain amount in the Southwest Shopping Portal, so if possible try to meet one of the below thresholds. The first holiday offer runs through November 20, 2017, and offers these bonus points:
- Spend up to $150 and earn 500 Southwest points
- Spend up to $500 and earn 1,000 Southwest points
- Spend up to $1000 and earn 3,000 Southwest points
Note: Bonus points do NOT qualify for the 110,000 Southwest points needed in a calendar year to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
3. Use a Points-Earning Credit Card
When making any holiday purchases, be sure to use a points-earning credit card. When using a points-earning credit card in the Southwest shopping portal, you can stack points, and earn both portal points and credit card points. You have several options for cards that either earn Southwest points directly or points that you can transfer to Southwest.
- Chase Southwest Cards – If you hold either the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, you can use these for holiday purchases. A main reason to use these cards is because all points earned DO qualify toward the 110,000 points needed to earn the Southwest Companion Pass; however, you only earn 1 point per $1 spent on most items and double points on Southwest purchases or purchases with Southwest partner hotels and car rental companies. Here is a list of Southwest hotel and car rental partners.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards – Chase Ultimate Rewards are transferable to Southwest, so you can use any card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. These cards earn more points per $1 spent than Southwest cards on certain purchases, so are a good option if you are looking to build your points balance, but do NOT need to earn points that qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass. They are also transferable to other airline and hotel programs, giving you more flexibility.
4. Book Hotels Through Southwest
If you’ll be traveling for the holidays and won’t be using points to book some of your hotels, start at SouthwestHotels.com and earn up to 10,000 Southwest points per night. I had one reader recently earn 29,000 Southwest points on a hotel stay, and these points DO qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass!
When searching for hotels on the Southwest website, look for the blue button on the listing that tells you how many points you can earn.
5. Order Flowers
Some people enjoy holiday flower displays on their tables for Thanksgiving, holiday parties, and more. Consider ordering your flowers from Southwest’s partner 1800Flowers.com and earn 1,000 Southwest points for each order of ~$30+. Start at 1800Flowers.com/Rapid Rewards, use code “RR22”, and enter your Southwest loyalty number at checkout.
6. Enroll All Cards in Rapid Rewards Dining
Make sure you’re enrolled in Rapid Rewards Dining, which allows you to automatically earn Southwest points when you dine at participating restaurants. Once you are enrolled, add all credit or debit cards you might use to pay for a meal to your account.
Any time you dine at a participating restaurant, you’ll automatically earn 3 Southwest points per $1 spent (so long as you opt-in to their email communications) without having to do anything else. You can also earn bonus points along the way when you reach certain thresholds, as well as 10 Southwest points for each online restaurant review you complete.
Imagine if you could pay for that company holiday party on your card and then expense it back to the company, paying the card off within 30 days! That’s a lot of points!
7. Car Rentals
Car rentals at the holidays – or any time of year! – can also earn you more Southwest points when you start your booking at Southwest.com. Simply click the “Car” link at the top of Southwest.com and then “Book a Car.”
You can earn up to 2,400 Southwest points on car rentals and also score a discount on the cost. There are also no cancellation fees when booking a car rental through Southwest.com, though you will have to pay ~$1 per day to earn Southwest points.
Get your game plan together now for earning Southwest points on holiday spending to ensure you earn the most points for as many free future flights as possible! You can:
- Start your shopping at the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
- Take advantage of holiday bonus points to earn even more Southwest points in the shopping portal
- Use a points-earning card like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Book hotels through SouthwestHotels.com
- Order flowers
- Enroll your credit and debit cards in Rapid Rewards Dining
- Rent a car
You might as well earn a return on all that spending! 🙂