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Lyn writes about how to fly free on Southwest at GotoTravelGal.com and has a free ebook that teaches you how to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets 1 person fly nearly free with you for up to 2 years.
I’ve asked her to share some last-minute tips on how to quickly earn Southwest points if you are close to the 110,000 Southwest points needed to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass!
Lyn: It’s hard to believe it’s almost the end of the year. And that means time’s about to run out on your chance to earn the Southwest Companion Pass in 2017. A pass earned this year would be valid through the end of 2018!
To earn the Southwest Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 qualifying points within ONE calendar year – that would be January 1 through December 31, 2017. Any points that do not credit to your account by that date will count toward a pass the following year (2018), where you’ll once again start at ZERO points.
I’ve seen many people let lots of points to go to waste because they did not earn all of their points by the end of the year. Don’t let that be you!
9 Ways to Quickly Earn Southwest Points
There are lots of ways to earn Southwest points, but not all of them credit to your account quickly. I’ve compiled a list of some of the fastest ways to add points. Remember, anything marked as “bonus” points do NOT count toward the Southwest Companion Pass, but CAN be used for free flights on Southwest.
1. Use Your Southwest Chase Southwest Cards
Link: Hot Deals
You can always earn points by using your Chase Southwest credit cards. However, for the points to count in 2017, you need to complete your purchases a couple of days BEFORE your December close date. Anything after that time will credit in 2018.
If your December statement hasn’t closed yet, you can call Chase and ask them to move your close date to later in the month.
The cards earn 1 point per dollar on most items, though they do earn 2 points at Southwest and the airline’s hotel and car rental partners, which include:
- Best Western
- MGM Resorts
Be sure you pay your card balance at least monthly, so you don’t start to add interest, which makes earning the points no longer a good deal.
Do you have any anniversary points for holding the Chase Southwest credit cards? Anniversary points also count toward the Southwest Companion Pass!
2. Book a Flight!
Earn 6 points per dollar on Wanna Get Away fares on Southwest. The points will be deposited to your account within a few days after your flight.
For more points, choose an Anytime fare to earn 10 points per dollar or a Business Select fare to earn 12 points per dollar.
3. Rent a Car
While Southwest has many car rental partners, the best deals currently available include Budget, Hertz, Alamo, Avis, and National where you can earn 2,400 points each on a 7-day rental.
Or you can earn 1,200 points for rentals of any length with Dollar, Thrifty, and Payless.
Here is the full list of Southwest’s current car rental offers.
The points will credit to your account a few days AFTER you complete your car rental. Here’s more information about earning Southwest points through car rentals.
4. Book a Hotel Room Through SouthwestHotels.com
If you book a hotel through SouthwestHotels.com, you can earn up to 10,000 points per night. Search for hotels and look for the blue banner in the results indicating the number of Southwest points you can earn.
Points are usually credited to your account within a few days of the completion of your stay. Learn how to use Southwest’s hotel booking website.
5. Shop in the Southwest Shopping Portal
Starting all shopping in the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal is a great way to add points to your balance. But keep in mind, Southwest says:
Rapid Rewards points will typically be posted to your account within 6 to 8 weeks from purchase date.
So this is NOT guaranteed to boost your balance this month. However, there are some exceptions. Still, I wouldn’t spend a lot of money in case the transactions don’t post in a timely manner in the next few weeks.
Even if you plan to do in-store shopping, see if you can order online ahead of time and pick it up in-store. Great options for holiday shopping in the portal currently include:
- Kohl’s – 3 points per $1
- Old Navy – 1 point per $1
- Harry & David – 5 points per $1
- Macy’s – 4 points per $1
- Bed Bath and Beyond – 1 point per $1
- Things Remembered – 5 points per $1
- Barnes & Noble – 3 points per $1
- Dick’s Sporting Goods – 1 point per $1
- Best Buy – .5 points per $1
Here’s how to make sure you’re getting your Rapid Rewards Shopping points and a new trick to help you remember to use the portal. Plus, read more tips on how to earn Southwest points with your holiday shopping.
6. Subscriptions Through the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
Take advantage of high-point offers currently available in the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal, including:
- New York Times – 1,600 points ($7.50/month for 90 days)
- Texture (digital magazine subscription) – 1,100 points ($10 for 3 months)
- Sirius XM – 1,100 points ($30 for 6 months of select package or streaming, must be active at least 30 days)
- Wall Street Journal – 700 points ($1 for 2 months)
- Barron’s – 700 points ($1 for 8 weeks)
- The Economist – 550 points ($12 for 12 weeks)
Note: The fine print for several of these offers state that you can’t have been a subscriber in the last 180 days. If you don’t fit that description, consider getting it as a gift for someone in your family, using their address and email account.
7. Switch Cell Phone Providers
In the market for a new phone plan? Switch to one of the following providers by starting in the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal to net BIG points:
- T-Mobile – 4,500 points
- Verizon Wireless – 4,500 points
- AT&T Wireless – 4,500 points
- Sprint – 2,700 points
8. Give or Get a Monthly Wine Subscription
If you or a friend or family member enjoy wine, this can make a great gift, while earning you at least 1,000 Southwest points at the same time. Most of these businesses offer a monthly subscription to have a set number of wines delivered to you each month with the ability to cancel any time.
Sign-up for Winc or Vinesse Wines in the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal to earn Southwest points and get:
- Winc – 1,400 points
- Vinesse Wines – 1,400 points
9. Order Flowers
Sending flowers this holiday season? Earn 1,000 points for every order of ~$30 at 1800Flowers.com. Start at this link, use promotion code “RR22″, and enter your Southwest loyalty number during check-out. Brighten the season or give a gift while raking in the points!
By using a few strategies, you could still earn a Southwest Companion Pass for 2017, but hurry up! You can:
- Use your Chase Southwest credit cards
- Book a Southwest flight to earn 6, 10, or 12 points per $1 spent
- Rent a car
- Book a hotel room
- Shop in the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
- Subscribe to a newspaper or magazine
- Shop for a new phone plan
- Buy or gift a wine subscription
- Order flowers from 1800Flowers.com
Note that activity through the Southwest Shopping portal can take 6 to 8 weeks to post, although sometimes it happens sooner. But points from flights, or the Chase Southwest credit cards, tend to post within a few days after your flight or statement close, respectively. In any case, your points must post by December 31, 2017, to count for a 2017 Companion Pass.
Do you have any last-minute ideas for boosting your Southwest points balance?