Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Emily and I love flying on Southwest airlines because the flight attendants and ground crew are friendly, the boarding process is among the most efficient, they don’t fly small regional jets, you can check 2 bags for free, you don’t get nickel-and-dimed with change fees, and they have a lot more non-stop flights than other airlines.
And my Southwest Companion Pass lets Emily fly with me for free (just the $2.50 security fee per segment) on either paid or award tickets!
All Southwest Tickets Have a 10% Discount!
You earn Southwest points when you pay CASH for a Southwest ticket and fly on that ticket.
For example, you earn 6 points per $1 towards a Wanna Get Away Fare.
6 Southwest points are worth 10 cents towards the cheapest Wanna Get Away fares, so every Southwest ticket paid with cash automatically gets you a 10% Southwest discount.
This assumes that you will be flying Southwest again and that you will have enough points to redeem for an award since Southwest doesn’t allow you to pay for part of an award ticket with cash and part with points. You have to have enough points in your account to pay for the entire Southwest award ticket.
But you can often get more than 10% points or cash back!
From home. Without having to go to a store to buy Southwest gift cards.
5X ULTIMATE REWARDS POINTS ON ALL southwest PURCHASES
Staples and Office Max sell Southwest gift cards, and you will get 5X Ultimate Rewards points if you buy them with your (no longer available) Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus. That’s because you earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 when you use the Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus in Office supply stores which INCLUDES buying Southwest gift cards.
You can also use the Chase Ink Cash or Chase Ink Classic which do not have annual fees. You can’t transfer points from the Ink Cash or Classic directly to airline or hotel partners. But you can transfer the Ultimate Rewards points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold or the Chase Ink Plus card and from there to airline or hotel partners such as Southwest or Hyatt.
You can redeem Southwest gift cards very easily when you buy a Southwest ticket online (see the section below).
You don’t need to be incorporated to apply for a business credit card and can also apply for a business credit card as a start-up business with little to no revenue. But don’t lie on the application form!
Ultimate Rewards points from the Ink Bold and Ink Plus can be redeemed for:
- Cash back at 1 cent per Ultimate Rewards point
- Travel via the Ultimate Rewards portal at 1.25 cents per point
- Transferred to Airline and Hotel Partners such as United, Southwest, Hyatt and more
But you have to go to a physical Office Max (or Staples) to buy the Southwest gift cards.
5X ULTIMATE REWARDS POINTS + 2% CASH BACK (OR 7% CASH BACK TOTAL) ON ALL SOUTHWEST PURCHASES!
However, you can buy Southwest gift cards from Staples ONLINE, and still earn 5x Ultimate Rewards points if you buy a Southwest gift card with your Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus.
Even better – You can earn an extra 2% on TOP of the 5X Ultimate Rewards points if you go to Staples via Ebates which gives you 2% cash back for purchases at Staples!
This means that for every $1 you are getting:
- 5 Ultimate Rewards points worth 5 cents in cash back or 8.35 cents towards Southwest Wanna Get Away Fares for using your Chase Ink Bold or Ink Plus to buy a Southwest gift card at Staples
- 2% Cash Back via Ebates
- And you will eventually get 6 Southwest points per $1 (10 cents towards Wanna Get Away fares) when you fly on a Southwest flight bought with a Southwest gift card
So you’re getting ~20% off for every $1 spent on Southwest airfare:
- 8.35 cents towards Southwest Wanna Get Away fares (5 Ultimate Rewards Points transferred to Southwest points X 1.67 cents per point) for using the Chase Ink cards at Staples and transferring the points to Southwest
- 2 cents in cash back from Ebates when you click through to Staples from Ebates
- 10 cents towards Wanna Get Away fares (6 Southwest points) for eventually flying on the Southwest flight
I tried earning extra Ultimate Rewards points by shopping at Staples online via the Ultimate Rewards portal, but didn’t earn extra Ultimate Rewards points. I suspect that is because the terms say that you don’t earn Ultimate Rewards points for online gift card purchases at Staples.
But I was able to earn 2% cash back at Ebates because the terms at Ebates don’t restrict gift cards from earning cash back.
Step 1 – Go to Staples.com via Ebates for an extra 2% cash back
You can skip this step (and go directly to step 2) if you’d rather save time and don’t want the extra 2% cash back.
Step 2 – Search for Southwest Gift Cards at Staples.com
Staples.com sells 2 types of Southwest gift cards. The first are regular gift cards which have a $1.99 shipping fee and are only available in small denominations.
Skip these (unless you prefer getting a physical gift card for $1.99 extra).
Staples.com ALSO sells e-gift cards to Southwest airlines which you receive via email. You can buy:
- $50 Southwest Email Gift Cards
- $100 Southwest Email Gift Cards
- $200 Southwest Email Gift Cards
- $300 Southwest Email Gift Cards
- $400 Southwest Email Gift Cards
- $500 Southwest Email Gift Cards
You can use up to 4 forms of payment when you buy a Southwest ticket at Southwest.com so higher denomination e-gift cards are easier to use.
You will earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent when you use your Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus.
Step 3 – Wait for Staples to Call You
I placed 3 test orders on 3 separate days and all 3 orders went into pending status or “researching” status.
I called Staples to manually process the first order, but they weren’t able to process the order. But I did receive a call from Staples within 2 to 3 days asking me to confirm the order and I received my e-gift card a few hours after that.
The 2nd and 3rd order automatically processed within 1 to 2 days of placing the order.
Step 4 – Get Your e-gift Card Code
The Southwest gift card is sent by “GiftCardMall.com”
Click on “View Gift” in the email
Then click on “Get Code”
You will see a “Card Number” and “Security Code” which you will need to redeem your gift card at Southwest.com
Step 5 – Redeem Your Southwest Gift Card
Book a paid ticket at Southwest.com and click on “Apply Travel Funds”
Then enter your gift card number and security code.
And click “Apply Funds”
Money from your gift card is then applied to your Southwest ticket purchase.
Southwest Airlines Gift Card Rules
Here are the complete terms and conditions for using Southwest gift cards. Here’s what stands out to me.
- You CAN use a Southwest gift card to pay for airfare, excess baggage fees, security fees, and fees to bring a pet on board
- You CAN’T use a Southwest Airlines Gift card to pay for EarlyBird Check-in, Southwest Vacation packages, or for in-flight purchases
- Southwest gift cards never expire and there is no fee for not using the card within a certain time
TYPES OF INK CARDS
CHASE INK BOLD & INK PLUS
- Link: Chase Ink Bold
- Link: Chase Ink Plus
You get 5 points per $1 spent or 5% cash back at Office Supply stores (all the time) up to $50,000 in spending per cardmember year on the Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus.
These cards have a $95 annual fee, but you can transfer points to Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline partners such as Hyatt, United, and Southwest.
CHASE INK CASH & INK CLASSIC
- Link: Chase Ink Cash
- Link: Chase Ink Classic
The Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Classic have NO annual fee, but you get 5X Ultimate Rewards points or 5% cash back at office supply stores only for $25,000 in annual spending per year at Office Supply stores.
You can’t transfer points from the Ink Cash or Classic directly to airline or hote partners. But you can transfer the Ultimate Rewards points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold or the Chase Ink Plus card and from there to airline or hotel partners such as Hyatt or United.
You already earn 10% off in Southwest points per $1 on every Southwest ticket paid with cash. But it is pretty easy to earn up to 20% off for every $1 spent on Southwest airfare!