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Oh Southwest credit cards, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!
First and foremost though, here’s the link to the card!
It has been no secret since the very beginning of us talking about travel hacking that we’ve been a fan of Southwest cards. They have low annual fees, they provide pretty decent sign on bonuses, and point redemption is just. so. easy.
Let’s get this out of the way first, is Southwest the fanciest airline you’ll every fly with? Not at all. But as long as you are okay not having a butler on board or having a limousine pick you up from those fancy airplane stairs and take you straight to the fur coat store…you’ll be just fine. (Because these are the fanciest things I can think of.) No but really, you get what you get with Southwest. No assigned seats makes sitting as a family a little trickier. There aren’t any ritzy lobbies for card members in the airport terminals. But for free checked bags and the dad gum convenience of flying with them, I’d say it’s worth it.
So several years ago, I remember talking to a friend of mine about travel cards and saying that I was leery of getting a card that I had to pay for. Why would I do that when I could get like .0000000001% cash back on my other card for free? She helped me see though, that just by signing up and hitting a minimum spend, I would get enough points for two round trips. And I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get two round trip tickets for $69 otherwise. So I got my first Southwest card and have never looked back. So let’s break down why I love these cards so much.
Low Annual Fees
Okay, so as you break into the world of travel hacking or getting benefits from different credit cards, you’ll find that while there are a lot of free credit cards, most with great perks or benefits have an annual fee. Southwest has several different tiers, with varying levels of benefits and anniversary gifts, and the lowest one starts at just $69. And while you know that I’m the cheapest human ever, I have found that this is a fee that is worth it. I have yet to feel the need to get some of the higher tier cards with $99 and $149 annual fees, especially since you get the same sign on bonus for all three! But $69 is a relatively low barrier to entry to see if this whole point thing is all its cracked up to be and worth it for you.
Sign On Bonus
That brings me to the next thing, which is especially exciting right now…SIGN ON BONUSES!!! With all of our travel hacking, this is where we actually get most of our benefits from. Typically Southwest cards have a 40,000 point sign on bonus if you spend $1000-2000 in the first three months of having the card open. However, right now, it is EVEN BETTER!
Right now they have a deal that if you spent $2000 in the first three months the card is open, you get 50,000 bonus points. On top of that, if you spend $10,000 in the first NINE MONTHS from the account opening, you can get an ADDITIONAL 30,000 points! That means that you will have 80,000 points, plus the 10,000 points earned from your purchases, for a total of 90,000 points. Is that insane or is that insane?! This deal ends on February 8, 2021, so jump on it! Here’s the link to apply!
But what can you even get for 90,000 points? Uhhh, a ton of flights. Right now, I feel like I get a Southwest sale email every week! I think they are really trying to encourage travel again so flights are cheeeeeeeeeeap. Like cheap cheap cheap. I just looked up flights and my jaw dropped. Flights from Phoenix to Salt Lake are $49, which translates to less than 3000 points. Same with Chicago! And LA! It is insane. So for less than 30,000 I could take my family of seven (babies fly free until age 2) to a ton of different places!
I know that right now flight prices are bonkers low and it won’t always be the case. However, even in precedented times, it seems like I could often get a one way flight for around 10,000 points. So just with the normal sign on bonus of 50,000 you could still get two round trip tickets to a bunch of different places. Definitely worth it for the $69 annual fee.
Easy Booking and Point Redemption
This is one of my FAVORITE things about Southwest. It is so dang easy to book. When you look up flights, you simply click whether you are booking with dollars or points. And the points are directly tied to the cash price of a ticket, so if tickets go on sale, your points go further, just like your dollars would!
When you book, you often have to pay a few taxes and fees, but for domestic flights it is a whopping $5.60 for each one way flight. Not too shabby! Also, the points are easily refundable up until the day of the flight. That is especially helpful right now as we are unsure of what the next few months look like with the virus. Last summer I found $39 flights to San Diego and I thought it would be fun for Philip to take Maren to LegoLand for her birthday. So I booked flights, knowing that all the things could change. And sure enough, as it got closer and the park wasn’t open still, we just cancelled them and boom. Points are back in my account instantly.
Also, if you need to change flights, there isn’t a fee associated with that! So if you find that a flight you’ve already booked went on sale, you can either change to a different cheaper flight, or cancel altogether and rebook the same flight with the cheaper fee. I have done this a handful of times also. Where I will book something only to find it cheaper later that week or month, so I rebook and save myself a few thousand points!
And the last thing I’ll point out about the ease of this program is that there are not a million rules and regulations. With so many other awards programs, you practically have to keep a three ring binder full of the rules! Not this one. If a ticket is available to buy, you can buy it with points. Hands down. End of story. Easy peasy.
Have I Talked You Into it Yet?
Honestly, this is a card that I’ve recommended to anyone with a pulse and a credit score. It is a perfect beginner’s card when it comes to travel hacking. And even for us, having had several different airline and hotel cards, we keep coming back to this one.
I just signed up again after not having this card for the past few years. Luckily, I had a $2500 hospital bill waiting to be paid, so I hit my minimum spend on the first day! 🙃 When the billing cycle closed a week ago, it already included my 50,000 bonus points! I am well on my way to getting the additional points also! So if you need me, I’ll be booking flights like they are going out of style! As well as counting down the points I need to get a companion pass (which I’ll touch on very soon). But yes, you should apply! And, as always, if you use our link, I will love you forever. Or give you a high five. Whatever you prefer. 🙂 Happy flying!