Hi Splurgists, Julie here, crunched some numbers and decided that Southwest’s Rapid Rewards is, indeed, rapid.* After purchasing two domestic round trip flights, the third is free. My redemption scheme is most applicable if you frequent one hub in particular (in my case, New York).
The Wanna Get Away reward fare for a flight that leaves Wednesday 10AM and for the return flight that leaves from LaGuardia the following Wednesday at 5PM is priced at 14118 points round trip.
If I decide instead to pay for the above itinerary in Business Select for the 12x points earn rate, I’d pay $1027 for the round trip (about 515 each way) and earn 11026 points. Charging that amount to a Southwest credit card would net 13080 points at the 2x card earn rate. I would almost have enough for the 14118 Wanna Get Away reward flight amount. I’m going to estimate the cost for two round trip flights, one in Business and one in Wanna Get Away, at $514 each.
If I adjust the above and instead fly Wanna Get Away up at $127 but still fly down in Business Select at $515, the trip would cost $642 and earn me 6118 points. Presumably, a second Business x WGA trip at $642 would earn another 6118 points. That’d be $1284 for 12236 points, or 14804 points with Southwest card earnings.
At $1284, I’d get 3 round trip visits or $428 per. I’d still get to fly Business twice as was the case in the first scenario, but I’d get four Wanna Get Away flights rather than two.
$428 per person to New York is still expensive considering I can fly JetBlue at <$250 (our upcoming JetBlue flights were a reasonable $217 per person). A Companion Pass would halve their fare to $214 per person if you frequently fly in pairs. Marc and I rarely find ourselves in the same plane at the same time, though.
And here’s my usual credit card riff: the Chase Southwest Premier and Plus cards seasonally offer 50k sign-up bonuses after $2000 spend within 3 months. A Chase representative confirmed that the Premier and Plus cards are two separate products, so you can own both. Sometimes the first year $99 annual fee on the Premier is covered by a $100 statement credit offer.
Worth about 1.7 cents per point, the 100k reimbursement after $4000 spend on the Premier and Plus cards amount to 42% savings for a solo traveler or 84% when used in conjunction with the Companion Pass.
The second passenger’s ticket costs just $5 each redemption flight. The pass is valid for the remainder of the year you obtain 110k points and for the duration of the entire year after. To achieve the points requirement for the pass, I’d sign up for both the Premier and Plus cards when the 50k offers are live. The cards come in Personal and Business variety.
Link for the 60,000 Chase Southwest Business Premier Card Application from Miles to Memories. The 888-245-0625 reconsideration line confirms the 60k offer.
The Companion Pass makes Southwest fares worthwhile, otherwise I’d personally go with JetBlue, Delta or Frontier. Though United has incredibly cheap fares and a diversified portfolio of non-stops to and from Orlando, their assistants can often be beastly rude and off-putting lol.
Stay safe, Splurgists.
*calculations do not include taxes and fees.
The Chase x IHG Rewards Club card pays for itself. I’m not saying that it pays its own Annual Fee, because it’s free to own the first year. I’m saying that you can earn 100%+ back what you spend on it.
IHG points are in and of themselves a half-cent apiece. The IHG website sells them for a whole cent each at $10 for 1000/$40 for 4000 and more limitedly, at $565 for 100k points. My sweet, sweet Splurgists, don’t fallback onto points-buying unless the circumstances are dire.
The IHG Rewards Club Select credit card offers a 80,000 sign-up bonus after $1000 spend within 3 months and waives the $49 Annual Fee the first year. Earnings, benefits and fees are as follows:
- 5x per dollar at IHG
- 2x per dollar on Gas, Groceries and at Restaurants
- 1x per dollar towards All Else
- 10% rebate on points redemption
- Platinum Elite status for the duration of card membership.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- $49 Annual Fee waived first year
Platinum status elevates base earn by 50% which is 15x base earn per dollar at InterContinental, Crowne, Indigo, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express and 7.5x base earn per dollar at Staybridge and Candlewood. And 4000, 2600 or 1200 points per qualifying stay at ANA partner hotels.
The $1000 spend is easily met when staying 4 to 5 nights at a domestic InterContinental. That is
($1000 spend x (15 base + 5 card earn) + 80k sign-up) x .005 valuation x 1.1 rebate =
worth $550 in rewards or a 55% reimbursement towards additional stays. If you’re meeting the $1000 qualifying spend in food and gas essentials, it’d be
(($1000 spend x 3 card earn) + 80k sign-up) x .005 valuation x 1.1 rebate =
$457 or 48% reimbursed and still a formidable rewards amount considering the annual fee is waived.
The Anniversary Free Night is given to you after the first year, and at $49 it is worth >$550 depending on how and where you redeem. The stay must be completed within 12 months of receipt and can/should be complemented by the $450 to $550 worth of points earned the previous year. The Chase IHG card can reimburse you over 100% of the $1049 spend requirement through hotel stays.
The card sign-up bonuses can be re-redeemed 24 months after you’ve last earned them if you want to keep cycling in IHG points at 100,000 increments (80k sign up, 20k card earn).
Should you elect to hold onto the card, the $49 annual fee buys you a free night’s stay at any location (and while value can be upwards of $500, you’re susceptible to availability and the stay must be completed within a 12-month timeframe).
Let’s freaking GO already!!