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I fly from North Carolina to Orlando two to three times each year to visit Walt Disney World, and I almost never pay for airfare.
How do I pull this off? I fly for (almost) free using points earned from a Southwest credit card. In this post, I’ll show you how to earn and redeem points so you can visit your favorite destination more often.
How To Earn LOTS of Points With A Southwest Credit Card
Southwest’s frequent flier program is called Rapid Rewards.
The main way I’ve earned Rapid Reward points is by opening a new Southwest credit card. There are three different Southwest cards offered by Chase, and when you open one and meet the minimum spending requirement, you’ll earn a huge number of Rapid Rewards points.
The first card I opened was the Chase Premier Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa (this is my referral link), and it is still my favorite card.
You can earn a bonus of up to 50,000 points after you meet the minimum spending requirement on the card. The bonus fluctuates between 40K and 50K miles frequently.
Keep in mind that I only recommend opening a new credit card if you have a history of using credit responsibly and paying your bills on time.
Does The Southwest Credit Card Have An Annual Fee?
There is a $99 annual fee for this card that is not waived the first year. However, you will receive 6,000 points every year on your cardmember anniversary, which are worth more than $99 in airfare.
Your points will be automatically deposited into your Rapid Rewards account a few days after the end of the billing cycle during which you met the spending requirement. Then you are ready to start booking flights!
How Much Is 50,000 Southwest Points Worth?
The reason I am able to visit Walt Disney World several times each year and still have points to spare is that I use them wisely!
My secret is to use the “Flexible Dates” search option on Southwest’s site which you can find it on the homepage – it is circled in red in the image above.
Searching by the month will show you the best dates to travel to get the most out of your points. As you can see, I can fly from Orlando to Raleigh for only 3,081 points on many days in June.
That means I can take up to TWELVE one-way flights with the 40,000-point sign-on bonus!
When you redeem your points for a flight, you will still have to pay a $5.60 security fee each way. So a roundtrip flight to Orlando to visit Disney World costs me $11.20 per person – not too shabby!
How Will Opening This Card Affect My Credit Score?
One common concern folks have about opening new credit cards is how it will affect their credit score.
I regularly open new cards to earn signup bonuses and my score has done nothing but rise over the years to close to 800. This is because when you open a new line of credit your overall credit limit increases (good for your credit score), which means if you ever carry any balance your debt-to-credit ratio goes down (also good for your credit score).
Opening a new card like this is particularly helpful if you plan to keep it for many years to come- which I recommend that you do to get your annual point bonus! This will eventually increase the average age of your credit lines, also increasing your credit score.
What Else To Consider About the Southwest Credit Card
Here are some other points to consider about flying with points on Southwest:
- You can change or cancel your award flight at any point with no penalty (unlike other airlines which charge hefty change fees)
- There are three different cards you can add to your wallet and you can earn the sign-on bonus on each card
- The sign-on bonus from the cards counts towards earning a Companion Pass, which can stretch your miles even farther!
I hope this post showed you how I am able to fly to my favorite vacation destination several times each year for practically free.
I have helped several readers through the process of opening a Southwest credit card to earn points and I am happy to answer any questions you might have! You can leave a comment on this post or contact me here.