The key to getting a free flight on any airline is to reach the proper travel threshold through the bonus points program.
For Southwest Airlines passengers must accumulate 16 Rapid Rewards points in order to cash those points in for a free flight.
Almost everyone knows that you can get Rapid Rewards points by flying on Southwest Airlines. In order to earn points you must be a member of the Rapid Rewards program. It is free to sign up. When you buy your tickets or check in for the flight you will automatically be awarded your Rapid Rewards points for the eligible flight.
One good way to earn even more Southwest points is to compare the price difference when traveling through a destination that requires a stop. For example, if you are traveling from Houston to Little Rock then you might have a stop in Dallas. Check for the flight from Houston to Dallas and then Dallas to Little Rock. If the price is comparable then you can earn twice as many points for your flight. Note: This only works if you don’t have any luggage to check-in.
What are other legitimate ways to earn points?
The fastest way to get to a free flight is to sign up for (and use) the Southwest Airlines credit card by Chase. With this card you will pay an annual fee, but in return for every $1,200 you spend you get 1 point. Thus for every 19,200 you spend on the card you get a free flight anywhere that Southwest flies.
Tip: If you get a card and your spouse gets a card you can each enjoy the hefty sign up bonus of 16 credits.
Rent a Car
If you rent a car from a qualified Southwest partner you’ll also earn Southwest points. Partner car rental agencies include:
When staying at a partner hotel you’ll also have the opportunity to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Partner hotels include:
Priority Clubs brand hotels
Every Day Purchases
If you are a member of the Rapid Rewards dining then you can earn points when you eat at eligible restaurants. On top of that if you purchase goods through teleflora then you’ll be able to earn points through those programs.
Remember, that when you use any of the above services you’ll need to provide your Southwest points information. Most programs typically only allow you to use one rewards program per stay. Thus, if you stay at a Starwood brand hotel you would need to decide if you want to earn the Starwood Starpoints or if you want to earn Rapid Rewards. Of course, the best way to decide which is best is by comparing the value of the points for each program. In general using Southwest for car rentals offers a very good rate of return.
You’ll need to earn your point and redeem them within two years because points do expire.