Sign up for IHG Rewards Club and Earn a Stay at ANY IHG Hotel

If you aren’t already an IHG Rewards Club member, I’ve got a deal for you.  And if you are already an IHG Rewards Club member, I still have a deal for you.  First we’ll talk to the newbies, though.

One of the steps we’ve outlined in our comprehensive post on A Five Finger Formula to a Frequent Flyer Fortune is to sign up for various hotel and airline programs so that you have logins and can begin accumulating points.  Often there are promotions and bonuses for enrolling and now just happens to be one of those times.

In all the years we’ve been promoting loyalty point abuse, the only hitch people ever seem to have is the worry about opening credit cards.  We get it.  Not everyone is able to resist the urge to spend money they don’t have. Not everyone is willing to keep diligent records of which cards they’ve applied for and ensure that they make all their payments on time and in full.

But here’s an opportunity that our readers can take advantage of without any credit application.

IHG Accelerate Promotion (For new members)IHG Hotels

Right now there’s a promotion that will allow new IHG Rewards Club members to earn a free night stay in ANY IHG hotel, simply by enrolling and then staying twice before the end of 2015. If you stay 4 times, you can earn 2 free nights in ANY IHG hotel.

At first blush this appears to be a mediocre promotion – kind of a “buy 2, get 1 free” deal.  That’s not inspiring.  If that’s all this deal were, we wouldn’t be sharing it with you.

Here’s the secret to making this absolutely worthwhile: Stay in cheap hotels to meet the terms, and then use your free nights in the most freaking expensive hotels you can find (devilish smile).

First off, I want to point out the difference between a “stay” and a “night.” The wording in this promotion is clear that they will credit you for “stays,” not nights.  This means that if you stay two consecutive nights, it still only counts for one stay.  In order to meet the terms, you’ll need to stay on two different occasions or four (for the 2 nights).

Now, knowing that, the best way to take advantage is to book 2 or 4 separate nights.  You could even do it in the same city for consecutive nights if that’s easier for you. Let’s just say, for example, that you’ll be going to some Boise State Football games this year (good for you!).  You could stay at the Candlewood Suites Hotel for ~$92/night.

Candlewood Suites

Do that a couple of times and then you could redeem your free night at the Willard Intercontinental in Washington DC.

Willard Intercontinental

Or spend a couple nights on different stays at the Candlewood Suites in Phoenix.

Candlewood Phoenix

And go ahead and use that free night at the Intercontinental in Amsterdam.

Intercontinental Amsterdam

There are lots of awesome places you could stay at some of the finest hotels in the world – London, Paris, New York City, or great resorts in places like Bora Bora, Tahiti, or the Caribbean. Just visit this link to see what amazing hotels you could stay in.

All you have to do is enroll in the IHG Rewards club and register for the Accelerate Promotion, then meet the requirements to take advantage of this promotion.

Could you do this for your spouse, too? Yes… you’re starting to capture the vision now.

IHG Accelerate Promotion (For existing members)

Now, if you’re already an IHG Rewards Club member, you’ll want to login to your account to see what requirements they want you to meet in order to secure up to 50k more points. Here’s the summary of what I’ve been offered.

IHG Accelerate

Your terms might be different, but check them out and see.

Where to stay efficiently with IHG Points

The prospect of 50k points starts to sound pretty good when you look at the Point Breaks hotels that you can stay at for 5k points/night. These are just some of the hotels in the US and they have them all over the world.

IHG Point Breaks

The IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card

Now, let’s just imagine for a moment that you’re ravaging the first promotion, and licking your chops for some points to use on those Point Break hotels.  One way you could pile on 60k of them would be to sign up for the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card from Chase and then spend $1000 within the first 3 months.

It gets even better when you realize that the annual fee is waived on this card for the first year and that for every year you hold the card, you pay a tiny little $49 annual fee in exchange for one free night in ANY IHG hotel.  Yes, you know where I’m going again.  Just use that free night at an uber-expensive hotel and you’ll always get the best of them.

What’s in it for us?

At one point we used to recieve a commission for card applications that were processed through links on our site.  Sadly, those days are long gone.  These days our only motivation to continue to provide awesome ideas like this one is to see you, our faithful followers, abuse the hell out of reap the benefits of promotions like these.

Cheers to more almost free travel for all of us.

Posted in Chase, Hotels, IHG Rewards | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Have your choice of two excellent hotel point offers – Marriott or Hilton

The increased bonus on the Delta card that Sheldon wrote about had many of you jumping on board to pick up some Skymiles – enough, in fact, for you and your spouse to take an almost-free domestic trip.  The only hurdle now will be for you to find an almost-free place to stay.

Fortunately for you, there are two limited time offers out there that are worth taking a close look at.  I have raved about the Chase IHG Rewards Club Visa as being the new king of the hill when it comes to hotel cards.  I still love that offer, but here are two more that you should put into consideration.

80,000 point bonus on the Marriott Premier Rewards Card

Minimum spending: $3000 in the first 3 months

Status: 15 credits towards elite membership

Annual fee: $85 annual fee, not waived the first year

 

Bonus: Free night in category 1-5 hotel each year you keep the card (more than worth the $85 annual fee)

This offer expires on August 31st.

Example use: One great way to use this is to also take advantage of Marriott’s “Redeem 4 nights, get 5th night free” perk. You could do this in a category 4 or 5 hotel which requires 15-20k points per night.

I always like to use www.AwardMapper.com to find hotels in specific point categories.  As you can see, there’s no shortage of Category 4 and 5 Marriott Hotels in the United States.

20k point/night Marriott Hotels

20k point/night Marriott Hotels

Now, we could find all kinds of amazing places to stay, but just for the sake of throwing it out there, you could stay 5 nights at the Residence Inn in Murfeesboro, Tennesee, just a few miles from downtown Nashville.  Not only is the Residence Inn extremely comfortable, it also has one of the best free breakfast spreads around.

Link to the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit CardMarriott

75,000 point bonus on the Citi Hilton HHonors American Express

Minimum spending: $2000 in the first 3 months

Annual fee: No annual fee

Status: Silver status as long as you have the card

Limited time offer – period uncertain.

Example use: There are so many hotels in the Hilton family – Hampton Inn, Double Tree, Embassy Suites, and more.  For whatever reason, I like the idea of using these 75k points on fewer nights in a really nice hotel, so as an example, we’ll look for a place we could stay at for 25k/night for 3 nights.

Again, as you can see, there are plenty of them all over the United States.  Check out AwardMapper.com to see what’s available in your dream destination.

Hilton Hotels for 20-25k points/night

Hilton Hotels for 20-25k points/night

I instantly honed in on San Diego and discovered the Doubletree Golf Hotel and Resort by Hilton.  The property looks amazing and 3 nights there would be rejuvenating.

Link to the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature CardHilton

Posted in Citi, Hilton, Hotels, Marriott Rewards | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hurry and Get 50k Delta Miles With Limited Time Offer

I’ve been in this hobby, passion, addiction for the last five years.  Offers for 50k Delta miles come and go, but if you’re in the market for Delta Skymiles, now is a great time to pick up this card.

Link: Delta Amex Gold Personal/Business 50k Offer (expires 6/30/15)

50k Delta Miles Short Term Offer

On a rare occasion you’ll see American Express counter and offer a bonus like this.  They’re responding to the 50k offer that Chase and United ran last month.  For the most part unless you’re targeted the generally published offer is for 30k Delta miles.

Delta has been known as the company that doesn’t have SkyMiles as much as they have SkyPesos.  This is a joke amongst travelers who have tried to use their miles, yet had a hard time finding availability in using the miles.

What Are the Terms of the Offer?

Annual Fee: $95 annual fee is waived for the first year

Foreign Transaction Fees: Waived

Baggage Fees: Waives the baggage fee (1st bag only) for yourself as well as up to 8 people traveling on the same booked itinerary.

Delta Bonus: You’ve got to spend $2000 in the first 3 months of card membership before they drop 50k Delta miles in your account.

Statement Credit: Also, the $50 statement credit is only applicable in the following scenarios:

One statement credit for $50 will be issued to your Card account after a Delta purchase is charged to your Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Purchases to meet the spend requirement include those made by both the Basic and Additional Card Members on the Card Account. Purchase must be made directly through Delta. A purchase may not qualify for the statement credit if it is submitted under a merchant code that has not been categorized as a Delta merchant code as of the date of the purchase(s).

This has not been tested: I believe that you should be able to buy a gift certificate from Delta.com for $50, which keeps you from having to actually purchase a Delta flight within the first 3 months of card membership.

How Far Will 50k Delta Miles Get Me?

Recently Delta completely removed their award chart and left a simple statement that talks about how many miles it takes to book a trip within the USA:

Within and between the Continental U.S., Alaska and Canada, round-trip Award Tickets will continue to start at 25,000 miles (plus taxes and fees). One Way Award Tickets for 10,000 miles (plus fees and taxes) are now available to select destinations.

Their old chart used to look like this:

New Delta Award Chart

New Delta Award Chart After June 2014

The 50k Delta miles should get you two roundtrip tickets within the USA.  Living in Idaho makes Delta miles great because they actually fly out of Idaho Falls.  That is a luxury rarely enjoyed.

Can I Get This Bonus Twice?

Back in the day Amex was liberal in offering bonuses multiple times throughout a lifetime. Today they’ve tightened up this, which gives you an even better reason to pick up this card while they’re having this splendid offer.

Personal Card says this:

“If we identify you as currently having an American Express® Card account, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer. This offer is also not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”

Business Card says this:

“Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product within the last 12 months.”

It’s interesting to me that they’re willing to give the bonus to a business more than once, but a personal card you can only get it once in your lifetime.  I made a huge mistake a few years back and picked up this card when the bonus was a measly 30,000, and it didn’t come with a statement credit either, ouch!

Why We Love It

I love this hobby.  Traveling is part of my identity.  Using miles to offset expensive airline tickets is always awesome.  Pick up this card while the offer is up to 50k and score the extra 20k miles that will always benefit you!

What are your thoughts about this offer?  Do you plan on getting this card?

Posted in American Express, Delta | 2 Comments

Almost-Free Caribbean Dream Vacation

Our recent trip to Ireland was epic to say the least. We discovered exactly why its called the Emerald isle – an abundance of green foliage assaulted our senses, and we enjoyed every moment of it. I’ll run you down the stories and share the pictures later because right now I want to talk about the only thing our Ireland vacation lacked… sun.

I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. We did have a couple great days and the rain and clouds were tolerable and made for excellent pictures.  Yet, when I got home I had a message from a friend who, in seeing our Ireland pictures, finally grasped how freaking amazing it is – what we’re doing with credit card travel rewards. He loved the Ireland idea, but he and his wife have a different dream… a sunnier one.

They’d like to go to the Carribbean. They’d like to feel their toes in powdery white sand. They’d like to have some boat drinks. They want warm water and hot sun. I don’t blame them one bit.

His question was simple, “I have been trying to take my wife on her dream vacation and  you might be able to help. We have been dying to go to the US Virgin Islands, mainly st thomas or st john. Do you know of any cards or anything that we could sign up for that would give us a bunch of airplane miles or something that would help us negate the cost of just even getting us down there for a week?”

caribbeanHe asked the right guy. Another friend had posted this pic of white sand and crystal blue water and I was already Caribbean dreaming.  Here’s what I cooked up:

How to plan an almost-free Caribbean Dream Vacation

Walking to the Caribbean isn’t really an option. It’s really far from wherever you are and would also require you to walk on water. Not gonna happen. Driving may also be problematic because of that whole ocean thing.  You could take a boat but they’re slow and bumpy… unless you cruise, which is a great option but one that we’ve touched on in other posts.  In this case, you’re going to have to fly… and if you’re like me (and I hope you are), you’d much rather fly for very little money.

Each airline loyalty program has different award levels for different destinations. You can find all of them on our Using Airline Miles page, but I’ll just give you a shortcut and say this – one of the best value options is to use American Airlines (which has merged with US Airways) Mile SAAver off-peak award level to fly to the carribbean for 12,500 miles each way. That means you’d need 50k to take 2 people round-trip.

Now, don’t let “off-peak” scare you. I’m not going to send you to the Carribbean in the middle of a hurricane, but nor would I send you when it’s plagued by thousands of spring-breakers, families on vacation, or European nudists (unless you’re into that kind of thing). I’m going to urge you to travel in the “shoulder season.” That way you’ll possibly have a beach to yourself and It may require some flexibility and you may have to travel on a Tuesday instead of on a Sunday.

Looking at the calendar now, I start to find great availability about the time it starts to get cold around here. Hmm… how convenient? I think it would be better to go closer to November, but just for the sake of showing you, here’s an option for 25k miles and only $16 per person (that pesky little $16 is why we have to say “almost”-free).

St thomas

 

I don’t know how you can look at that and say that it’s anything but simple… now you just have to figure out how to get your hands on 50k AAdvantage points.

I know that you’ve trained your eyes to overlook advertisements – to ignore them and not click unless they have pictures of half-naked girls or shredded abs and offer to share one weird secret with you.  Yet, for just a moment, I want you to click this link and look at the offer with an open mind. Just give it a try. Once won’t hurt.

http://www.aa.com/pubcontent/en_US/disclaimers/BP-PLATHV.jsp

Before you get worried that I’m trying to sell you something, I have to tell you. We used to get paid commission on people who used our links to apply, but those days are over.  At this point, our blog is a hobby – a time-expensive hobby, but one that we love.

Anyways, you see that in order to meet the terms of the offer you have to spend $3000 in the first 3 months you have the card. Let me confront your worries. Just put every expense you have for the next three months on the card – your gas, groceries, utilities, entertainment, etc. Do you have $1000/mo in those charges? I’m sure you do. Pay the charges off immediately through your online login and don’t pay a penny in interest. Bam. 50k points.

You also see that the annual fee is waived the first year. Worried you’ll have to pay it indefinitely afterwards? Cancel it. We do it all the time.  If you need help, read Sheldon’s “Canceling a card is like breaking up with a girlfriend” post.

But if you’re thinking “but doesn’t it hurt my credit?” we have a page for that. You can check it out, but the short of is that it can – a little tiny bit – but that it can also have a positive effect on your credit and the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

Some of you are thinking, “Brad, we’re on board, bro, we don’t need more convincing about using our good credit to obtain frequent flyer miles and travel for free, we just need to know where and how we can stay for free.”

Where and How You Can Stay for Free

View from the cottage above Magen's Bay

View from the cottage above Magen’s Bay

I’m beginning to have a bit of a love affair with airbnb.com.  On our recent trip to Ireland, our favorite places we stayed were the cute little cottages dripping with character and culture.  We had the added benefits of having space all to our own, the comforts of a home, and some brilliant hosts.

When I searched airbnb for places in St Thomas, the very first one to pop up was this sweet cottage with sweeping views of Magen’s bay – a beautiful place where I’ve thoroughly enjoyed snorkeling and laying in the sun.

If the views weren’t enough, the place is frequented by parrots, has an outdoor shower, and a gorgeous deck with all kinds of jungle canopy. The topper? It’s only $85/night! 6 nights here would be $571 including a small fee. Now, if only there were a way to get reimbursed for booking here.

Well I’ll be damned if there’s not a perfect way to do just that.  Check out the Capital One Venture Card and its “purchase eraser” feature. The spending requirement is the same as the other card and it gives you 40k points which are enough to erase $400 in purchases. Spending the $3k on the card will give you another 6000 points, so you’ll be up to $460 in reimbursement and you’ll be $110 into 6 nights in the cottage… not too shabby.

On top of that, if you’ll email me at [email protected], I’ll send you a $25 credit to airbnb!

There you have it… spend some money on food, entertainment, and shopping and you’re into your Caribbean dream vacation for less than it might cost you to stay home.

Do you want me to plan a trip for you, too? Where do you want to go? Comment below and we’ll put together an itinerary for you.

Posted in American Airlines, Capital One, Caribbean, Cheap Honeymoons, Citi, Island Vacations | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Guess How Much My 10 Day European Adventure Cost…

This post is dedicated to all of the accountants out there.  I also dedicate it those who meticulously track their out-of-pocket expenses.  I was one of these dorks who manually kept track of all expenses for years with a basic spreadsheet before I discovered Mint.com. This website has really helped me when trying to manage 20+ credit cards, which would be a daunting task without its help.

European Adventure

Learn How to Save Money on your Next Trip

It’s been about a month ago that my wife and I returned from an amazing European adventure.  We spent 10 days away from work, kids, cell phone service, and most importantly my Mountain Dew (wink, wink).  Our trip was full of adventure, history, fights with my wife, and delicious food.  You’ll see me post more about the trip later to get the specifics, but first I figured you would like a detailed accounting of our trip along with its estimated costs.

10 Day European Vacation Cost Breakdown

  • Clothing: $101.07
10 Keukenhof (108)

I bought this sweater at H&M

On almost all trips we end up buying clothes.  This time we were both freezing as we had expected warmer weather.

This turned into a few trips to H&M to buy sweaters, scarves, hats, and a few other items.  My wife picked out a pair of really tight pants from Zara, which I struggled with initially, but after window watching for 20 minutes I realized that it would help me to fit in better.

  • Entertainment: $506.75

This is a broad category that included museums, Eiffel Tower, Medieval Castles, flower gardens, and more cool stuff.

  • Food: $608.17

We tried eating from grocery stores (I love spending time in grocery stores in foreign countries) as often as possible to keep these costs down.  Shopping like a local gives you healthier choices as you eat a more local fare this way.  On various occasions our lunch was comprised of meat, cheese, fruit, french bread (WOW), chocolate, and water.  It can take a serious hack from your budget when traveling if you can eat like this.

On a couple of occasions we spent over $50 on meals, and once we dang near spent $75 on a three-course meal in Paris.  It lasted two hours, and was a great way to relax and reminisce our last night in Paris.  We talked about life, kids, goals, and so much more.  It is nice to sit down to a meal every once in a while when you’re not forced to leave because the server kicks you out of your seat.

  • Hotels: $324.95
European Trip

Park Hyatt Vendome-This place would have cost $700 per night

Our most expensive hotel was $100.  That means we spent $224 on the other 9 nights of the trip.  We stayed in some of the most luxurious hotels I’ve ever seen and paid less than most people pay at Motel 6.

Most hotels didn’t include a continental breakfast, but we usually would grab a pan au chocolat on the run to our first stop of the day and grab a Nutella crepe before noon.  Did I mention we ate stuff with chocolate?

  • Souvenirs: $140.84

You’ve got to spend a few dollars in this category.  We aren’t huge souvenir people, but it is nice to have something special to sit on the shelf.  I prefer pictures and memories the most, but will occasionally spring for something sweet that sits on my shelf.

  • Travel Expenses: $803.15

Here includes train tickets, car rental, airfare, metro, parking fees, and tolls.

Grand Total: $2,484.93

But wait, it gets even better from here.  We’ve talked about the power of the Barclaycard Arrival in the past in a number of posts.  Check a couple of them out here:

I picked up this card about a year ago and had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to spend these points to basically erase some of the travel expenses.  The card comes with a bonus that will erase up to $400 in expenses.  Somehow over the year I was able to accrue enough points to offset an additional $210.19, which saved me a total of $610.19.

$2,484 (Total Expenses)

($610.19) Barclaycard Arrival Credits

$1,874.74 Net Cost for the European Adventure

Paris

You’ve got to love the Eiffel Tower

How Much Did I Really Save?

Honestly, it is hard to tell, but realistically I probably would have shelled out the following in addition to my measly $1800.

  • Arrival $610
  • Airfare $2000
  • Hotel    $1200
  • Total     $3810

Saving dang near 2/3 of the cost on a vacation is awesome!!  I’m here to tell you that you can enjoy the vacation WAY more when you know you’re not going broke.

The BEST part about this is you can replicate almost exactly what I did.  Oh, so you don’t dream of Parisian Nutella Crepes? Fine.  You can use these same principles to take you to the top of Machu Picchu. Oh, you hate mountain climbing?  No worries, spend a week on a warm beach somewhere with a Pina colada.

Wait for an upcoming post that details how I was able to swing deals like this, and how you can do the same.

 

Posted in Barclays, Family Travel, Fun Travel Stories, Mastercard | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Travel Back in Time 800 Years

You’re thinking that I’m crazy.  You may not believe me, but this story is legit.  No my name isn’t Marty McFly, and no I don’t have a DeLorean.  However, my name is Sheldon and I’ve got lots of Frequent Flyer Miles, and they are just as good as the trusty DeLorean that McFly used to time travel back 800 years.

A Genie?

If I found a lamp that produced a charismatic genie like Robin Williams that would allow for three wishes, I would definitely include the ability to travel back in time.  It would be amazing to sit as a fly on the wall during the Declaration of Independence on a sweltering hot summer day in Philadelphia to watch the Founders pound out that bold document.  I would also love to see the construction of the Great Pyramids of Giza, and so much more.

Would you love to travel back in time?

How to Time Travel Back 800 Years to the 13th century

In order to do this you won’t be loading up in  a 2-seater car that was made back in the 80’s.  But you will still need to pack your bags and get your airline ticket that will fly you to Paris.

Ideally you wouldn’t be paying for this airline ticket, and even more ideally you should be in first class.  If neither of these work for you, but you still want to travel back in time, spend the money on this ticket. Grab a car rental at the airport, turn on the GPS, and begin your journey toward Guedelon!

time travel map

A map to travel back in time.

Guedelon Time Travel

Here is your DeLorean: Guedelon.  Guedelon is an experiment.  It is a one of a kind like experience where skilled artisans are building a castle from the ground up with the tools and techniques from the 13th century.  Don’t believe me?  Fine.  Check it out for yourself.  They started the construction in 1996.  Yeah, like 19 years ago.  Some of you reading this post weren’t even born at that time.

Time Travel

Guedelon as of April 1st 2015

Use Time Travel to Meet a Real Blacksmith

Not amazed yet?  Ok. Give me a few more minutes to show you how cool this place really is. Check out the blacksmith and his billow.  He freaking made the billow with the leather from an animal, the wood came from the wood maker, the rope came from the rope maker, and his lever came from a tree.  They’re really using the tools and techniques from freaking 800 years ago.  Wow!

Watching him work in his shop was awesome.  He is working on the tools that his co-workers need to accomplish their duties.  Many of the other artisans have their own shops where they work daily.  They accept volunteers that are willing to work for free.  So if your desire is to work on a castle, now is your chance!

Some of these workers have been there since the beginning of the project in 1996.  They’ve basically dedicated their working career toward this monumental project that will stand the test of time.

Travel Back in Time and See a Portion of the Finished Product

The portion that is finished will blow your mind.

The Time Travel Crane

Had they have chosen to use modern machinery, this thing would have been built within a  year.  Their methods might not be the fastest, but they’re definitely intriguing.

This “crane” was one of the most amazing things I saw at the castle. This human/hamster wheel is attached to a pulley, which is then attached to a heavy stone.  As the human runs in the wheel it slowly lifts the stone and allows the masons to place the stone safely.

time travel crane

This “crane” was one of the most amazing things I saw at the castle. This human/hamster wheel is used to lift heavy limestone pieces that are used for the windows. The hamster wheel is attached to a pulley that is then hooked to the heavy item they’re trying to lift.

Time Travel is Real

Thanks to a few American Airline miles I was able to do real time travel.  Seeing people work in trades that have nearly vanished these days due to modern machinery has given me a greater appreciation for ancient wonders of the world.

Now as I explore ancient ruins in Tikal, Giza, or Angkor Wat I’ll have a better understanding of the methods they used to build those incredible edifices.  The clock is ticking for you if you want to travel back in time though.  Guedelon is estimating that it will be completed by 2025, which only gives you 10 more years before the DeLorean is decommissioned.  Plan your trip today and experience something that will change your life forever.

Posted in Fun Travel Stories, How to Wanderlust, Living History, Travel Itineraries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

50k Miles on Southwest: Get While the Getting is Good

“The only constant is change.” It can certainly be said of credit card travel rewards.  Over the past four years we’ve seen mergers like Continental and United, AirTran and Southwest, and US Airways and American. We’ve seen discontinuations and devaluations, but we’ve also seen big promotions and exciting new offerings.

One good rule of thumb is that you always get while the getting is good – it’s exactly why we went on a binge, telling everyone to take advantage of the US Airways card before it disappeared.  When offers are on the verge of discontinuation, it just makes sense to make it a priority to act on those before acting on others.

That’s exactly why right now we’ve got to tell you to pick up the Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Card while it’s still offering 50k Rapid Rewards points and before it’s no longer a Chase card.

How is it changing?

This story indicates that Southwest is considering replacing Chase as their partner in offering a travel rewards credit card.  While it’s a little early to say that it’s absolutely happening, even the fact that it’s being considered is reason to act sooner rather than later.

While I’m no expert, I believe that Southwest’s partnership with a travel rewards program is too lucrative to be discontinued or changed to a significant degree.  The best thing is that wherever it lands, there’ll be more opportunities to earn more points to travel even more almost-freely on SWA.

The Southwest Companion Pass

We’ve written before about the Southwest Companion Pass – a great perk which I’ve been enjoying for a year and a half now. It allows me to bring a companion along for free on any flight I book – whether I pay with points or cash.  It’s a huge benefit and probably the major reason why many people decide to allocate a majority of their spending to the Southwest cards.

In early March, I brought my son to Washington DC to spend some one-on-one time and tour the nation’s capitol.  I booked our flights for 23k points – into Dulles and out of Norfolk. We stayed 5 nights in free hotels and did a variation of the Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia tour that I blogged about a few months ago.

Here’s a sampling of our activities:

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Why Southwest is the Best Airline for Domestic Award Booking

Of all the domestic flight programs, I see Southwest as easily the best – so long as they service your hometown airport.  One key reason is that you can always ensure that you get maximum point-effciency by booking and re-booking flights when they are offered at a lower rate.

Whenever I book a SW flight with points, I check back in periodically to see if I can get the same flight or a better flight for a lower rate.  Because Southwest bookings are always change-fee-free, I can constantly be looking for the best value.  More than once I’ve shaved 3000+ points off a flight, and when you have more than one ticket booked, you’re talking about some serious point-saving.

The Offer as it Stands

Apply for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Card1 and get ready to get away. You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first 3 months your account is open. This bonus offer is available to you as long as you have not received a new cardmember bonus for this product in the past 24 months.

$99 annual fee will be applied to your first billing statement.

Other Posts About Southwest

Over the years we have written much about the SW Rapid Rewards program.  Most of it is still applicable today.  As with any topic you’re interested in researching on our blog, you can find all the posts on a specific topic through the categories dropdown in the right sidebar.

For ease, though, here are some of our best posts about the Southwest Rapid Rewards program:

How I just booked tickets for 4 to Orlando for $30
A Trip Every Month for Two Years with the Southwest Companion Pass
5 Ways to Maximize your Business Travel Rewards
LDS Church History Tour: Free Flights and Free Hotels
Southwest 50,000 Rapid Rewards Points: Your Ticket to a Multi-Destination Tour
 
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