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I wanted to share a story from 1TP reader Tosha, who was able to masterfully piece together a trip to Puerto Rico and Florida for cheap…
I live in the DMV area and BWI is my primary airport. I was very inspired by your family trip to Hawaii where you used the Southwest Companion Pass for the inter-island flight and to get your family from Hawaii to Atlanta a few months ago.
So, I applied when the welcome bonuses were increased to 75,000 on each card and it was easier to make the 125k threshold for the CP.
Surprisingly, I won two tickets to Afro Nation in San Juan, Puerto Rico the first week of January 2020 through a contest, and then received my Companion Pass the second week of January 2020 so I began researching how to use points to travel to Afro Nation.
I won’t bog this story down with details but I had a very complicated itinerary as I wanted to travel to Puerto Rico and then attend a wedding in Florida just a few days later. I planned to fly:
1st flight: Baltimore (BWI) – San Juan (SJU)
2nd Flight: San Juan (SJU) – Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
3rd Flight: Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Baltimore (BWI)
Long story short, I was able to book non-stop flights to all my destinations with my SWA miles and was very happy. However, a few days ago, you posted about #1 reason you liked Southwest Airlines. I was intrigued because I was unaware that you could do this.
Ironically, SWA was having a sale that week and as you know, the redemption points of SWA award tickets are linked to the price of the ticket.
I logged into my account and noticed my flights were nearly 1/3 of the price. I was able to change my tickets but keep the same flights.
You’ll never believe me so I took screen shots (attached). Every single flight that I booked was on sale.
Baltimore (BWI) – San Juan (SJU) = $39 or 2290 SWA points
San Juan (SJU) – Fort Lauderdale (FLL) = $39 or 2290 SWA points
Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Baltimore (BWI) = $79 or 4644 SWA points
In total, I paid 9224 SWA points and $16.80 in taxes for all that flying. Do you know how much money your blog just saved me? Do you know how much the legacy carriers were charging? And even worse, I would have still had to connect in another city on every single legacy carrier. Ugh!
I selected my best friend as my companion so she is flying for free.
We’re also meeting some friends down there and they paid a grip to travel to this concert. I don’t know if we should tell them how much money we saved but if you notice a lot of new subscribers, it’s probably them. 🤫
2020 is starting off with a bang thanks to you Jamal. Thank you.
First, yes you should share this information with your friends and anyone that is into traveling. Forwarding the daily email, or posting this blog on social media takes less than 5 seconds. Friends help friends travel for better (and cheaper). We should all be saving money!
This story has a lot of great content and is one that I would file in the “amazing redemption” folder!
Tosha did, in fact, send attach the screenshots:
That is quite a trip for $16 total!
And yes, I trust the paid tickets on the legacy carriers (American, Delta, United) were more than ‘mind-blowing’ for this specific itinerary.
Unfortunately, Southwest raised the Companion Pass qualification threshold from 110,000 points to 125,000 points on January 1, 2020, but with increased welcome bonuses like 75,000 points on one card, it is fairly easy to accumulate the points.
I think the timing worked out well for Tosha as I noticed the Southwest credit card welcome bonuses are no longer at 75,000 points each but have returned to their normal levels of ~40,000-60,000 points making it a big more challenging to obtain the 125,000 threshold.
One amazing aspect of this story is, Tosha had (at minimum) 125,000 points in her account and has only redeemed ~10,000. Imagine how much more travel you can extract from the remaining 115,000 points!!
This is, yet, another great example of how the benefits of your credit card can take your experience to the next level.
If you’re in a position to get approved and meet the spending requirements, it’s not hard to earn a lot of points and redeem them for amazing value.
Additionally, there’s little downside to the points and miles hobby as long as you stay organized and manage your expenses and credit responsibly.
If you’re new to points and miles. Start by checking out our beginner’s guide and learning basic strategies to maximize your rewards. And if you have questions, don’t hesitate to comment on the blog or email me.
Have you had an experience where points have saved you a lot money?