Get the Holy Grail of Travel Perks

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Posted by The Savvy Retiree on January 21, 2018 in Travel Smarts

Tom Kerr writing on travel perks…

We’re always on the lookout for richer ways to live that don’t cost an arm and a leg. So, here’s a great way to enjoy free travel. Act fast and you can qualify for a special benefit that many consider the Holy Grail of airline perks…the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.

With a Companion Pass, you can bring along your favorite travel companion on every Southwest Airlines flight you take. All you pay for their airfare is the taxes and fees, which can be less than six bucks for a one-way trip. There are no blackout dates, no change fees, and luggage flies for free.

Not only will that double your fun factor by letting you share the journeys and experiences with a friend, but it could potentially save both of you thousands of dollars.

Usually, to earn Companion Pass status, you must accumulate a whopping 110,000 airline rewards points. Most folks get there the hard way, by purchasing about 100 airline tickets.

But instead of waiting, you can use Southwest Airlines credit card bonuses in a savvy way…and snag your points in 90 days or less.

And you can also get nearly two full years of Companion Pass status.

That’s because you’ll be able to bring another passenger along for free for the rest of the year in which you earned that status…plus the entire next calendar year.

You earn a Companion Pass as soon as you reach the 110,000 mark…and points are usually credited to your account right away. Schedule it so you qualify near the start of calendar year 2018, and you’ll have the rest of that year, plus all of 2019, to enjoy your travel perks.

Imagine how many free tickets you can take advantage of within that timeframe…and how delighted your travel companion will be.

Here’s how to work it to your advantage, while saving lots of time and money.

There are three credit cards, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card, and the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business credit card. The first two each offer a sign-up incentive worth 40,000 points, and the business card offers new card members a 60,000 point bonus.

So you can earn a total of 140,000 points just by signing up for these three cards and spending enough on them during the first three months to qualify for your reward bonuses. Once you’ve reached those spending limits, the rewards are posted to your account…so you could quality for a Companion Pass within one month’s time.

To do that with the Rapid Rewards card, just spend a minimum of $1,000 on qualified purchases during the first three months and pay the $69 annual fee. With Rapid Rewards Premier, spend at least $1,000 during the first three months and pay a $99 annual fee. With the Rapid Rewards Premier Business credit card you’ll need to pay a $99 annual membership fee and spend at least $3,000 during the first three months you have the card.

Get the credit cards now and use them to process your holiday shopping, travel, and all your business expenses.

Then pay the balances off at the end of the month so you don’t incur any interest charges.

As soon as you meet the spending limits and pay those charges off, your bonus rewards are posted. Then you’ll get your Companion Pass and be ready to fly. When it expires at the end of 2019 you can start accumulating points toward your next Companion Pass.

Or just cancel your credit cards and go on your merry way.

Don’t be fooled by the Southwest Airlines name, either. The popular airline outgrew the southwestern United States decades ago.

Today they offer about 100 convenient routes to virtually every region of the continental United States. You can also fly Southwest Airlines to exotic destinations including Mexico, Belize, the Bahamas, and Grand Cayman Island.

Happy travels…

P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in The Savvy Retiree Daily. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.

Image: ©iStock.com/izusek

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