Time goes by fast when you are having fun. It seems to go by faster when you are having fun travel hacking. This is my fourth post on travel hacking in 2018.
In Travel Hacking: Round Three, I wrote about the American Express Business Gold Card. This post is a little bit different. In round four, I am going to cover two cards. As you will see, there is a special reason for that.
The two cards that I recently hacked are two of the Chase Southwest Airlines cards. The first card I opened was the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card. The second card was the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.
The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card has a generous sign-on bonus. This card allows cardholders to earn 60,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Some other benefits include 6,000 points every year on the card member’s anniversary. There is a $99 annual fee that will appear on the first billing statement. Cardholders will earn 2 points for every $1 in spend on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. Other purchases will allow cardholders to earn 1 point for every $1 in spending. Please keep in mind that this card cannot be opened if the applicant has exceeded the Chase 5/24 Rule.
The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card also has a great sign on bonus. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit card has a sign on bonus of 40,000 points based on spending $1,000 in the first three months. This card has a $69 annual fee that is applied to the first billing statement. Additional points are accrued in the same way as the Premier Business Credit Card. Cardholders who keep this card open for one year will receive 3,000 points on their one year anniversary.
The reason that I opened these two cards together was to earn the sought-after Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is obtained when a cardholder reaches 110,000 in Rapid Rewards points. Since I earned 100,000 in sign on bonus points, the other 10,000 had to be earned by way of additional spending.
Many travel reward experts refer to the Southwest Companion Pass as the Holy Grail of Travel Hacking. This top-level status is the highest tier that a Southwest Rapid Rewards loyalty program member can achieve. The required spend to reach this status is a challenge for some cardholders.
What makes the Companion Pass so awesome? The Companion Pass allows cardholders to book an additional ticket for free when they book a flight. The only additional costs that are due are taxes and fees.
There are no limits on the number of flights that a cardholder can use the Companion Pass for. The Companion Pass is valid for the year that it is earned as well as the following year. The cardholder can use accrued points to book their flight or pay for their flight.
For me, I travel with my wife. The Companion Pass is an ideal program for both of us. We will be using both our points and companion pass in 2019.
In 2019, I have ambitious goals for my travel hacking. My wife and I normally only take one or two vacations per year. My plan is to get at least three flights out of my 110,000 points and Companion Pass. That should not be an issue based on the total amount of points that I have.
Our last two big vacations were to Europe. Next year, I want to stay in the USA and take a trip out to the West Coast. We were talking about going to California but decided on taking a trip to Seattle, Washington. We love California, but both of us have been there a few times. We have never been to Seattle and my wife just binged Gray’s Anatomy, so Seattle it is. While in Seattle, we are planning on taking a trip to Mount Rainier as well as visiting Victoria, British Columbia.
The second tip that we are going to take in 2019 will be to South Bend, Indiana in the fall. Why South Bend, Indiana? The same reason why most people go to South Bend, Indiana in the fall, to watch a Notre Dame Football game. I have not decided on what game, but it will most likely be one of their first home games. Southwest Airlines does not fly into South Bend, Indiana. We are planning on Flying out of Philadelphia and flying into Chicago, Illinois. South Bend from Chicago is less than a two-hour drive. We will fly in on Friday and fly home on Sunday morning.
The third trip that I am planning on taking advantage of the Companion Pass is for is to visit Key West for some tarpon fishing. The only difference is that my wife will not be attending. A nice feature of the Companion Pass is that it is not limited to one person. It can be changed up to three times per year. My friend Tim is going to be accompanying me on this adventure. We will be flying out of Newark to Miami and will drive to Key West. Tim was the guy who set-up my blog, so bringing him with me is my thank you gift to him.
Next year is shaping up to be a fun year for traveling. While traveling is fun, it is even more exciting when you are travel hacking and traveling for free. If you have a high credit score and are responsible for paying off your balance every month, travel hacking is a great way to travel for free.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my fourth round of travel hacking. If you want to learn more about travel hacking, keep an eye out for Travel Hacking: Round Five. It will be published in the next few months.
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