Great Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Deal Through AMEX Membership Rewards

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

Here is a crazy brilliant scheme I came across this morning in the Fatwallet Finance forum. In a thread discussing the best use of AMEX Membership Rewards points, user jairocon posted the following way to use AMEX points for Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credits. Keep in mind that you need 16 Rapid Rewards credits to get a free flight on Southwest.

There is currently a nice transfer for AMEX->southwest:

If you go directly 1.5k AMEX MR = 1 Southwest RR credit
Free Southwest flight = 16 RR credits so you need 24k AMEX MR for 1 free Southwest flight

However, if you have a few weeks time and don’t mind a phone call or two that you’d need to make – there’s a better way:

5k AMEX MR -> 5k Continental OnePass
5k Continental OnePass -> 5k Amtrak GuestRewards (5k is the transfer interval CO allows)
5k Amtrak GuestRewards -> 25k Choice (hotels) Points
25k Choice Points -> 10 Southwest RR credits

If we used 25k AMEX MR – you’d get 50 Southwest RR credits! That’s 3 free flight tickets!

– You can only transfer out 25k Amtrak Guest Rewards/calendar year
– Transfers might take a while
– Transfer ratios might devalue over time

You can make it even better by transferring 25,000 AMEX points prior to year-end, and then again after January 1. Why? Because another cool feature of the Southwest Rapid Rewards program is that if you earn 100 Rapid Rewards credits over any 12-month period, you are given a companion pass that is good for a year. The companion pass allows you to name a specific individual who is allowed to fly with you on any Southwest flight for a year, even if your ticket is an award ticket. So essentially you get 6 free flights plus the companion pass that can become the same as 6 more free flights.

With two little ones on the way, we probably won’t be traveling much in the coming year, but hopefully someone else out there can use this.


October 26, 2007 - Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I wanted to point something out… I have been researching this, and from what I see there is a change in your formula above. From what i read, 5,000 Amtrak Points = 15,000 Choice Hotel Points, not the 25,000 that you show. This still is a good deal, just not as good as i can see.

    Comment by Dan | January 15, 2009

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