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Redeeming Rapid Rewards for family and friends

Actually, this particular redemption qualifies as both, since I’m friends with  my in-laws. One of my readers had requested that I cover Southwest and it’s frequent flyer program. I consider Rapid Rewards points to be some of the most valuable currency in this hobby, specifically for a family of 4 or 5.

While other programs put restrictions on award availability, with Southwest you are guaranteed to be able to use your points. That is a huge plus. And sometimes you can even get an exceptional deal in the process.

That’s exactly what happened in this case. A while back, I have helped my in-laws book their airfare from Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus  using Avios currency. Read my post HERE  As I have mentioned many times before, that particular route provides a “sweet” spot in the British Airways program. You can get a roundtrip economy ticket for only 25000 miles plus tax.

The problem is my in-laws live in Florida, so we had to get them to Boston first. I have offered  my Rapid Rewards points for that purpose, but we had to wait till the schedule opened up through June.  Unfortunately, Southwest does not fly non-stop from Tampa to Boston, so we had to settle for connecting flights. To my delight, the cost was only 79 dollars each way or 4100 points per person!

It is a bit odd because Southwest flights with connections usually cost more, but not this time. That’s why it’s tough to pinpoint the best value routes. I also priced a ticket from Tampa to Philadelphia in May, and even though it’s non-stop, strangely the cost  was 9500 points each way, more than the other flights and much more than the flight to Boston! Look below.

Award travel is subject to payment of the government-imposed September 11th Security Fee, up to $5 one-way, $10 roundtrip.
Depart Arrive Flight # Routing Travel Time
47,280 Pts

37,200 Pts
Wanna Get Away

from 7,620 Pts
6:30 AM 11:00 AM

Operated by AirTran
1 stopChange Planes ATL 4h 30m
9:15 AM 2:30 PM 1 stopChange Planes BNA 5h 15m
10:45 AM 1:15 PM Nonstop 2h 30m

Going back to  our Boston route, you can see that we got a value of almost 2 cents per point, a great deal. Unfortunately, after March 31st, you will only be able to get 1.4 cents and probably 1.6 cents, factoring in tax. Still a good deal, but not  spectacular.

I have compared the cost, and  tickets on other airlines were running at 235 dollars roundtrip, though some flights were non-stop. Still, let’s compare the two. For 3 tickets we are looking at 235 dollars  X  3, or 8200 Rapid Rewards(plus 10 $ tax)  X  3.  So we have 705 dollars vs. 24600 Rapid Rewards (plus 30 $).  Southwest rules! Of course, there is a danger of not making that connection, but that’s where the travel insurance comes in. Boy, do I hope they don’t have to use it!

As of right now, Chase Southwest Visa sign-up bonus is increased to 50000 points. Look in my “Best deals” page for more info.

The bonus from that offer could potentially pay for 6 roundtrip tickets from Florida to Boston, an exceptional deal. Check out some routes on Southwest and corresponding cost in points for yourself. You can also sign up for email updates, so you will always be aware of great deals popping up. The cheaper the price, the lower the cost in points. It’s that simple. And I love simple!

Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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  1. Pingback: Family travel challenge without Chase Sapphire Preferred card | Miles For Family

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