As you all know, we love to travel and I play the credit card game and I try to always use the best travel tools and best travel apps out there.. In the past year we went to Brazil on a single credit card sign-up, flew two people to Denver for $150, and have several hundred thousand points in the bank.
Most recently I wrote about the Southwest Companion pass. It’s universally considered the single best travel perk for those of us in the United States and it only becomes more valuable as SouthWest continues to expand its coverage to South America.
I just wanted to give quick update on how well that pass has worked out for us.
We had 115,000 points (roughly) upon receiving the pass. Since then we’ve been on or booked a number of trips. Southwest had a pretty great sale covering most of the summer and fall and we booked early.
We headed home for a 4 day weekend for a family wedding. I love to see family and friends, but for whatever reason it’s not cheap to get to and from LR to Houston (there’s also no direct flight, awful). They’re also weirdly expensive compared to most cities at that distance.
Again, an exciting trip to see good friends (and of course a place to crash) in September. We used to visit St. Louis as a kid, but it’s been a long time. I’m looking forward to a Cardinals game, some brewery tours, and great food and friendship.
We’re going to visit friends in D.C. (so a free place to stay) in late August. I’ve never been so I’m pretty excited to see the monuments, the history, and everything else D.C. has to offer.
This is our only “real” vacation of the year and we’re catching it late (November). Everything above is 3-4 day weekend. Belize, one of the new Southwest destinations, is a 7 day vacation. We’ll be laying on the beach, enjoying drinks, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and exploring. Can’t wait.
I know this seems overly similar to the trip above, but this will be quite different. We plan on doing a B&B and exploring in Belize. Cancun will be for a destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort for some of our closest friends in Houston. Time to get that tan on in December, right before Christmas.
I know I’m really hammering on the Central and South American destinations, but we’re trying to take as much advantage of this Companion Pass as possible in 2015-2016. SouthWest ran a huge sale on it’s new destinations literally this week (7/28). I jumped on the train and managed to book 2 flights for a grandtotal of 12,000 points. Were I to pay cash for that little trip, it would be about $1,200 out of pocket.
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We’ve got a busy fall ahead of us. I’m really excited about a lot of these trips, in addition to driving to Dallas and New Orleans for Arkansas football games in the fall.
The Southwest Companion Pass is the definition of a BIG WIN, which we talk about a lot here. Were it not for that pass, at least 2 of these trips wouldn’t be possible. We would be spending at least $4,000 (and probably closer to $5,000) just in flights, plus stays in Belize/Cancun, which would be way out of travel budget for the year considering we already took a trip to Denver.
Instead we’re getting essentially 2 freebies, since our flights and places to stay are covered in St. Louis and D.C and a very affordable vacation in Belize. The only luxury expense will be our Cancun trip since it’s all inclusive.
I know some in the frugal community hate credit cards, but if you pay them off this can’t be beat. It’s almost free money and can only be used for experiences. For all these flights, all I did was sign up for 2 cards, and spend money that was getting spent either way. Plus I still have 55,000 points (a few signs! That’s another 10 flights if I book on sales and Caitlin goes on all of them. I couldn’t be happier with how this one has turned out.
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