If you read our article last week on the Secret to Savings on Southwest then you already know how to use to map search to find great points redemptions values on cities that Southwest flies to.
But what if you are a bit more specific. You have a friend that you want to visit in Los Angeles and you want to spend the lowest possible points for the flight. Or maybe you are comparing the points costs of using British Airways Avios to American AAdvantage miles to Southwest points to decide which to use. By being diligent about flying when you have the best deal, you can turn the 40,000 sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred into many more trips!
How to find the cheapest points rates on Southwest for a given set of cities.
On the next screen, change the “Show Fares” button to points and enter your From: and To: cities. For this example, I’m going to use a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles.You can then hit search and a calendar view comes up with the cheapest daily point rates for that route.Southwest fares are often much more expensive last minute so what I like to do it flip through a few months by clicking on the “Apr”, “May”, and “Jun” buttons to see if cheaper rates are available. Since I don’t care so much about when I go but instead want a cheap rate, let’s see what else we can find.
Lo and behold, there are cheaper flights in April! In fact, there is a great long weekend available from April 17 to April 21. But we have to go to the next screen to see which exact flights on those days have the low rates.Select the flights that work best for you that have the lowest point cost then click continue. Make sure to compare the point costs with the travel time to make sure there isn’t a quicker flight for the same amount of points. On the next screen you will see a confirmation of the total cost in both points and taxes / fees.
16,200 points is a lot less than the 25K that United, American, or British Airways would charge on this route. (And you could take the 9K in savings to fly to BPM in Mexico!) If you are ready to book, then choose Checkout. Don’t forget that you probably should book any Southwest trips as two one way flights. This allows you to rebook either flight if it goes on sale without losing the rate you have on those other one. Since Southwest has no change fees up until 15 minutes before your flight leaves this strategy allows you to benefit if prices drop.
So that is it! Between this article and the previous article on SouthWest Savings you should be able to easily find the best way to use your Southwest points.
What if I don’t have any Southwest Rapids Rewards Points?
Southwest is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards which means you can use transfer points from your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus cards. They also have their own Chase Rapids Rewards Visa that has a current sign up offer of 25K but often offers 50K so be on the lookout.
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