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How many awesome trips can you and a companion squeeze in before Dec. 31, 2019? That’s the challenge for travelers taking advantage of one of three new credit card welcome offers from Southwest Airlines.
Get approved for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card before Feb. 11, 2019, charge the $4,000 minimum within the first three months, and you’ll get a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Rapid Rewards points, plus a promotional Companion Pass that will let one person fly free every time you fly.
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
There’s no limit on the number of trips you and your guest can take. Even when you buy your ticket with points instead of cash, your companion comes along for free, not counting the small booking fee, sometimes as low as $5.60, you’ll both pay. But you still need to ask yourself if this Southwest Companion Pass sign-up bonus is right for you. Here’s how to figure it out.
So where can the two of you fly for practically nothing? Here are some Southwest destinations to visit before the end of the year.
Baltimore to Orlando in March
Anytime kids are out of school is usually a bad time to fly to Orlando, home base for Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and tons of other kid-friendly attractions. But if you have your 30,000 Southwest bonus points plus your Companion Pass socked away, you and a pal can get there in the heart of spring break.
Book one traveler outbound from Baltimore for as low as 6,500 Southwest points outbound and about 7,000 points on the return. Your companion flies free. Not into cartoon characters and thrill rides? Pull up to a pool at any of the many resorts here to enjoy sunny days reaching 80 degrees.
Atlanta to Cancun in May
Forget the spring break stories: Cancun has something to offer every traveler. Along with white-sand beaches, crystal blue waters and world-famous margaritas, Cancun is your launchpad for exploring ancient Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza and diving into the waters of eerily beautiful underground sinkholes called cenotes.
May flights from Atlanta start at just 8,580 Southwest points each way, meaning that with the 30,000-point bonus, the promotional companion pass and the 4,000 points you’ll earn on your $4,000 minimum spend, you and a companion can fly there nearly free — twice.
Chicago to New Orleans in June
Dixieland jazz, world-famous cuisine and a laid-back culture found nowhere else in the world — New Orleans belongs on every traveler’s wish list.
Chicago-based flyers looking to book in June will find fares starting around 12,000 points each way.
Denver to Aruba in August
The ABC islands — Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao — lie outside the part of the Caribbean prone to hurricanes, making this sunny region an excellent late-summer getaway.
» Learn More: Southwest Rapid Rewards Program: The Complete Guide
The current Southwest credit card offer isn’t quite enough to get you there from Denver. Expect to need about 45,000 points round trip. But, as always, you have a lot of options to get you those extra points, including credit card spending, purchasing points or adding the bonus points to a stash you’ve already earned.
Oakland to Las Vegas for Labor Day
If you and your companion are looking for one last summer hoorah, Vegas is the place. Here you’ll find your perfect water wonderland, regardless of whether you like the serene pool scene at the Bellagio or the parties at the Hard Rock.
Southwest’s search engine won’t let you check fares that far in the future, but if they’re comparable to redemption rates in late July, expect flights from Oakland to start just under 4,000 Rapid Rewards points each way.
West Coast to Hawaii … soon?
Though Southwest hasn’t announced when Hawaii flights will begin, the airline has confirmed it will launch nonstop routes to the four major Hawaiian islands — Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai — from four California cities: Oakland, San Diego, Sacramento and San Jose.
No news on how many points it will cost to grab a seat on one of these flights, but chances are this promotion will get you pretty close — hopefully before your promotional Companion Pass expires at the end of 2019.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Benefits of Southwest Airlines Credit Cards Which Southwest Airlines credit card should I get? Southwest could begin Hawaii service sooner than expected