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Finding a credit card or a rewards program that fits your needs can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. But every once in awhile, a sign-up bonus comes along that makes you feel like you're cheating the system.
Southwest is currently in the midst of one of those promotions for three of its credit cards: the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. The current bonus is as follows: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
We’ve looked at several routes to show just how far those bonus points could go. Hint: They can go a long way. (But be aware: Although these prices were accurate when we last checked, they can always change at the drop of a hat. Also, by the time you sign up for one of these cards, get the card, earn the bonus and get the points, you'll be looking at traveling a few months from now, at the soonest.)
New York to Orlando
Orlando, home to Disney World and Universal Studios, is also a city with tons of shopping, food and entertainment options on seemingly every street — and all in the Florida sun. New York-based travelers could score flights between LaGuardia Airport and Orlando for as few as around 4,600 points each way, or around 9,300 points round-trip, if you're flexible with your travel dates. With one credit card bonus, that could be enough to bring the whole family to see Mickey and friends. It works in the opposite direction as well.
» Learn more: The complete guide to Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program
Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles
Getting from coast to coast is time-consuming — but it shouldn’t break the bank. For Southwest fliers, a round-trip flight between the D.C. region and Los Angeles can be booked for as low as around 15,000 points round-trip via Southwest’s popular “Wanna Get Away” pricing. One sign-up bonus would be enough for a round-trip for four, potentially, if those prices hold.
Chicago to Honolulu
Need to escape the Midwest summer for somewhere more tropical? A true Hawaiian vacation isn’t out of reach with this sign-up offer. The trip from Chicago to Honolulu can be had for as low as 25,000 points, while a return flight will be at least 30,000. There aren't a ton of dates available at those prices, but again, flexibility can pay off.
Atlanta to the Bahamas
If you're based near Atlanta and you’re looking for a tropical vacation for comparably few points, a trip to Nassau in the Bahamas just might work. Flying there from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport could cost as few as around 7,500 points in each direction, but note that you'll pay over $100 in taxes and fees on the return. The return flight itself can cost as little as $234, so you may want to use points to fly there, but then pay your way back with cash and save your points for another trip.
Seattle to Austin
Austin is known for its great food and better music scene, and there are few places with more pleasant summertime weather than Seattle. A weekend trip between the two cities could be had for as low as about 20,000 points round-trip — or even less if you can go during the week.
» Learn more:
These travel routes are just a sampling of where you can go with these bonus Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Regardless of your city of origin or destination, if your schedule is flexible, take advantage of Southwest’s low fare calendar to find the cheapest flights available.
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: Southwest Rapid Rewards: The complete guide NerdWallet’s top travel credit cards This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards