Calling all Instagram influencers: If you’ve got at least 2,500 followers and a travel story to tell, you’re eligible to enter Southwest’s Next Great Storyteller Search. Contestants will compete for a grand prize of 24 free one-way flights on Southwest, which the airline values at roughly $4,800 and can be used toward trips to Hawaii, once service starts. Other prizes include a $500 Southwest gift card and 10,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
Similar to Royal Caribbean’s Apprentice-Ship contest, the search for a storyteller is taking place almost entirely on Instagram. To enter, post your best travel-inspired photos on Instagram and tag the @southwestair handle, along with the #SouthwestStorytellers and #Contest hashtags.
It’s not just about the visual appeal, either. A “clever and engaging caption that tells a travel story” is 35% of the score, according to Southwest. The contest closes Feb. 24, 2019.
» Learn more: 8 pro tips for smart and cheap family travel
Once you enter, the posts will be whittled down to the top 100. Then the semifinalists will be invited to answer a survey and submit a portfolio. Southwest enthusiasts will have a leg up in this portion of the judging because Rapid Rewards members and Southwest credit card holders will score higher on the brand affinity section of the judging, which accounts for a third of the judging criteria. Winners will be announced on April 15, 2019.
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
Southwest held the inaugural version of this contest last year. The 11 winners included a former professional football player, a radio personality and a barefoot water skier. The chosen influencers also got a chance to visit Southwest’s headquarters in Dallas as part of the program.
If you don’t have the Instagram following to enter Southwest’s Storyteller Search, there are still other opportunities for free travel through major companies. Airbnb is accepting applications for its all-expenses-paid, three-month Italian Sabbatical through Feb. 17, 2019.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card