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credit card rewards

Rewards Points Travel

Free Flights with Southwest Airlines

July 21, 2016

The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is the best credit card reward we have earned so far.  We booked $4,110.67 in free flights during the first 10 weeks of having the pass.  Yep, for real.  As of last Thursday, we are booked for 10 round trip flights on Southwest Airlines.  You can do the exact same thing we did.  Below you’ll find 3 simple steps to get a ton of free flights with Southwest Airlines.

If you missed our previous post on the Southwest Companion Pass, I’ll give you some quick deets right now.  To earn the pass you need to earn 110k Southwest Rapid Rewards points in a single calendar year.  Once you do, you’ll receive the Companion Pass.  The pass lasts the rest of the year in which you earn it AND the entire next year.  Now the fun begins.  You can start booking your free flights with the 110k points you earned.  When you do, you can add your companion to each one of your booked tickets for free.  It’s pretty awesome.

Here’s how you can earn the 110k points to get your Companion Pass.  While there are a few different ways you can stack these points with Southwest’s partner programs, I feel like the following route is the easiest.

  1. Sign up for the Southwest Plus card, spend $2,000 before 90 days and earn the 50k bonus points. 50k offer for the Southwest Plus Card
  2. Sign up for the Southwest Premier card, again spend $2,000 before 90 days and earn another 50k bonus points. (suggestion: wait 30 days in between sign ups)Southwes Airlined 50k Premier Card
  3. With the points earned from spending $4k and the 100k bonus points, you’ll have 104k Rapid Rewards Points.  Your final 6k points can come from some strategic spending through the Southwest Shopping portal.  The portal will link you directly back to the online store you were going to shop at anyways, but you’ll earn 3 to 10 times the points per dollar spent when you link to it through Southwest’s portal.

The lovely people at Southwest Airlines are smart and realized that people are trying to time their sign ups to earn the Companion Pass in January.  That being said, they don’t usually offer the above mentioned cards at a 50k bonus point level around that time.  These cards are available now however and if you’re interested in getting a companion pass, make it easier on yourself and sign up while they’re easy to get.  Lacey and I didn’t need anywhere near 2 years to fully utilize this reward.  We only needed 10 weeks. …and honestly that was just time spent deciding where to go.  The actual booking of the flights took an hour.  Southwest now flies to the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica, and everywhere in the United States.  Deciding on where to go is maybe the toughest part of earning the Companion Pass.

With flights taken care of for the next year or so, there is suddenly way less pressure to keep signing up for multiple credit cards for free flights.  All you’ll need to focus on now are free hotels. 🙂

Let us know if you have any questions.  We can’t wait to tell you about our upcoming trips that were made possible with the Companion Pass!

Free Flights with Southwest Airlines

Pack your bags! You’re about to get a ton of free travel!


Venture Meridian

Time for a Free Summer Vacation

July 6, 2016

Summer is definitely a time for exploration-whether trying out a new hobby, sampling a new cuisine, or checking out a new part of town, the long days allow for more time to dedicate to exploring.

This summer, we were fortunate enough to experience several new cities, attend multiple sporting events and enjoy cuisine from other countries, all while saving several thousand dollars! Thanks to credit card points, we took a 15 day time-out from our regular day to day and visited New York, Florence, Rome, Malta, Comino, Gozo and Chicago.

Our trip started with two days in New York staying at the Waldorf Astoria (for free, but more on that later) on Park Avenue. We spent our weekend eating delicious pizza in Brooklyn, attending a Yankees vs Red Sox game, visiting Wall Street and staring in awe and remembrance at the Freedom Tower. (full NY post)

From New York we flew into Florence, Italy and enjoyed riding bikes and scooters with friends, eating delicious heart-shaped pizza (you will see there is a pizza theme coming), visiting mind-blowing museums, gazing at the city from the Plaza de Michelangelo and walking up to the top of the Duomo. (full Florence post)

We took the train from Florence to Rome where we – surprise! – ate more pizza and explored museums and churches. The main reason for visiting Rome was to attend our first ever international sporting event-the Italian Open! This was such an amazing experience-from the lucky blue skies after a day of pouring rain, to nail biting tie breaker to complete the semi-finals match between Djokovic and Nishikori. (full Rome post)

From Rome we hopped a quick flight to the islands of Malta to meet up with friends and explore what this small country south of Sicily had to offer. Malta was quite possibly the most naturally beautiful place we have seen in person. One of the islands that make up Malta, named Comino, was surrounded by water so blue and so clear that it didn’t look real; it appeared man-made, as if someone had placed a teal colored dye in the water. Unbelievable. In Malta we visited the capital city of Valletta, the Blue Lagoon on Comino, the Azure Window on Gozo, cliff jumped at the local watering hole just outside of Marsaxlokk, saw the oldest known megalithic temples in the world, and tried octopus in the silent city of Mdina. Oh yeah, we also ate delicious pizza. (full Malta post)

To break up the trip home, we stopped for two days in Chicago and were lucky enough to have gorgeous weather! In our short time in Chicago we were able to squeeze in Millennium Park and take photos by Cloud Gate, aka the “bean”, go to the top of Willis Tower and eat traditional Chicago style pizza at Gino’s East. (complete details coming soon!)

This trip would not have been possible for us if we had to pay full price for it out of pocket. In total, by using credit card rewards points, we saved over $10,000 on this trip. We booked our flights to and from Europe for free. We stayed at luxurious properties like the Waldorf Astoria, Palmer House, and Hilton Malta for free. By utilizing credit card reward offers from American Airlines and Hilton, we were fortunate enough to have the 15 day (international) experience of a lifetime. Most anyone can do exactly what we do to earn free travel and everyone should at least take a look at how it all works.

As always, please check out Venture Meridian Magazine and show them some love for supporting us by letting us have our monthly column!

Venture Meridian Magazine April 2016

Brooklyn Sign

piazzale michelangelo florence

roman colosseum Rome, Italy

Malta Valletta Goza Comino Blue Lagoon M'dina