How Southwest Paid Me $22 To Fly To San Juan Puerto Rico

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I recently wrote about the Southwest Airlines promotions that are stackable.  To put this to the test, I booked a Business Select ticket from Los Angeles to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  With this ticket, I would also meet my re-qualification for Companion Pass and A-List Preferred status for 2014.

 

What Are The Promotions?

There are two promotions that I stacked to make this work.  The first is a Double Nationwide Points promotion, where you earn a 100% bonus on points for any ticket you buy.  The second is a Triple Points to San Juan Puerto Rico promotion, where you get a 200% bonus on points for any ticket you buy.  The final piece is the 100% bonus I receive for having A-List Preferred status.

 

How Did This Work?

Before I made my reservation, I called the Southwest Rapid Rewards Customer Service line at 214-932-0333 to verify that I could stack these promotions and there were not any exclusions on the ticket I was contemplating.

After receiving assurances that I could stack the promotions (and writing down the person’s name and extension in case something went awry), I bought a Business Select ticket for $1,476.40 from LAX to San Juan, that stopped in Houston and changed planes in Orlando.  The Business Select tickets provide 12 times your ticket price in points (excluding taxes), so this ticket would earn 17,380 base points.

With the base fare, my status and promotions, I would earn the following points:

  • Base fare – 17,380
  • A-List bonus – 17,380
  • Nationwide Double – 17,380
  • San Juan Triple – 34,760

 

Combined, this is 86,900 points.  As the cherry on top, I used my Chase Southwest Visa to earn double points on the fare, which resulted in an additional 2,956 points, bringing the total haul to 89,856 points.

Southwest Wanna Get Away fares are currently valued at 60 points per $1, so this means that I could trade these points in for $1,498 worth of Wanna Get Away tickets.  Compare that with the $1,476 I paid for my ticket, and I earned $22 for this trip!!!  (see chart below)

Beyond that, I earned 20,336 Companion Pass points and 17,380 Tier Qualifying Points, which brought me over the threshold to re-qualify for 2014.

 

What If I Flew A Wanna Get Away or Anytime Fare to San Juan?

Not everyone can front $1,500 to buy a ticket, so let’s look at the other options.  Because of the 12 times multiplier for Business Select tickets, it provides the best value when there are stackable promotions like this.  The Anytime fares provide 10 times points and Wanna Get Away provide 6 times points.

It’s counter-intuitive, but by paying less for your ticket, you are actually paying more to fly because of these promotions.

Your net cost is $214 if you did a $1,422 Anytime ticket and $190 if you did a $376 Wanna Get Away ticket.

Southwest points earned

 

Did I Actually Earn Almost 90,000 Points For This Trip?

With anything, potential is nice, but until the points are actually in your account, it’s not real.  So, I logged into my Southwest Rapid Rewards account and found that not all of the points actually posted.  This had to do with some problems with the plane in Houston (I’ll cover what happened in my upcoming trip report), which led to the Gate Agent rebooking a portion of my flight as Anytime.  A quick call to Southwest Airlines Customer Service and the problem was instantly fixed!  Boom… almost 90,000 points!!!

San Juan Southwest points

9,103 + 34,348 + 43,451 = 86,902!  And the remaining 2,956 will post when my next Chase Southwest Visa statement closes.

Voila, almost 90,000 points… and $22 in profit for taking a little vacation.

 

Conclusion

If you pay attention, there are many promotions where you can earn tremendous value.  In some cases, the airlines are almost paying you to go on vacation!  Many times, the math works best if you have a certain level of status with the airlines.  This is the situation with this promotion… I saw that there was an opportunity to stack promotions, my elite status and credit card provided extra value, and I went the counter-intuitive track by buying the most expensive ticket so that I could earn the most base points possible.  Beyond earning the points and getting paid to travel, San Juan was actually really remarkable and a place I’m looking forward to revisiting with my wife and son.

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