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I received an email this morning from Southwest offering up to 12,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points with the purchase of Marriott gift cards between August 17 and October 31, 2011. If you have upcoming stays at Marriott hotels, it might be worth it to purchase the gift cards in advance to pay for your stay. While you will not earn the 5 points/$1 on your hotel spend if you typically use the co-branded Chase/Marriott Rewards Premier credit card, you will still earn the typical 10 points/$1 on your hotel spend plus any additional points for having status.
- Get 1,200 points with a $100 Marriott Gift Card purchase
- Get 3,000 points with a $250 Marriott Gift Card purchase
- Get 6,000 points with a $500 Marriott Gift Card purchase
The maximum number of Rapid Reward points you can earn per account is 12,000. Therefore, $1,000 Marriott Gift Cards will get you $200 worth of Southwest travel when redeeming on their lowest “Wanna Getaway” fares (60 rapid reward points = $1). So really, your $1,000 purchase will only cost you $800 assuming you have a place to redeem the gift cards and you fly Southwest typically. Keep in mind though that you will not earn Rapid Reward points when redeeming free flights, so there is an opportunity cost there as well.
If you plan on purchasing more than $1,000, make sure to purchase the gift cards through multiple accounts to maximize the number of Southwest points you can earn. You also MUST register prior to purchasing any gift cards to receive the bonus points.