Currently there are two promotions you might be able to take advantage of with Southwest:
- 20% off a flight between April 3 and June 8 – This morning Southwest sent out emails with individualized promo codes for 20% off. Mine came slightly later in the morning compared to a few other bloggers that posted about it (thank you to Just Another Points Traveler for originally posting!). This is a one time use code for a roundtrip flight between April 3 and June 8 (unfortunately Sunday’s are excluded). This code is valid for 4 days only and will expire Monday night. Some folks have stated that prices have gone up due to the 20% off coupon being released, but on a route from New Orleans to Providence that I’ve been monitoring during that time frame, the price stayed exactly the same. If you book and your flight goes down in price, you can always get a credit back for the difference. The bummer is that this is for roundtrip flights, BUT there is a way around this. If you really only need a one way, you can always book a roundtrip (find the cheapest possible return trip during the promotional dates) and after you take the outbound flight cancel the return. Now, this will give you a credit for the cost of the return trip so might not be worth it for you. If you are using a credit, however, to book the flight this is a no loss as you’ll just receive the same credit back (although you will be tying up that credit for some time). If you did not receive the 20% off coupon code, that probably means that you do not subscribe to their Click ‘n Save Weekly Special Offers. If you are in need of a code, sign up here and they will send you the code. If I do not end up using the code I received, I’ll post it in the comments section, but as of now I think there might be a need. Feel free to post yours for others to use if you will not be using it.
- Redeem your Southwest Rapid Reward points for gift cards at 15% off – While I’d never recommended cashing in Southwest points for gift cards, some folks might have points in their account that they know they’ll just never use for Southwest flights. With Southwest, 60 points = $1 worth a “Wanna Getaway” fare. With this 15% off gift card promo, you’ll need to cash in 85 points to get that same $1 value. The gift cards require 4,250 points for a $50 gift card and 8,500 points for a $100 gift card. Now, if you want to take the opportunity cost into place we can do that since when you redeem points for a Southwest flight you are not in fact earning points (which is normally 6 points per $1 spent on a Wanna Getaway fare).
So let’s say you have 8,500 points, that would equal $141.67 towards a flight minus $14.17 you would earn on the fare if you paid for it and did not use points. So in reality those 8,500 points are worth $127.50. Those same 8,500 points can be used to purchase a $100 gift card for the following travel merchants: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Carnival Cruise Lines, National Car Rental. While there are other travel ones discounted they are less than 15% off. Personally, I’d still recommend using points for Southwest travel since I find huge value in booking and canceling speculative flights, but that’s me. This 15% off discount will last through May 21, 2013.