A Few Points Shy of the Southwest Companion Pass?

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Via Frequent Miler’s quick deals page, I learned that the Southwest online shopping portal is offering 9x points per dollar spent at Sears. This is great for a few reasons:

  • You earn points when purchasing gift cards
  • You earn points when using gift cards for a purchase
  • You can sell Sears gift cards online at a reasonable return
  • Points earned from the Southwest shopping portal count towards the companion pass!!! This is my favorite benefit of course!

Now, this deal is today only (although I’ve seen it come around here and there, so it is by no means a one time only opportunity). If you decide to purchase and re-sell the gift cards you are ultimately “buying” points at 1.6 cents per point. If you’ve read my Southwest blog series, you are already aware that Southwest has a fixed redemption program where you can redeem your points at about 1.43 cents per point (although this can sometimes be slightly higher depending on the taxes/fees if you actually paid for the flight – more on that on a future post).

To take advantage of this:

  • Go to the Southwest Airlines shopping portal here.
  • Purchase the desired amount of Sears gift cards. Make sure to purchase physical gift cards and NOT e-gift cards as physical gift cards are easier to sell.
  • When the gift cards arrive at your doorstep, you can re-sell them at a few different online sites – you can check GiftCardGranny.com to compare many of the re-sell sites (you can currently sell them at 84% of the current price)

As Frequent Miler points out there are a few warnings: 1) Online shopping portal may not track your purchase correctly – make sure to clear your cookies and keep track of everything yourself; 2) When you go to re-sell your gift card the re-sell price could change – could be better or worse, etc.

The best reason to do this is to earn the companion pass, but there might be some other scenarios where “buying” points at an increased value might be beneficial:

Example 1: Let’s say you have 5,000 points and the number of points you need to redeem for a free flight is 7,500 points. This means you’ll need to purchase 2,500 points for that free flight. “Buying” the required points is cheaper then paying for the full price of the flight and if you don’t really fly Southwest and have no desire to continue to accrue points to redeem for a future flight then this could be a good reason to buy.

Example 2: Now, there is one scenario where it actually might benefit you to purchase points and actually get a flight for cheaper than the advertised flight. As I mentioned over a year ago, Southwest and AirTran allow you to transfer points and credits back and forth freely, allowing you to redeem for a free flight regardless of price. NOTE: This will end in November. When you purchase points, these points can be transferred to AirTran credits or back to Southwest credits – giving you the opportunity to redeem for a “free” flight on either airline.

I’ve personally used the Southwest shopping portal in the past to help with my companion status and it was great! Points (through Nordstrom) posted very quickly and allowed Mr. Deals to fly with me for free!

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