TPG Readers’ Best Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Redemptions

Aug 18, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

We recently asked our TPG Lounge members and those in the new TPG Family Facebook group to share their all-time favorite redemptions through the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards loyalty program. Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity). 

Saving With Southwest on Trips Around the US

From inaugural flights to Hawaii to epic summer vacations at some of the best national parks in the country, our TPG Lounge members definitely know how to make the most of their Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

“‪Back home from Denver to Baltimore in September for 3,100 Southwest Rapid Rewards points‬.” — Dan F.

“‪The inaugural flight to Honolulu! It was less than 20,000 points to fly from Dallas (DAL) to Oakland (OAK) to Honolulu (HNL) and back‬.” — Jake G.

Hawaii. When they first opened access, I scored three, one-week trips to different islands from Oakland. Round-trip flights for me and my partner were no more than 15,000 points total for the three trips. The Southwest Companion Pass is the best!‬” — Eric H.

“Completing our 10-night stay in Hawaii! My wife and I used the Companion Pass and my son used points on the first day Southwest flights opened up in March. We stayed at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach on Marriott Bonvoy points all week!‬” — Michael B.

Have you flown Southwest to Hawaii yet? (Photo by Art Wager / Getty Images)
Have you flown Southwest to Hawaii yet? (Photo by Art Wager / Getty Images)

“It’s the last night of our 11-day trip to national parks in Utah and Arizona. Our family of three flew from Raleigh (RDU) to Las Vegas (LAS), then Phoenix (PHX) back to RDU, with all flights on [Southwest Rapid Rewards] points.‬” — Karen S.

“Did a summer baseball trip with my sons. Two of them paid, two used the Companion Pass [and we visited] four stadiums in eight days. We now will have visited 20 of the 30 MLB stadiums. And let’s not forget our Christmas cruise, where we saved over $2,000 by using Southwest Rapid Rewards points and Companion Passes for the four of us to travel to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and back‬.” — Richard A.

“‪Long-distance co-parenting: I check Southwest’s Travel Planning Tools often to see the flight release dates, then book with Rapid Rewards points on the release date. If we use more than 10,000 points for the flight, we check often for a price drop and rebook. We’ve covered travel expenses with points [to fly] between New York and Florida four or five times per year with zero cost out of pocket.” — Melanie S.

Trips to Mexico, the Caribbean and Costa Rica

Some of our TPG Lounge readers mentioned how they were able to use Southwest Companion Passes to take family members with them on trips to Mexico and Costa Rica, among other popular vacation destinations.

“I brought my parents to Mexico with Southwest Rapid Rewards points, and my boyfriend on the Companion Pass, and it was a great trip. I also like to give points to friends who want to visit me but have no money.‬” — Lisa B.

“[Flew from] Sacramento (SMF) to Baltimore (BWI) nonstop for a cruise to Bermuda. That has to be one of their longest routes. With an empty seat beside me, it was a delightful trip.‬” — Thomas P.

“[Flew from] Baltimore (BWI) to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU‬) ‪for less than 9,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points round-trip!” — JL A.

Fly Southwest to beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo by dennisvdw/Getty Images)
Fly Southwest to beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo by dennisvdw/Getty Images)

“Had the Companion Pass when Marriott vacation packages counted toward it and used it to take my honeymoon in Aruba! Book early, then watch like a hawk for price drops. They are not uncommon and sometimes you can get a significant amount of points redeposited.‬” — Ryan M.

“‪I fly from Kansas City (MCI) to Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) on Southwest Rapid Rewards points every year. One ticket for me and my husband flies for free with the Companion Pass.‬” — Sarah M.

“In the past year, our family of five flew from Denver (DEN) to Liberia, Costa Rica (twice) and from Denver to Honolulu (once). We only had to buy four tickets to Costa Rica and three to Hawaii because of Companion Passes. Book as soon as tickets are released, use the low fare calendar and get a Companion Pass or two!‬” — Jessica E.

Our Favorite Southwest Success Stories

While all the responses from our TPG Lounge members were impressive in one way or another, there were a few that stood out from the crowd, among them folks who saved more than $3,500 on flights and others who haven’t paid for travel in years thanks to Southwest Rapid Rewards points and Companion Pass perks.

“‪This year, we’re on track to save around $3,750 on flights thanks to the Southwest Companion Pass.‬” — Jessica R.

“My wife has flown 103 free flights since 2014. Also, for several years, we have used Southwest for positioning flights to get far cheaper fares to our final destination. For example, if a flight from Nashville (BNA) to Madrid (MAD) is $1,200 but only $400 from New York-JFK, I’ll fly Southwest to New York for free and buy a significantly cheaper ticket to MAD from JFK.‬” — Jeff C.

Southwest Airlines is definitely a big hit with our TPG Lounge audience. (Photo by TPG Staff)
Southwest Airlines is definitely a big hit with our TPG Lounge audience. (Photo by The Points Guy staff)

“‪We haven’t paid for a domestic flight in years. My boyfriend travels for free with the Companion Pass, and with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, I use the More Rewards tab to book international flights. The redemptions are so varied. I think I got Chicago to Dublin for around 40,000 points, to Stockholm for around 75,000 points and to Edinburgh for around 70,000 points.” — Caroline J.

“In January 2018, I saw an article TPG posted about how to earn 100,000 points towards a Companion Pass quickly. I applied for both the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card [Editor’s note: This strategy no longer works], switched all our spending to these cards and had the Companion Pass by March. Since we got the Companion Pass, we’ve taken several trips to Las Vegas (LAS), Austin (AUS) and Chicago-Midway (MDW). If there’s a concert on a weekend somewhere Southwest flies, we just go. All of this was money that we would normally spend every month, and we pay off the cards with no interest. Thanks TPG!‬” — Marli N.

Featured photo by The Points Guy staff. 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.