Southwest Airlines has a very loyal following because it is truly unique.The management at Southwest has managed to create an airline where the people are friendlier, the flights are more enjoyable, the fares are cheaper and no one gets nickel and dimed. You would think that lower fares would lead to a worse in-flight experience.But, because of the unique culture of Southwest, you can actually get a better experience than with many of the big flag carriers.
When you meet with members of management, you understand why the place is so special.A Senior Director at Southwest gave a talk at a conference, and he shared their recruitment process with the audience.They only wanted to hire people who pass the BBQ test.Southwest likes to have the occasional BBQ on the runway.And they don’t like to hire people they don’t want to flip burgers with on the runway.What other airline hires like that?
Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, is dedicated to making Southwest a fun place to work.He believes that if the employees are having fun, they will make sure the passengers have fun (or at least enjoy their flight).In fact, Gary Kelly even arrived dressed as a woman for a company Halloween party.That takes courage.Maybe a bit too much courage!
This spirit of fun and family is evident in the design of the frequent flier program – Rapid Rewards.Unlike other programs, it is incredibly easy to understand.The miles you earn are based upon the cost of your ticket.That’s right – unlike other programs that count the miles you fly, Southwest rewards you for the amount of money you pay.You earn 6 miles for “Wanna get Away” fares, 10 miles for “Anytime” fares and 12 miles for “Business Select” fares.
Redemption is equally straight-forward.There are no black-out dates.Every seat can be a reward seat.Your miles have a fixed value – so you actually know what they are worth. When you use your miles, it takes:
- 120 points per $1 for Business Select Fare
- 100 points for $1 for Anytime Fare, and
- 60 (70 from March) points for $1 for Wanna Get Away Fare
With some advanced planning, the Wanna Get Away fare is pretty easy to get.So, you can be confident that your miles will be worth 1.7 cents (1.4 cents from March).
If you fly Southwest Airlines frequently, you are probably hooked.And, as a dedicated Southwest flier – you should definitely have a credit card that helps you earn Southwest miles.It will just get you to a free flight that much faster.
You do have some choices: do you want a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, or do you want a Southwest credit card?Sapphire can get you 2 miles for every $1 spent at restaurants.So, if you are a real foodie – this can be a great way to get there.But if you aren’t really the restaurant type, the Southwest card may be the better option.
This can all get complicated.Fortunately, I found a calculator that can help you figure out the best option.Use this Southwest Airline tool where you can input your spending (by category) and figure out which card can help you earn the most miles and get you flying free faster.
I can’t guarantee you will be able to witness the rapping safety announcement on board.But, if you spend some time signing up for the right credit card – I can guarantee that you will have the free flight faster than you imagined possible!And, unlike any other program, you won’t be frustrated by blackout dates, lack or availability or lack of clarity regarding the value of your points.Enjoy the transparency, and have some fun on board!