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Update: Southwest’s email with the link for this bonus got delayed to Tuesday, October 15th.
The best deal in travel has to be the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. Earn 110,000 eligible points in a year in the Rapid Rewards program and you can take a designated companion with you on your travels through the end of the next year for just the cost of taxes — whether you buy your own ticket or redeem points.
And the easiest, fastest way to earn a companion ticket is with a Southwest Airlines credit card. Both initial bonus and pend on a Southwest card counts towards the Companion Pass as well.
However there’s another easy way to earn Rapid Rewards points quickly, where the points count towards a Companion Pass. While transferring hotel points into Rapid Rewards no longer counts towards Companion Pass, booking travel through the Southwest Airlines website.
Hotel bookings are provided through a white label version of Rocketmiles, which is now a Booking.com (Priceline) company.
Some points awards are modest, others are quite generous, which presumably depends on the booking tool’s margins.
Since Southwest Airlines points buy about 1.5 cents apieceworth of flights, that can be a really strong rebate on your hotel bookings.
And there’s a new 2000 point bonus for a first-time Southwest hotel booking. The bonus won’t count towards companion pass, but the points from the hotel bookings will. And the bonus makes a booking much more lucrative.
- A Southwest Airlines e-mail goes out today with the offer for 2000 bonus Rapid Reward points for first time customers to its SouthwestHotels.com site
- Click through the email to earn the 2000 bonus points (book by October 28 at 11:59pm CT).
- That’s on top of regular earnings up to 10,000 points per night.
So a 6000 point property earns 8000 points with this promotion. (That’s worth ~ $150 in Southwest travel.)
Even a hotel that would only earn 83 points would instead yield 2083, and ~ $30 back in travel is pretty good for an inexpensive room.
This is most useful when you are booking non-chain hotels, or hotels outside of your usual chain, since you won’t earn credit cards elite status, receive elite status benefits, or earn points in a hotel’s loyalty program for the stay.
The points or miles earned via a booking site like Rocketmiles can be worthwhile in those cases anyway. Add in the leverage of a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass and it can even make sense to bail on the ‘book direct’ strategy since a Companion Pass can effectively double the value of your points.
There are other fast ways besides credit cards to earn a Companion Pass even without a Southwest Airlines co-brand credit card.