Make Free Holiday Travel a Reality

Plane window

Long security lines, limited overhead space, and crowded cabins– the holiday air travel season has arrived. For those of us who must battle the airports to make it home for the holidays, we face more than just inflated stress levels in crowded terminals. We also face inflated airline prices. The cost of flights can as much as double during the peak holiday weeks around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years and put added strain on the monthly budget.

My key to inexpensive holiday travel is Southwest Airline Points. This year, I was able to cover my round trip flight for Thanksgiving with the points I have accumulated (I had to pay a $7 security fee). As I’ve mentioned before, I do travel a good amount for work. This allows me to accumulate points. However, you don’t need to be a frequent traveler to accumulate airline points.

Since I’ve started the point accumulating game, I’ve discovered other great ways that you can earn airline points over time.

Key Steps to Take Now to Build Points for Free Flights:

1. Chase Southwest Credit Card

One key way for anyone to build up travel points is with a travel reward credit card. If you are sure to pay your credit card in full each month then you can accumulate additional airline points throughout the year. I personally signed up for the Southwest card. I travel primarily Southwest and I love that they don’t have blackout dates so you can always use your reward points (even the holidays).  They may not be the fanciest airline but they are have an effective system and are reliable.

With the Southwest Card you are going accumulate airline point in three ways:

-Sign up bonus points. This bonus can often be enough for two round trip flights.

-Yearly anniversary bonus point award. This is an added few thousand points each year. (Note: There is a yearly fee for holding the card. I have the card with the lowest fee)

- Receive 2 points for every dollar spent at Southwest flights and 1 point for every other dollar spent.

2. E-Rewards Surveys

E-Rewards is an opinion panel that allows you complete online consumer surveys that can earn additional Southwest Rapid Reward points. You can earn varying amounts of “dollars” for each survey completed and these dollars can be converted to Southwest points in 500 point increments.

E-Rewards is an invitation only program by the sponsor organizations. Once you are a Southwest Rapid Reward member for a period of time you should receive the email invitation to the program. While the surveys take time, they are not difficult and are sent regularly to your email account.

3. Rapid Rewards Dining

The third option for accumulating points is through the Southwest Dining program. Once you enroll in the program, you can receive Southwest points for dining at specific restaurants associated with the program.  I have not yet signed up for the Southwest Dining program; however, the list of restaurants seems to be fairly extensive in the major cities. If your budget and lifestyle include eating out, this can be an easy way to earn points with little effort.

Obviously you can earn airline points and deals with frequent flights. But earning free flights is definitely a possibility for next years holiday rush no matter how often you frequent the airport terminals.

-Are you enrolled in any travel reward programs? Are you using travel rewards for travel this year?

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