Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I triple dog dare you to earn a free flight with me to Las Vegas this year!!

Okay, maybe I'm being dramatic here.  I have a goal to fly for free to Las Vegas this year.  I think everyone can make this their own goal, too.  How?  Simple...using Southwest's Rapid Rewards system.
Here is my goal: Earn at least one way free this year for my trip in October or November.  That gives me 10 months to earn a free one way flight. 
How do I plan on doing this?  

Enroll in Southwest's Rapid Rewards program, if you aren't already a member.  When do you plan on going to Vegas (or anywhere else on vacation)?  Go through the online booking process and shop around for flights.  Make sure you click on "pay by points" so you can see how many points you need for a free flight.  This gives you an idea of what kind of goal you are looking at.  I need about 10,000 points to go on a one way from Chicago to Las Vegas.  Do realize these points and prices are estimates, because flight prices change daily and sometimes a few times a day.
  • Southwest's Rewards program allows you to earn points when you shop through their online marketplace. I tried this to see how it works, and I did this during Christmas time and earned points shopping at JC Penny's website and Clinique.com.  It takes a few weeks for the points to show up in your Rapid Rewards account, but they did!  Go to rapidrewardsshopping.southwest.com before you shop online.  They are linked to tons of stores!  Just click on the store from there, and shop!  They keep track of what you purchased and you get points on your Southwest Rapid Rewards account good that you can accumulate and use towards free flights!  Each online store offers a different amount of points per dollar you spend, but if you were going to shop online anyway, why not start adding it up towards something you can use?? 
  • For instance, I use and buy Clinique products.  I can either go to the mall during bonus time (because who doesn't love the Clinique bonus?) or I can order it online, get free shipping, free samples, and even get the bonus (yes, they have online bonus time about twice/year!) and now get points towards a free flight?? Heck yes!  If you shop at Clinique.com through the Southwest Rewards "Marketplace", you earn 3 pts/dollar spent (as of today).  So, spending $30 on Clinique will net me 90 rewards points. 
I know what you are thinking:  90 points is far from 10,000, Lisa.  Sounds like a waste of time.  Well, this is what I am going to do this year, and I hope it isn't.  Some of my favorite retailers are online and most offer free shipping with a minimum purchase:
  • Clinique.com
  • Walgreens.com-- you can buy online and pick up in store later that day!!
  • jcp.com
  • kohls.com
  • victoriassecret.com
  • vistaprint.com
  • walmart.com-- you can buy online and pick up in store later that day!!
  • hanes.com
  • groupon.com
  • Sephora.com
  • OfficeMax.com
The one downside is Amazon.com isn't part of this.  I do a lot of online purchases through amazon.

Think of what you could do with the money you would have spent on the flight to Vegas...invest it, put it in your retirement account, pay off other debt, have more money to gamble and eat with during your trip!!  The possibilities are endless.

In addition to the rewards points, I have also signed up at a survey website, e-rewards.com.  This is a basic survey site.  You fill out your profile, and they email you surveys.  As you complete the surveys, you earn E cash.  E-cash is like currency, but not real money.  You can save your E-cash and spend it on their rewards partners.  There is a handful, but one of them is Southwest Rapid Rewards, go figure!!  I have already tried this, and with $25 e-rewards currency (ECash) I redeemed for 500 Rapid Rewards Points on Southwest.  It took about a month to accumulate the $25 through surveys, but that could potentially add up to 6000 points in one year!  Some surveys take up to 20 minutes, but most take only 2-10 minutes.  I do about one survey every other day.
Now, if I shop and spend about $100/month and try to make those purchases online and average 4 pts/dollar spent, that would be 400 points/month.  times 10 months= 4000 points!

I think this is totally possible.  I have 500 points from my surveys I redeemed at Christmas.  I will keep you updated.  Join me in a simple experiment to see if this is worthwhile!

**You can also earn more rewards points with a Southwest Credit Card by Chase, however I cannot endorse this because I don't have one and don't plan on getting one.  Read up more about the Southwest credit card at Southwest's website.

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