**** Show Notes*****
Originally recorded the week of September 10th at the beautiful Nashville, TN Gaylord Opryland hotel …. that was until someone, me, forgot to the hit the record button. If you’ve never visited Nashville, it’s worth the trip.
The week of September 17 the plan was fly into Raleigh, NC on Monday and then take the last flight out of Columbia, SC on Thursday…. that was until Florence hit, hence the Valdosta, GA reboot.
Southwest still rules the roost, an easy flight cancelation and then rebook for the Raleigh flight in addition to an early morning flight change, direct into Orlando, getting me home 5 hours early.
In January after 20 plus years with the American Express card, I decided to divorce my “Plastic Partner” and move to the Chase Southwest Reward Card.
American Express does offer some great benefits in exchange for their yearly “Membership” fee.
I’ll miss the 5X points on flights, the monthly $15.00 in Uber credits and the annual $200 Airline Fee Credit.
However, perks like access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection, their Private Jet Program and No Annual Fee for Additional Gold Cards aren’t that applicable to my life and how I travel.
Like I posted about in the past,
One of the good benefits is no preset credit limits. This allows you to do some crazy things, such as charge the roof replacement on the house you’re trying to sell. A bad benefit of no preset credit limits is that you can charge the roof replacement on the house you’re trying to sell.
I’m not a fan of credit cards but late 2017 the Chase Southwest Reward Card and its benefits really caught my attention. When it comes to travel and credit cards, I’m not a point chaser. Honestly I don’t have the desire to apply for this card or that card and I certainly don’t have the time to manage multiple credit card statements and track the points that they offer, especially when filing expense reports.
Here’s the skinny on the Chase Southwest Reward Card.
The only reason to apply for this card is the Southwest Companion Pass.
Companion Pass Breakdown – Friends fly when you do
Companion Pass is the benefit that allows you to choose one person to fly with you, free of airline charges (does not include taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way) every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight. To qualify, simply fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, and you’ll earn Companion Pass for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it.
The nut to hit is 100 flights or 110,00 points during a calendar year.
First 100 flights in a year are brutal, especially if you’re traveling in just the Southeast United States. I’ve done it once in my road warrior career, and I don’t want to repeat it. That being said I’m currently at 52 flights as of September 1st.
The card does tilt the scale in your favor, a bit.
In exchange for the annual $69.00 fee you get.
- 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases.
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
On the surface, 110,000 points at 1 point per $1 doesn’t make much sense. If you fly Southwest they offer 2 points per $1 so that brings the number down to $55,000. Still not realistic, and my finance department would freak out.
I’m not a finance person; I’m a computer nerd prone to making bad decisions, but on the surface those metrics suck.
So how did I acquire the companion pass by June 1st?
At the time I signed up they offered 60,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of the account opening. My run rate, that’s a total sales term, for expenses is over $1000.00 per month. I knew I would easily be 54% of the way there by the end of February.
Two of the Chateau’ Relaxo residents (Yes we actually call the house that), attending spring term in college, so that got placed on the card. In the past the school had always charged a premium for using the American Express card not so with the Chase card.
April 15th, Tax Day that went on the card as well. Looking back this probably wasn’t a great deal since I had to pay a few points for the transaction since this would’ve delayed the companion pass by 30 days at most. By the end of April, the majority of the points were in the bank.
What put us over the finish line was my typical travel at 2x points coupled with using the card as a debit card. Meaning we put groceries on the card, went home unpacked the goods and then sat down and sent a payment to Chase for the amount of the groceries. Yeah, a pain but by June 1st my wife had the companion pass.
During 2018 what has the Southwest card and their 1X/2X points plus companion pass given me?
Here are some recent “family” flights.
Round trip Orlando to Nashville for 2 $691.00
Round trip Orlando to Chicago for 3 $665.00
Round trip Orlando to Richmond for 2 $803.00
Round trip Orlando to Atlanta for 2 $641.00
That’s $2800.00 in travel value using points and the companion passes for the first 8 months of 2018. The only money out of our pocket was $210.00 for taxes and fees, a decent ROI.
Here’s the best part of the Chase Southwest Reward Card, when you achieve the companion pass you get it for the remainder of the year plus the whole next year. In our case, that means June – December 2018 plus all of 2019. $2800.00 during the first 9 months with multiple trips planned for 2019.
Here’s the wrap-up, again I’m not a financial guy, the Chase Southwest Reward Card works for Chateau’ Relaxo. The companion pass allows my wife to fly free when I do till December 2019 then add in the 1X/2X points for the remaining members of Chateau’ Relaxo when they travel with their significant others and it’s a decent solid deal.
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