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AMEX Membership Rewards Offers Southwest Credits!

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Southwest Airlines WallI have The Gold Card from American Express as my business credit card and have always had difficulty finding things to spend the points on. I’m not a huge fan of gift cards but fortunately AMEX doesn’t play the game of diluting point values at lower gift card prices. For example, Citi’s ThankYou Network turns 6,000 points into a $50 gift card, diluting the value of a point by a small percentage. $100 gift cards are 10,000 points though, giving you a true “penny a point” conversion. Anyway, with AMEX’s Membership Rewards I’ve just converted them into either Home Depot cards or Roy’s Restaurant cards (Roy’s is a Hawaiian fusion restaurant that my wife and I absolutely love).

LUV Gem in Membership Rewards Catalog

In browsing the site the other day, I discovered that you can convert AMEX Membership Reward points into Southwest Rapid Rewards (Frequent Flyer) points! Each SW point costs 1,500 AMEX points, plus a small excise tax. 16 SW points equals one free domestic flight, so it costs 24,000 AMEX points (plus $12 in fee) for a domestic flight. Compare that with any other major airline and you’ll find that the minimum point to free flight ratio is 25,000 plus ridiculous booking fees (not to mention luggage fees, food fees, headache fees). Another great aspect of this is that you don’t have to buy all 16 points at once. You simply enter in your frequent flyer number and the points are transferred over. If you are only a handful of points away from a free flight, just buy as many points as you need.

Value of Southwest Voucher

Is it worth it? Well, I’ve sold Southwest vouchers on eBay and Craigslist years ago for about $300 a piece. This was before you could extend the expiration date on the voucher ($50) but now I just keep them for my own travel (you also aren’t allowed to sell them, but I was in college and $300 goes a really long way!). With soaring fuel prices, the vouchers are worth anywhere from $350 to $400. The 24,000 points is worth $240 in gift cards so you’re really coming out ahead, even after adding in $12 of fee. This trumps any gift card by far.

Southwest Rules!

I’m a huge fan of Southwest Airlines and one of the reasons is because they the best frequent flyer program ever (giving us free champagne on our flight out to our honeymoon in Hawaii was awesome too!).

There’s a reason why Southwest’s profits jumped 11% whereas other airlines have been tanking. [Consumerist]

(Photo by bracken)

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3 Responses to “AMEX Membership Rewards Offers Southwest Credits!”

  1. Adam says:

    Only certain AMEX cards with rewards are eligible for the Southwest credits. I have a Blue card with rewards and they do not allow conversion to Southwest rewards. I found that out the hard way. I already planned a trip anticipating the Southwest credits only to find out that I couldn’t get them. I think it is only the cards that have an annual fee that allow you to transfer your points. You then have to take the cost of the annual fee into consideration when you calculate your gain.

  2. If only they served our nearest airport… We used them regularly until about 2.5 years ago when we relocated. Now we’re back to the “regular” airlines, which aren’t nearly as good. I wish they would start emulating Southwest a bit more. It would be a win-win. Travelers would be happy and they’d probably become more profitable (or at least lose less).

  3. Money Maus says:

    Very exciting about the Southwest deal – it seems more credit cards need to start having better perks to lure customers/businesses in.

    Also… I can’t believe you mentioned Roy’s! It is a phenomenal restaurant, I have been there 3x (always with my parents for special occasions!) and can’t get enough of it – too bad I do not personally have the extra income to spend there, but I’m considering just going for some appetizers & drinks with friends.

    My favorite is the “Sunrise at Haleakala” sushi roll, the Ahi Poketini and the Butterfish. :)


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