Southwest Rapid Rewards - No Fee Credit Card to Earn RapidReward Credits
Dec 11, 02, 5:20 am
This article was posted at MilesHotdealz.
Earn Southwest Rapid Reward Credits with AMEX Blue Card No Annual Fee!
For the Southwest Rapid Reward Program, if you want to earn Rapid Reward credits with a credit card, most likely you would need to apply for the Southwest Rapid Reward VISA card. With that card, you earn 1 credit for every $1200 in spending. However, there is an annual fee of $59.
Also, Southwest Rapid Reward credits expires after 12 months if you don't(or can't) use them. Since without 16 credits you can't redeem for a ticket, sometimes you can only watch hopelessly as those credits expire.
Wouldn't it be great if there is a credit card that let you earn RapidReward credits and does not charge an annual fee? Wouldn't it be even better if the points or credits you earn does not expire?
Looks like there is an ideal card that can do just that -- the American Express Blue Card with no annual fee.
With the Amex Blue Card, you can enroll in Blue's free rewards program called Membership Reward Options program. With each dollar charged to your Blue Card account, you earn 1 point. For every 2500 point, you can exchange for 2 Rapid Reward credits. Since the points do not expire, you can redeem them for Rapid Reward credits only when you need to. (Such as transfer just enough to get 16 credits to redeem for a ticket.)
Link to the article (http://www.hotdealz.com/miles/miles104.html)
Dec 11, 02, 6:35 am
Hm, not bad. Not only is it free, but the earning capacity is barely diminished at that rate of exchange, which is pretty rare for a free card.
Dec 11, 02, 7:21 am
The AMEX Blue Options card requires $2 for 1 point. Atleast that is how it was last year when I looked into it. Also the renewal fee on my WN Visa is only $35.
The low-fee Visa card is capped at 48 credits per year. The higher-fee Visa card is not.
Dec 11, 02, 1:52 pm
The membership reward "Options" program is different from Membership reward program. With Amex blue, you do earn 1 point for each dollar you spend.
WN LUVS U
Dec 11, 02, 4:33 pm
Just a side note:
The conversion to Rapid Reward credits is a little better with Visa. You would have to spend $2500 with American Express to earn 2 Rapid Reward points, where with Visa you only have to spend $2000 (for existing Visa card holders till April 1, 2003) or $2400 (for new card holders).
Granted the Visa card has a $39 fee, but you do earn 4 flight credits on you first Visa purchase, and a balance transfer option that could earn an additional four.
I'm not trying to encourage one over the other, just wanted to make sure all aspects of each product were covered.
Dec 11, 02, 7:20 pm
I think the Southwest's credit expiration poilicy discourages the not-so-frequent southwest flyers to accumulate rapid reward credits.
Hopefully southwest can change that policy a little bit.
[This message has been edited by milehunter (edited 12-11-2002).]
Are you saying that you cannot scrounge up 16 credits per year between flying and charging?
If that is true, then any affinity credit card is probably a bad choice.
Dec 14, 02, 11:44 am
I think milehunter's point was that the Amex might be a good choice for people who don't fly Southwest that often, since you can "bank" the MR points and transfer them to Rapid Rewards when it makes sense to do so.
Personally, I always seem to be scrambling to earn a few credits just as my oldest credits are expiring (note that my credit card affiliation is Starwood, not Southwest). For me, it'd be nice to have the Amex points waiting for just the right time before I lose those oldest credits.
And from the looks of things, it appears I could transfer the MR Options points to Starwood if I *don't* need the Rapid Rewards credits.
(But I sure wish the American Express website would list the transfer rates somewhere -- I couldn't find them anywhere.)
[This message has been edited by BradC (edited 12-16-2002).]
Dec 17, 02, 1:40 pm
I just received my AMEX Membership Rewards Options program leeter and brochure today.
Letter states: You earn one point for virtually every dollar charged on a eligible, enrolled American Express card.
Brochure states: 2500 Membership Rewards Options points equal: 1 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit.
So, I need to spend $2500 for one RR credit; $10,000 for four RR credits (vs. $38-158 for a WN round trip ticket which nets four RR creidts); $40,000 for sixteen RR credits (free trip).
I think you'd get better value for your points using some of the other rewards, such as 5000 points for a $50 certificate with Avis, Hertz or National Car Rental.
This is an absolutely terrible conversion rate - more than twice as bad as the Southwest Visa, and far, far worse than Diners Club when they are having a SW promotion ($12k in spending = 1 RR ticket).
Dec 20, 02, 7:02 am
Been lurking forever here, finally registered. Hello to everyone!
I looked into the Blue card and emailed Amex and this is what they said about the points:
Thank you for your inquiry.
Please note that you may convert points in your Program account into a participating Frequent Customer Program in 1,000-point increments, except for points converted into the frequent flyer programs of Southwest Airlines and EL AL Israel Airlines.
For the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program, points must be converted in 1,250-point increments. The amount of 1,250 points equals one (1) Rapid Rewards credit.
We appreciate hearing from you. If we can be of any other Membership Rewards assistance, please e-mail us or call us at 1-800-297-3276 (M-Sun,7am-1am EST).
So it does not appear you need 2500 points per credit which makes this a better deal that the First Bank visa
Dec 20, 02, 10:26 am
Welcome to FT, KurtsFT!
I think the difference comes in whether you participate in the standard MR program (your free Blue card is linked to a green or gold card MR account) or the Options program discussed above--no fees, but half the value when redeeming points.
Dec 20, 02, 7:11 pm
Please explain if I'm wrong.
With interest rates sooo low this past year I have been purchasing $5,000 in EE/I Savings Bonds each month - I cash them in after 6 months - Even though I take the 3 month bond cashing penalty(3 monthes for bonds held less then 5 years) - I still earn the same as if I had that money in a 6 month CD ~ 2%.
Plus with being able to purchase the bonds in one month and paying for them at the beginning of the next month before my cycle ends - thus paying no interest - I can do this with a rotating $25,000.
Anyway - I am currently using my Delta AMEX to get Delta Double Miles(Nov 15th - Dec 31) Weekends and before that Triple miles in October - But for the months that they don't have a bonus program going - I was thinking about dumping the money in the FREE Blue card so that I can move it into my Southwest account for when I actaully need a FREE ticket - instead of getting stuck with a ticket after I hit my 16 credits and only having one year to use it. Then hoping it is timed to coincide with a cross-country trip to take full advantage of it.
Starting in April - it will take 1,200 First USA dollars for one credit - With the FREE blue car it takes 1,250 - only a 4% difference in value.
If I don't renew my First USA card next year -I'll save $39 - more then makes up for 4% difference in value plus me getting to pick when I hit my 16th credit.
Any input would be appreciated
[This message has been edited by ScottCa596 (edited 12-20-2002).]
Dec 21, 02, 11:56 am
vaikinas1: What is the transfer rate for other airlines? Based on the Southwest transfer rate, I'd guess it's 500 miles for 1000 MR Options points?
Dec 23, 02, 2:14 am
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by BradC:
vaikinas1: What is the transfer rate for other airlines? Based on the Southwest transfer rate, I'd guess it's 500 miles for 1000 MR Options points?</font>
2000 MR Options points equal: 1000 Delta/Continental/US Airways/Virgin/Hawaiian/Mexicana/Aeromexico/LatinPass Miles