How We Turned One Credit Card Into Over $800 In Cash and Flights

I’m writing from my flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco for a weekend trip to visit my brother, sister-in-law, baby niece, and my visiting parents. Lauren and I booked pretty cheap tickets ($99 each way) about 6 weeks ago, but we didn’t pay a penny for them. In fact, we still had over $420 in cold hard cash rewards left over after using miles for this trip. All from signing up for a single credit card.

Why This Credit Card Is Better

Many credit cards offer a certain number of points, a free roundtrip ticket, or a few hundred dollars in cashback rewards. But the card we signed up for netted us a huge haul. In fact, it’s so rare that I’ve avoided writing the post because the rewards for the card we signed up for has not been available for the past few months. But now it’s back and if you’re in the market for a credit card with great rewards, now may be the time to jump on it.

I signed up for the Southwest Plus credit card with 50,000 points a few months ago (typically the offer is 25,000 points, spend the required minimum, $2,000 within 3 months, and saw the 50,000 Southwest points deposited into my account a few weeks later. Score!

We Did Not Want Southwest Credit

We booked our $400 in tickets for this trip and were planning on a Labor Day weekend trip back to Boston and New York. But we ran into an issue. The problem is that when you fly from the west coast to the east coast, you spend nearly 6 hours on the plane, and when you add in the time difference, you lose about 9 hours just from takeoff to landing (whereas you only lose 3 when flying from the east coast to the west coast). So we prefer to take red-eye flights so we don’t lose a full day flying (just the night, which isn’t comfortable, but it’s more bearable).

Southwest does not offer red-eye flights and I did not want to have to take an extra day off work to fly, so we started looking at other flights. We ended up booking with another airline for a reasonable price (considering it was Labor Day weekend), but we were left with nearly half our rewards (and no upcoming trips to spend them on.

Selling Points For Cash

So I did what anyone with lots of miles they can’t use should consider doing: trading or selling the points for something useful. It’s against the terms of use to sell Southwest points, but you may book a ticket for a family member of friend. So I looked for a friend with a need for points and found that my brother-in-law’s mother was going to book a few tickets and could use tickets. So I offered a 15% discount for her in return for the cash value, which came out to $420. Not a bad trade-off!

So in all we got $400 worth of tickets and another $420 in cash for a total of $820 in travel and cash! I love going on free vacations!

I found out the other day that the credit card offer I signed up for is back. Usually they only offer 25,000 points for signing up (which is still very good as it’s estimated worth is about $415 for signing up. But right now for what I assume is a limited time, you can get around $833 in rewards for signing up.

The only caveat is that there is a $99 yearly fee (or a $99 annual fee with slightly more annual rewards, which is the one I signed up for). Since the day-to-day rewards of the card itself are not very impressive, I plan on cancelling the card before the year is up. Even including the $69 fee (which you pay at the beginning), the rewards come out to about $765. I think anyone can get on board with that.

Check out this slickdeals forum to learn more and hopefully it’s still available if you are interested.

*I don’t receive any commission if you sign up. It’s simply a great deal.

One Response to How We Turned One Credit Card Into Over $800 In Cash and Flights

  1. Yuen Tuck says:

    Love the idea of ‘selling’ airmiles for cash – not sure that we’d get away with that here in Malaysia but will have a look at the relevant T&Cs (the airmiles ones, not the credit card reward points ones).

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