I spend a good deal of time trying to help people I know earn more points on their everyday purchases. Maximizing those recurring purchases is the biggest source of collecting miles and points for the largest part of the population that don’t travel as a part of their professional lives.
The easy items come from making sure you’re using the right credit card, since so many cards include category bonuses. Why earn 1 mile per dollar when you buy gas when you could earn 2 or 3? Same thing with your cell phone bill (5 points per dollar on Ink Bold).
Just make sure you don’t overlook an easy way to earn 5 points per dollar when you take the family on that next flight on Southwest. How? Pretty straight forward.
Chances are, your local Staples or Office Max carry Southwest gift cards. To my knowledge, Office Depot doesn’t. I’ve seen both $50 and $100 cards. Buy those cards with your Ink Bold card and you’re well on your way to 5 points per dollar when you use your Ink Bold card.
While the process to pay with a gift card on the Southwest website is pretty straight forward, there are a couple of thoughts to consider:
- The Southwest website only allows you to have 4 total methods of payment. Take this into account when you’re planning a trip and buying gift cards. If your ticket is only $200, no problem using those $50 gift cards. Over that amount and you’ll need some $100 ones.
- If your total cost is over $400 (4 $100 gift cards), you can really only use 3 gift cards, since your fourth method of payment will need to be the credit card that pays the remainder of your balance.
- If you’re looking to maximize your entire larger purchase of Southwest travel at 5 points per dollar, you might consider booking your round-trip ticket as two one-way trips. You could also split up the passengers on different records, though this is not the most advantageous in case of a delay or schedule change during travel.
Finally, if you’re looking to give someone a birthday or Christmas gift, consider giving them the gift of travel in the form of Southwest gift card, and give yourself the gift of extra miles.
Note: None of these are referral links for me. Ink Bold is just one of my favorite cards.