Mar 10, 2010

Flying for Free (Carole)

This post is only for the fiscally disciplined business owner! 

Don’t try this at home.

I’ve mentioned in the past, that my husband and I do not have a personal credit card.  This is still true.  However, we own a business, and the business has a credit card, and has from the day we opened our doors.  We’ve used several different credit cards over the past 20+ years, but none have given us the fantastic rewards that we’ve earned in the last 2 years with our Southwest Airline Rapid Rewards VISA credit card. 

16 Rapid Rewards credits earn us a free round-trip ticket anyplace Southwest Airlines flies!!  You have to spend $1200 on your card to earn one credit.  That means that a round trip ticket costs you $19,200 in credit card purchases.  Now, if I were trying to earn a free ticket through this credit card on a home account, it would probably take me a whole year to earn one ticket.  But a business has much larger bills than a home does, and many, many of those bills can be paid with a credit card.  Our little business earns us one free round-trip ticket nearly every month.  That is something to shout about!

We’ve used other credit cards in the past that offered Sky Miles or other kinds of travel deals.  And even though we were spending the same amounts of cash with them, it always took over a year to earn even one round trip ticket – and then there were so many restrictions and black-out days, that it was hardly worth the trouble.  Often, our Sky Miles points would not cover the entire cost of the ticket.  I don’t know what weird formula these other card companies use, but it certainly wasn’t in our favor. 

Southwest Airlines though offers a very simple program, and it has really worked for us.  We’ve been able to use our RR credits for many free trips over the past couple of years, we’ve also flown our children out to visit, and helped out a few others who have had a need.  They’ve been such a blessing. 

Like any credit card, we treat this business card with great care.  We watch our purchases very carefully, we try to use it mainly to pay monthly bills, and we pay it off EVERY MONTH. 

If you have difficulty with any of those three items, then stay away from any and all credit cards in your business.  Work with cash. 

But if this seems like it could work for you, take my word for it – it’s a great deal.


Sherry said...

We have this credit card for our personal use. We've had it about two and half years and have earned three round-trip tickets on it. I absolutely love it.

Packrat said...

I have a couple of questions. Are the tickets you "earn" completely free or do you still have to pay fuel tax/tariffs? Also, do you have reserved seats, or do you fly "stand-by"?

Carole said...

There is a $5 airport charge on each flight (so $10 for a round-trip). You actually have a ticket on the flight. You are not stand-by.

Packrat said...

Carole, thank you. Wish I'd know about this 20 to 30 years ago.

Megan said...

In a year from now, my husband will make around 15 flights across the country with little notice, for medical residency interviews. I've been thinking about getting some kind of air miles card. We don't spend $19,000/year on a credit card (rent's our biggest expense and we can't put it on the card), but I'm wondering if we had such a card, would it have any special treatment for card holders who may need to move dates, for example, if another invitation for an interview came up? Would it be worth it to switch from the card that we have, that give us a check in the mail for 3% of nearly all our purchases?

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