Don’t like the taste of that? Try this!

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In case you prefer Southwest’s Rapid Rewards 2.0 frequent flier program better than the Continental/United system, here is a way to chow down your way to free tickets with that program……..

First, if you used Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program more than a few months ago, you may be in for a shock.  It is very different than it used to be.  You used to earn one credit per flight regardless of the length of the trip or the price of the ticket.  16 credits = a free roundtrip ticket to anywhere they fly.  I lovey love loved that system!  Those days are, sadly, ancient history.  Their 2.0 system is based on the type of ticket (Business Select vs. Anytime Fare vs. Wanna Get Away) and the price paid for the ticket.  Based on those two factors you earn “points”.  You then use those points towards “buying” your free flights.  Cheap flights = less points you need to redeem, Expensive flights = more points needed.  I will do a whole post highlighting some of the change in that program later this week.  For now, let’s focus on the eating your way to a free ticket part.  🙂

The Rapid Rewards Dining program is similar to the United program highlighted in the last post, but there are a few differences.  With this program you earn 3 points per dollar spent for the life of the program.  They have a new member bonus of 300 points if you spend $25 and complete a restaurant review on their site within 60 days of sign-up.  They routinely award 10 points for each completed restaurant review.  Once you have received 1500 points through any combination of dining and restaurant reviews (not through bonuses), you receive a 500 point bonus to your account.  I have utilized this program in the past and found that the points usually deposit within a week and they also send you an email when this occurs.  The restaurants that participate in this program appear to be pretty much identical to the ones in the United/Continental program.

Just like with the United program, you need to register for a Rapid Rewards number before registering for the dining program.  Click here to get your Rapid Rewards number (including 250 bonus points just for signing up).  Then, click here to register in the dining program.

I will wait until a later post to get into all the nitty gritty of Rapid Rewards 2.0, but just to give you an example of what points can do for you in this new system, let’s say you want to fly from Chicago Midway to Orlando on August 18th (to see Mickey Mouse, of course!).  The Wanna Get Away fare is currently going for $117 for that one-way fare.  If you wanted to redeem points for that particular flight it would cost you 7,020 points.  So, if you get 250 points for a new Rapid Rewards sign-up, then sign up for the Rapid Rewards Dining program and eat out once for $25 and complete the associated restaurant review for that dine you will also receive the 300 new customer bonus.  That should bring you to 635 points for those actions.  That is almost a 1/10th of the way toward this particular free flight just for a few clicks of the mouse and doing what you would already do anyway, eat!

I have found that when I register for one dining program such as the United or Rapid Rewards, any other ones I have registered that card for stop working and only the most recently added program works. I didn’t read deep enough into the legal speak and terms and conditions mumbo jumbo to see if that is spelled out in there, but I have found it to be the case for me. So, you probably want to pick one program to focus on at a time. Or, register different credit cards with different programs and select accordingly when dining out.

Give these programs a shot and let me know what you think about them! Hopefully you will have the same level of excitement as C did last night when her grandparents took her to a a Play and Pizza type restaurant for dinner!!!!

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