It’s Not Too Late to Travel for the Holidays for Free – Really!

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

As I have mentioned before, I come from a very holiday-centered family.  While we love all of the usual Americanized holidays, Christmas is the time that we go “all out”.  As children, all of the cousins had so much fun playing together on Christmas, and even though we are all spread out around the country with our own children now, that doesn’t stop us from reuniting to celebrate with the next generation.  Yes, we dress them up in matching outfits for the occasion.

Here is Little C (with a very pouty face) and two of her out-of state second-cousins celebrating Christmas together last year!  They were so cute!

The point of all of that is that  I heard through the family grapevine that Little B’s parents (pictured above on the left) planned to drive this year for Christmas from Virginia to Texas with Little B and her six-month old brother, Little I.  I am pretty sure that my eyes popped out of my head like in the cartoons when I heard that.  I know that many families successfully have long road-trips with small children, but that would be an epic disaster if I attempted that with my toddler.  Epic disaster.  I also heard through the family grapevine that they planned to drive all night and arrive on Christmas Eve.  While I agree that driving all night is a good plan to help have the kiddos sleep while you are traveling, the result will probably be that parents will be asleep until Christmas is over – maybe even a few days past that.  Heck, daily life with two small children is tiring enough without throwing an all night trip into the mix!

If that is the best or only course of action in order for families to be together for the holidays, it is totally worth it (and I am sure my cousin’s family would do way better than mine on a long road-trip!), but since points are my obsession, I thought that there has to be a better way.  My cousin is getting into the points world, but with two very young children, she hasn’t had the time to accumulate enough points to get this holiday trip booked.  No worries, I know of a solution for (US based) families that will allow them to get enough points to fly home for free in December.

The solution is to take advantage of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – 2 FREE FLIGHTS Limited Time Offer – that is the equivalent of $833 in Wanna Get Away fares.  There is a $69 annual fee, but you also get 3,000 points ($50 in Wanna Get Away fare) on each sign-up anniversary, so it really is a good deal.  The reason why that is pretty much the best option at this point is that the card has no minimum spending requirement to get the points.  Just make one purchase and the points will make their way into your Southwest Rapid Rewards account.  Also, Southwest has no black-out days for reward seats, so you can still use those points to book flights during the peak holiday travel season.  Those two reasons make this just about the only guaranteed option for free holiday travel this year for families who are starting from scratch with low or empty points balances in late October.  When I looked yesterday, round-trip flights on Southwest from Baltimore to Houston were about $380 to fly 12/23 – 12/28 (I guessed on their travel dates).  Since the Southwest credit card sign-up bonus comes with $833 in Wanna Get Away fare credit, this would leave them with only about $300 out of pocket cost for their three tickets, assuming Little I flew in his Mama’s lap.  If both my cousin and her husband signed up for the card individually, they would have $1,666 in Southwest credit, so they could all fly free on this trip and still have several hundred dollars credit left for a future trip.

I already emailed this info to my cousin, but I wanted to share it here as well in case your family is in a similar situation.  Families are expensive and the economy is tight; it is important to consider options like this.  It really isn’t too late to still be able to fly home for free to be with your family during the December holidays.  Alternatively, it isn’t too late to fly for free in the absolute opposite direction of your family during the holidays.  🙂  In either case, I do recommend you check out the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card ASAP so that you can get your points and book your flights as soon as possible.  Since the number of points required to obtain free reward flights on Southwest is directly tied to the price of the flight, you want the fare to be as low as possible so that your points can stretch as far as possible.

One other option to consider is that if you or your spouse has a business (and think long and hard, as the definition of business can sometimes be a bit “loose”), you could try to get both a personal and business card.  That would give you 100,000 points to put into one Rapid Rewards account if you got both cards.  The best part of that is you only need 110,000 points in a year to earn a companion pass.  A companion pass allows you to have your designated companion fly for free with you for an entire year.  That is one of the best perks out there!  You would just need to earn 10,000 more points by the end of the calendar year to qualify.  Since credit card points work, you could charge $10,000 worth to obtain that, or you could earn the points by flying on Southwest.  Check out this post by The Points Guy for more information about using this method to get the companion pass.

If you are looking for more detailed information on how to redeem Southwest Rapid Reward points, check out my post on Rapid Rewards 2.0. 

Whether they come by plane, train, or automobile, Little C can’t wait to see her family members in December!

Will you be flying on points this holiday season??  If so, what carriers are you using and when did you book your tickets (or when do you plan to!)?

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.



  1. Great post as usual mommypoints!

    I will be flying to Seattle in AA F using points from the Citi 75K deal. The airfare was too high for my liking so I used 25K points for First since there were no Saver Y tickets left so might as well go with Saver F!

    The return trip will be on WN which cost me $50 to buy points since I was a bit low on them 🙁 However, that still save me hundreds so I’m not complaining 🙂

  2. I like WN, but won’t fly them when doing transcontinental since layovers are the devil when you’ve got both a toddler and a baby.

  3. @Jimgotkp, thanks! Sounds like you did well planning your trips with points. I am also flying one leg in F with my AA credit card sign-up points in the near future!

    @Goheerow, I also try everything I can to avoid layovers when traveling with my daughter. Totally understand that decision. 🙂

    @Carl, ha ha. I promise to never dress you in that outfit. 🙂

    @MMS, nice! It is so handy when airlines let you piece together one-ways with rewards!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *