While much of my typing is dedicated to the big network carriers, there’s a strong case to be made for building up points on the discount carriers, such as Southwest and JetBlue. At one time, these programs were considered inferior but, as they get better and the legacy airlines’ programs become more about dollars spent than miles flown, the discounters are becoming that much more important, particularly if most of your travel is domestic.
Southwest Airline’s program is called Rapid Rewards. You earn points based on the dollars you spend and the fare class that you fly (i.e., The more expensive Business Select fares earn a premium over the Wanna Get Away category, which has fewer perks but tends to be cheaper.). You can also use your points for any flight. No blackouts. The cost of a flight in points is based on the underlying cost of the ticket in dollars. Points translate in value as anywhere from 1.3 cents to 1.7 cents in value.
One of the easiest ways to get points on Southwest is by taking surveys through their partner site. It costs nothing to do so (except time) and earns you points easily. I do it while watching TV, so it doesn’t even really cost me time. Most airlines have survey partners, but Southwest is the only one that I know of that offers all three major survey companies.
The surveys are not particularly interesting, but it’s an easy way to grind your way to bonus points. Oh, here’s a hint: Set up a separate email address just for surveys. You can collect all your links at one site without having to deal with them in your main email account. Also, certain sites will give you extra points for signing up for free offers. You don’t need to deal with that spam.
e-Rewards is usually the most lucrative of the three. You earn e-Rewards “dollars,” which have no correlation to real-world dollars, for taking surveys. The fake currency can then be traded in for miles. They send one or two surveys every day and give you a small token reward (usually $.25-$.50 e-Rewards) if you don’t qualify for the survey. Be careful: Every once in a while, they’ll throw a question at you just to see if you are paying attention and not clicking on random answers. You get points just to sign up and take your first survey.
Valued Opinions is similar to e-Rewards. Unlike e-Rewards, though, you’ll need to select your prize when you sign up. If you want gift cards instead of Rapid Rewards points, you can choose that option. Remember, RR points are worth +/- 1.5c each.
e-Miles is slightly different than the above two, and possibly the least annoying. You are given a list of links and get points by clicking on them and, usually, answering 2-3 multiple choice questions. There are other opportunities, such as to sign up for a newsletter, that give you more points. That’s one reason that you want to use a separate email address. e-Miles also gives you points just to sign up.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes, earning miles is about grinding out the small opportunities here and there. These cost you nothing. Go ahead and sign up, and see what you can earn.Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!
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