It’s not often that you can earn points for joining an airline or hotel loyalty program these days. I mean, you can certainly earn after you join and start traveling, but the idea of a bonus just for giving them your name and number has become outdated.
Southwest Airlines is making it easier to earn a few extra Rapid Rewards points with a limited time promotion. Refer a friend by January 16, 2016, and you’ll get 500 points once they sign up. They’ll get 250 points, too. (This offer appears to be targeted, so check your email.)
Now, that’s not a lot of points. 2,000 Rapid Rewards points are worth somewhere around $30 for Wanna Get Away fares, depending on the route. But another way of looking at it is that you get free points for not a lot of effort. It also keeps your account active, and Southwest’s points normally expire if you’ve gone 24 months without activity.
Marriott has had a long-running promotion that’s more valuable and without expiration. I’ll mention it here because I started out by saying just how rare these offers are today.
You can refer up to five friends per year to the Marriott Rewards program, and you have the chance to earn 2,000 points for each stay they complete, up to five stays and 10,000 points per friend. That’s a total of 50,000 points per year. Even better, your friends get the same deal: 2,000 points for each of their first five nights.
Here’s the kicker: you’re limited to five referrals per calendar year, but those friends have 365 days to complete their five stays. With two weeks left in the year, you can still refer five friends now and another five beginning January 1. Depending on how close together they book their stays you could be earning 100,000 points in short order.
I’m not a particularly big fan of either Southwest or Marriott, but if anyone wants me to refer them, just shoot me an email. You can also share your contact information in the comments if you’d like to refer someone.