You may have seen discounted Southwest gift cards available at stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s and others. They are often $500 gift cards on sale for $429 or $449.

Many people tell me they are very tempted by this offer, because on the surface, it DOES look like a great deal. And many other sites and forums will tell you that it IS a great deal.

But as someone who looks at things a little differently than the rest, I want to explain to you why it’s NOT a good deal even though it might seem like you’ve found the best discounted Southwest gift cards.

This is the kind of INSIDER information we share through email and mobile alerts every week inside of Families Fly Free, my membership which teaches you the simplest, most efficient way to always fly your whole family for free using travel rewards.

Here’s why buying a discounted Costco Southwest gift card or Sam’s Club Southwest gift card is NOT a good idea.

1. You should ALWAYS book Southwest in points, NEVER cash.

buy Southwest gift cards

    When you book a Southwest flight with cash/credit/dollars and you need to make a change to your flight (including the many tricks we teach inside of Families Fly Free) or cancel your flight, you end up with an inflexible Southwest travel credit.

    These credits never expire, but they can ONLY be used by the person they were originally associated with and cannot be combined with points.

    That means you might end up paying out of pocket for a fare if your travel credit doesn’t cover the full amount. We’re trying to show you how to fly for FREE and that’s not free! It’s actually COSTING you money.

    When you book Southwest with points instead, you get COMPLETE flexibility.

    You can cancel and change to your heart’s content (especially when the fares go down) and the points go right back in your account to be used with other points whenever you need.

    Plus, Southwest points NEVER expire, and they can be used to book ANYONE on a flight. 

    Inside Families Fly Free, we show you how to book Southwest flights in points even if you don’t have any points yet.


    2. Southwest gift cards can ONLY BE USED to book airfare and they function as “cash”.

    discounted Southwest gift cards

    Southwest gift cards CANNOT be used to buy Early Bird, upgraded boarding or in-flight purchases. They also CANNOT be used to buy more Southwest points. You can read these restrictions for yourself right here in the Terms & Conditions.

    You could use a Southwest gift card for the mandatory taxes and fees, but those are only $5.60 per way and can be “erased” through credits on several Southwest cards and other travel cards. We also have some other “tricks” to help you cover those tiny fees that don’t involve an outlay of ~$500 that could take you years to spend.

    And remember, gift cards CANNOT be combined with points to purchase fares

    And $449 might be a “deal”, but the best deal is FREE. We teach you to fly FREE using points only.

    Bottom line: Southwest gift cards are an inflexible way to buy fares and don’t allow you to use all the tricks and hacks we play with Southwest points to pay fewer points for every flight.

    So you can skip the $500 Southwest gift card at Costco!

    Where to buy discounted Southwest gift cards?

    Remember, we do NOT recommend buying discounted Southwest gift cards, or Southwest gift cards, at all, but you’ll most often find them at the following stores…

    • Costco
    • Sam’s Club
    • BJ’s

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