After starting a lucrative job with my new college degree, my dad decided to move from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale. He had lived in Southern California his whole life but found that he could finally buy that condominium he always dreamed about in Fort Lauderdale. He had a lot of things to pack and ship, which he accomplished using his Southwest credit card he had got a few months back after reading rave reviews about the same over at After he settled into his new home, I decided I should set up a housewarming party with all of his friends flying out to Florida. I was glad that I had my own Southwest credit card by then.

Because I knew I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my dad on this trip, I decided to buy all his housewarming gifts in Los Angeles and ship them. When I used my card, I started gaining valuable points. In fact, I bought so many appliances, linens and kitchen accessories to fill my dad’s new home, I passed the $1,000 threshold. When I checked my card account online, I found that I received 25,000 bonus points! I was glad I had a good excuse to use my card before the first 3 months was over, or I might have missed those glorious bonus points. Now, my card has enough points to start benefiting my trip with helpful discounts.

About 10 friends and family were flying to see Dad, so I decided to book all their hotel rooms with my credit card. I knew that my card offered Rapid Rewards points when I booked with certain partner companies. I found my favorite hotel and called them up. We were staying for three nights, so booking the rooms took some time. However, the hotel’s agent was truly polite and helpful as I filled up their rooms. After reviewing the final hotel charge, I realized that I was receiving double the points on my credit card. For each $1 I spent there, two points were added to my account! I was amazed at how fast the points added up. My trip would practically pay for itself with all the points I earned.

As I finished speaking with the hotel, I almost forgot about the car rental. Although Fort Lauderdale has some public transportation, I needed everyone to have freedom to move around the area, from visiting the beach to taking dad out to lunch. I looked up Southwest’s partners in car rentals. If I was going to book everyone’s rental, I knew that I wanted to receive as many card points as possible. I called up a Florida car rental facility and started the reservation process again. Although all this planning again took time, I was able to add to my extra points for the car rental as well. I still received two points for every $1 I spent. Because I was renting five cars, those points sure added up.

I was packing up all of my gifts to ship to Florida when I realized I hadn’t even booked the flights yet. To save time, I contacted Southwest directly. I explained my hotel and rental car dates to find the best round trip fares. They were as helpful as they guided me to an open flight that was perfect. They even gave me a choice of AirTran or Southwest. As they were booking the flights for all 10 people I was inviting, I read through my card point’s information. I was again receiving double points for each dollar I spent with Southwest. I was amazed at how fast the points added up.

While I was on the phone with Southwest, I knew that I wanted to purchase two more flights. But, they were international flights between Florida and Rio de Janeiro. My dad’s wife was from Rio, so I wanted them to enjoy time with her family when they were settled in Florida permanently. Southwest was able to help me find a reasonable flight to South America while gaining valuable points. I needed to ask my dad if they would stay with family or if they required a hotel in Rio. If a hotel was necessary, I would insist on paying for it with my credit card. Gaining all those points was going to help me finance my vacations in the future.

The trip out to Florida was smooth sailing. My dad was ecstatic to receive all the gifts and even marveled at my credit card points. Even his wife was thinking of applying for the same card. I hope my dad lets me book his hotel and rental car in Rio, however. My point total is growing by the minute, and extra charges only add to my excitement. Using my credit card for this long-distance housewarming get-together was a smart choice.