Flying With Southwest? Here's How Costco Can Save You $50 on Your Next Flight

Traveling by airplane has the potential to be an expensive prospect. Just the other day, I was looking at flights from the NYC area to Austin, Texas, for a random Tuesday in July, and lo and behold, my cheapest option was almost $800 for a round-trip. No thanks.

Now, the good news is that there are steps you can take to save money on airfare. These include:

But if you’re a Costco member and you tend to fly with Southwest Airlines pretty often, there’s a money-saving deal available right now that you do not want to pass up.

Instant savings on your next flight

Costco is well-known for its selection of bulk groceries and household essentials. And there can be some huge savings by stocking up on things like paper towels, pantry staples, and produce.

But one area where you can really save big at Costco is gift cards. Costco sells gift cards below their face value, so there’s always a good deal to be had — it’s just a matter of how much of a good deal you’re talking about.

Meanwhile, right now, Costco is selling a $500 Southwest Airlines electronic gift card for $449.99. So if you’re planning to fly Southwest, it pays to snag this deal while it’s available, because you’re guaranteed to shave $50 off of the cost of your flight.

Of course, there are some rules to follow. First, this gift card is not refundable, so before you buy it, make sure you can really use it. You should also know that a maximum of three Southwest Airlines gift cards can be applied per passenger on each reservation.

Also, Costco members are limited to five of these gift cards maximum. And while that’s a lot of money to shell out, you could also save yourself $250 on future flights. Since these gift cards don’t expire, if you can afford to lay out the money, it could make sense to load up.

Other ways to save as a Southwest passenger

Costco’s gift card offer is a great deal if you fly Southwest a lot. In fact, it might pay to get a membership for the express purpose of snagging this deal. If you pay $60 for a basic membership but buy two $500 gift cards for $450 apiece, you’ll more than make up your membership fee.

If you’re not a Costco member, you can use Southwest’s Low Fare Calendar to see which flights in the coming weeks are most competitively priced. This makes a lot of sense if you have flexibility in your schedule.

You can also forgo Southwest’s Earlybird Check-In, which gives you an earlier boarding position and a better chance to snag the seat you want. For a short flight, getting stuck in a lousy seat may not be such a big deal, and it could shave a little money off of your costs.

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