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If you’re thinking about getting a Southwest Airlines credit card, you may be able to earn 40,000 Rapid Rewards as a signup bonus. Here’s a peek at how far you can fly with 40,000 miles on Southwest and some of the other airlines.

Southwest Airlines Freedom One aircraft. Credit: Southwest Airlines

How Much Are 40k Miles Worth On Southwest?

Southwest Rapid Rewards can be some of the most valuable airline miles for domestic flights. Many domestic flights already cost less than flying a legacy carrier. And your first two checked bags fly for free plus you won’t pay a change fee.

The discount carrier’s “Southwest Effect” has a positive reputation for causing flight prices to decrease when they start serving new destinations.

In addition to the cheap award flights, the Southwest signup bonuses count toward the annual Southwest Companion Pass® points requirement.

Southwest Credit Cards

There are three personal Southwest credit cards to choose from:

All three cards have the same signup bonus—earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.

California to Hawaii (From 7,800 Miles One-Way)

One of the most anticipated routes before the 2020 pandemic was Southwest award flights from the U.S. west coast to Hawaii.

Many one-way flights cost between 15,000 and 20,000 miles plus $5.60 taxes and fees.

But you might be able to scoop up a seat for less than 10,000 miles. A recent search for departure dates in September 2021, has a one-way ticket from LAX to Honolulu for 7,883 miles.

The United States to Cancun (From 2,800 Miles One-Way)

Southwest also has several easy-to-reach international getaways in Latin America and the Caribbean. Mexico continues to have flexible entry requirements and attractive award flight pricing.

Some of the cheapest flights are from Chicago-O’Hare to Cancun with a one-flight costing 2,822 miles plus $35.32. That’s crazy cheap for an international award flight.

You may be able to find flights for as little as 8,300 miles plus $35.32 one-way from the southern United States to Cancun if your flight doesn’t originate from a major airport.

Chicago to Orlando (2,600 miles One-Way)

You can also find good travel deals from the Southwest hubs to popular US travel destinations. For example, you may want to fly from Chicago to Orlando to enjoy some southern sun and the iconic Florida tourist attractions.

A one-way flight from Chicago O’Hare to Orlando can be as low as 2,671 Rapid Rewards plus $5.60.

Flights with a more desirable flight schedule may cost between 6,000 and 8,000 for an entry-level Wanna Get Away fare.

Related: Best Southwest Credit Cards

40,000 United Airlines Miles

United Airlines recently switched to a variable pricing model so you may find that 40k miles are worth more. However, you can estimate the number of miles you need to fly to and fro. Here are some of the best United credit cards if you want to earn United miles.

Domestic Flights (12,500 One-Way)

One-way award flights in economy class cost 12,500 miles plus fees and taxes to fly within the continental United States and Canada at the Saver rate. Flights to Alaska can cost 17,500 miles.

Business and first-class flights can cost 25,000 miles each way.

You’ll pay more than flying on Southwest but United might be your best option if you don’t live near a Southwest Airlines hub.

International Flights (17,500+ One-Wway)

United can also be an excellent option for international flights as the airlines serve many destinations around the world. You can also book Star Alliance partner flights like ANA and Lufthansa and avoid fuel surcharges.

You can plan on setting aside the following number of miles for a one-way flight from the mainland United States to these destinations:

  • Europe: 30,000 miles in economy and 70,000 for business/first class.
  • Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America: 17,500 miles economy and 30,000 in premium
  • Japan: 35,000 miles economy and 80,000 miles in premium

Plus, 40,000 United miles will let you book a round-trip in economy to Latin America and the Caribbean. However, you’ll only get a one-way ticket across the ocean.

40,000 Delta SkyMiles

It’s hard to pin down exactly how many miles you might need for a Delta award flight besides entering your travel dates and airport details. Here are some examples of how much 40k miles are worth.

Domestic Flights (10,000+ One-Way)

One-way main cabin flights start at 10,000 miles one-way for most routes.

For example, you may find a one-way flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles for 11,000 miles plus $6 fees and taxes. However, this route costs 13,000 on most travel days.

If you prefer a little extra legroom, a one-way Delta Comfort+ seat costs 24,000 miles one-way.

San Francisco to Seattle (5,000 Miles)

One sweet spot is flying Delta Air Lines from San Francisco to Seattle for 5,000 miles each way.

International Flights

You can also use Delta for international flights but 40,000 miles restricts you to a coach ticket on Delta or a SkyTeam partner.

Some of the pricing options include:

  • Cancun: 17,000 miles plus $36
  • Bahamas: 18,000 miles plus $7
  • Montreal: 15,000 miles plus $11
  • Rome, Italy: 40,000 miles plus $23
  • Athens, Greece: 40,000 miles plus $23

Related: Best Delta Credit Cards

40,000 American Airlines Miles

American Airlines still publishes a fixed award chart and the MileSAAver rate can be a good deal for the main cabin and premium cabins. Here is how much 40k miles are worth with American Airlines.

Domestic Flights (7,500 Miles+)

American probably offers the best deal among the legacy airlines for short-haul flights.

Domestic flights shorter than 500 miles in the lower 48 US states and Canada cost 7,500 flyer miles.

All other domestic flights can cost 12,500 miles each way in economy and 25,000 miles in business or first class.

The Mainland United States to Hawaii (20,000+ One-Way)

One-way flights to Hawaii costs 20,000 miles (off-peak) and 22,500 miles (peak). Business/first-class seats are 55,000 miles each way.

The remaining off-peak dates to Hawaii in 2021 are:

  • August 11-November 18
  • November 24-December 10

It’s not the cheapest fare to the golden isles but can be a good deal if you’re flying from the eastern or northern United States and can’t easily get to a west coast airport that a discount carrier like Southwest or Alaska Airlines serves.

International Flights

It’s possible to book a round-trip economy award seat to nearby international destinations for under 40,000 miles.

You can scoop up additional savings by flying in the off-peak season.

One-way flight prices are as follows:

  • Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America: 12,500 (off-peak)/ 15,000 (peak)
  • Europe: 22,500 (off-peak)/30,000 (peak)
  • Asia: 32,500 (off-peak)/30,000 (peak)

Premium cabin seats to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America start at 25,000 miles in peak or off-peak season.

Here are the remaining off-peak travel dates for the 2021 flying season:

  • Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America: September 9-November 18, 2021
  • Europe: November 1-December 14, 2021

Online Web Special Awards

You may be able to find a limited-time Online Web Special award by logging into your American Airlines account. These discounts can be for domestic and international flights and are an exciting option if you have flexible travel plans.

Related: The Best Credit Cards for American Airlines Fliers

Summary

In conclusion, 40k miles are worth quite a bit. As you can see, 40,000 frequent flyer miles can be enough to book a round-trip to the mainland United States, Hawaii, or a tropical beach in the Caribbean or Mexico. It’s also enough points to at least get a one-way fare to Europe or upgrading to business class.

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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