Our Trip Around the World: Des Moines to Portland on Southwest

Hello everyone! We have finally embarked on our trip around the world! Its very exciting to finally get going after spending a couple months planning, and a rather hectic last couple weeks working at my full time job, along with my additional side jobs.  Anna-Lisa and I are looking forward to sharing our trip on this blog with all interested parties.

Des Moines to Portland via Vegas

Our first leg of the trip took us to visit friends in Portland, OR.  We had always wanted to go visit Portland while we were in California, but somehow didn’t get around to it, so going now was very exciting.  Anna-Lisa is putting together a post about all the stuff we did there (mainly eating).  Our 2.5 days went by way too quickly, but I’m already excited to go back during the wintertime so we can go snowboarding.

I was excited to be able to use Southwest to fly from Des Moines (DSM) to Portland (PDX) via Las Vegas (LAS).  Southwest started flying out of DSM to Chicago Midway in late 2012, but only just started a 2nd direct flight to Vegas at the end of September.  LAS is Southwest’s western hub, so connecting through there allows you to get to about 20 different west coast airports (click here for their full route map).

Back in March 2013 I put together a post about why I love Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program.  I’ve made updates to the post recently because the 50,000 point bonuses are available again for a limited time until October 31st.  If you are interested in saving money on travel domestically, I highly suggest you read that post and the updates and sign yourself up for a couple of these cards, as they will be worth $1400-$2800 in value over the next couple years.  Anna-Lisa and I took a trip to New York City in May which cost us $15 plus about 33,000 Southwest Points ($1,150 otherwise). This current trip cost us almost 18,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards and $10, instead of two tickets which would have cost about $600 total.

These amazing savings are due to the Southwest Companion Pass, which allows me to bring Anna-Lisa on any Southwest trip I take for free (well $5 due to taxes)!!Companion Pass

What is exciting about Southwest’s program is that you can always book any single available seat, it might simply cost you a lot of points to do so! Each point is currently worth about 1.7cents (which turns into 3.4cents with the companion pass).  Unfortunately Southwest is devaluing their program a bit in March 2014 and the points will only be worth about 1.45cents each, but that’s still a good value.


We are currently just about to leave Seattle on our flight to Dubai, so I have to leave you now!!  We will have plenty more writing later.  Make sure to read the previous Southwest post and let us know if you have any questions.


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