Buy Southwest Rapid Rewards Points At A Discount

Through May 31, 2014, Southwest is offering a 25% discount on the purchase of Rapid Rewards points. You can (though I don’t know why you would) purchase up to 60,000 Rapid Rewards points through this promotion.

The minimum number of points you can purchase through the promotion is 2,000, and then you can purchase them in 500 point increments above that. The 25% discount applies across the board, so it’s not like other promotions where it’s tiered and based on how many points you purchase.

Southwest-Rapid-Rewards

Factoring in the 25% discount, the cost per purchased point is 2.0625 cents. Now, Southwest has a strictly revenue based frequent flyer program, meaning the number of points that it takes to redeem for a flight is directly dependent on the cost of a paid ticket.

You can redeem each Rapid Rewards point for ~1.43 cents towards the cost of a “Wanna Get Away” fare, so it’s hardly worth paying ~2.06 cents for a point that will get you ~1.4 cents of airfare.

That being said, if you just need to top off an account with a couple of thousand points in order to make a “bigger” redemption, it could definitely make sense. If I had Chase Ultimate Rewards points I’d certainly prefer transferring them to Rapid Rewards rather than outright buying them, though I realize not everyone has those points.

The bonus also applies to gifting points (the math works out the same, you’re simply purchasing points for a different account) and transferring points (the math doesn’t work out favorably there since you’re not actually getting extra points for making the transfer, but rather just a discount, so no miles are being “generated”).

Lastly, for what it’s worth, Southwest Rapid Rewards points purchases are processed by points.com, so don’t qualify as airfare for the purposes of credit card spend. Purchased points should post within 72 hours.

(Tip of the hat to Deals We Like)

Comments

  1. Unless you have the companion pass, which would make the value of the points double to ~2.86 cents per point. As long as it doesn’t induce more spending for travel than you otherwise would take, you’d be coming out way ahead with this.

  2. A companion pass does not really double the value of the points. It’s true that you would get two flights for the points ordinarily required for one flight, but you’d also get that benefit with a paid ticket.

  3. @Bo Hale,
    You’re right, I was thinking about it the wrong way. A dollar spent with the CP is “worth more” than a dollar spent without it, not just the points. Is it wrong then that I tend to value my Chase UR points higher now, because of the transfer to SW? With my Freedom 5x bonuses, I think of it as ~14% cash back for use on SW flights.

  4. I am a rather infrequent traveler and recently lost ~850 points on Southwest because I didn’t have a qualifying purchase within the last 24 months as is their policy.

    Is it worth it to purchase points thru Southwest just to keep them from expiring? Especially since they have this promotion going on now?

  5. @Eric D – Better idea to go through the Southwest shopping portal. I do the same with United to keep my Mileage Plus account active and miles from expiring. Doesn’t cost you anything extra.

  6. Hard to believe Southwest is running such a scam, but they are doing exactly that.
    I just priced a flight in $ and points.
    $100 = about 6,000 points. How much does it cost to buy 6K points at “25% OFF”? $123.

    While claiming a 25% discount, they are charging you nearly 25% more to buy the points for a given flight than it would cost to just buy a ticket for the same flight.
    Making it worse, of course, is that when you fly on a paid ticket, you get more points for that purchase. When you fly on points you just use up your points.
    Not to mention if you wait for another of their regular fare sales to buy that ticket, the overpricing of the points vs cash fare would be even further out of whack.
    They try to conceal this by saying “if you need a few more points to reach an award level”. Then they set a minimum purchase of 2,000, and a max of 60,000. Who needs 60K points to top off an award level?
    My trust level with Southwest just got decimated. 🙁

  7. @Eric Nearly every program has a shopping mall. The way to keep points from expiring is to just buy some small item thru that shopping mall. You’ll typically get several points or miles per $ spent, and your account is set for another 18 to 24 months.

  8. Opps I made the same mistake Michael did with the sale fare. When the price goes down, so does the number of points it requires to pay for an award ticket.

    But the fact remains that SW is claiming a 25% off sale, but actually charging you over 25% more for the points than it would cost to buy a comparable ticket.

  9. WOW!!!

    I wish I would have looked at the Southwest shopping portal sooner, there are a TON of shops that are on the program.

  10. Yeah, good luck getting your points from Cartera…

    I will not buy these points. I’m still mad at Southwest for not honoring the “old” drink tickets!!!!

  11. Don’t forget that Southwest points bookings are fully refundable, revenue bookings are not. If you’re low on points and want to make bookings that may need to be cancelled, it might be worth purchasing points through this promotion. (In essence you’d be paying a small premium for additional flexibility – the same reason you might book a cancellable hotel stay at a higher price than a non-refundable one.)

  12. If for airlines “bad” points are points earned due to flying and “good” ones are on airline’s books due to everything else, do we need to have a third category for this scenario — “very good”? 😉

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