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Southwest 30% Off Sale… And A New Policy On Restricting Fare Sales From Point Redemptions?

by on July 3, 2013 · 5 comments

in Southwest

In honor of the 15th anniversary of its “Click ‘N Save” emails, Southwest is holding a 30% off sale on flights on certain dates this summer. It’s not exactly an overwhelming sale since flight dates are limited, but if the dates fit your travel needs, you might as well get a discount. Unfortunately, points aren’t pegged to the sale prices, so if you want to use your Rapid Rewards points for sale flights, you’ll actually be getting a worse value for them than the usual 1.8-1.9 cents you usually get with Wanna Get Away fares. Southwest Rapid Rewards is a fixed value point system, so normally cheaper fares = cheaper point redemptions, but not in this case. I hope this is a glitch more than a policy change.

Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 11.09.04 AM

Use the promo code SAVE30 on reservations booked by July 4 & save 30% on travel on the following dates on roundtrip Wanna Get Away? fares:

August 27
September 1
September 6
September 10
September 17
September 24

30% is a decent discount – and even more so since the promo code can be used on reservations of up to eight (8) people, so you could end up saving a lot. Although the dates are limited, if one portion of your itinerary is on an eligible date and the return is not, you still get the 30% discount on the flight(s) on the eligible date, so you are still saving some money.

To take a quick example, let’s say you were sweltering in the middle of the country this summer and wanted to take a trip from Kansas City to sunny San Diego right around the Labor Day holiday. Ordinarily a roundtrip on the non-stop service between the two would cost you $392, but with this promo, you save over a hundred dollars and the fare clocks in at $281.

Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 11.16.50 AM

Not On Points

As I mentioned, the terms state that points reservations are not included, and in fact, if you try to select points as your payment option when viewing fares, you get the following error message.

Southwest error messageTo test it out, I looked at non-sale dates for that Kansas City – San Diego trip, and the outbound ticket was $196 with the return at $235.

Southwest non sale dollarsI then looked at what it would cost using points.

Southwest non sale pointsAs you can see, the $196 fare required 11,100 points – or about 1.77 cents per point, and the return required 13,400 points, or about 1.75 cents per point.

On the sale days, the sale price came out to $141 for each way, but here’s what happened when I clicked on points.

Southwest sale points.As you can see, even the cheaper $141 fare required 11,100 points (the return was more expensive on the non-sale day even than the base fare the sale was based on because it is Labor Day weekend). That only gives you a value of 1.27 cents per point – much worse. 30% worse, to be exact.

So if you’re thinking about buying tickets through this sale, definitely pay in cash and not points since the sale fares are definitely excluded from points redemptions and you’ll end up getting a lot less value for your Rapid Rewards points.

Here are the rest of the terms and conditions:

  • This multi use promo code is required to be used in the Promo Code box on southwest.com or SWABIZ.com in order to receive 30 percent discount off roundtrip Wanna Get Away® fares during the valid travel dates listed below.
  • Roundtrip travel required. Reservations can include up to eight people.
  • Discount is valid on new reservations only and purchase must be made starting 7/2/2013 and prior to 11:59 pm for the respective time zone of the originating city on 7/4/2013 for travel 8/27, 9/1, 9/6, 9/10, 9/17, and 9/24/13.
  • 30 percent discount code is valid for the Wanna Get Away Fares only and is applied before taxes and fees.
  • 7-day or more advance reservation may be required.
  • To obtain discount on existing reservations meeting all requirements of this discount offer, the reservation must be cancelled and a new reservation booked using the discount code (fare rules apply).
  • Discount will apply only on the valid travel dates. If one direction of the trip is outside the valid dates and one is within the valid travel, only the portion of travel falling within sale dates will be discounted.
  • Changes made to the itinerary after purchase will eliminate qualifications for this promotion. The discount is only valid with the provided Promotion Code and is not combinable with other Promotion Codes or fares available exclusively through the web tool DING!
  • Discount is not valid on reservations made using Rapid Rewards Points.
  • Discount is not valid on Group Travel product.
  • Air Fares for Jackpot and Southwest Vacations package deals have been discounted by 30% for eligible markets and dates. Discount Code is not needed to receive 30% off the air fare portion of the package deal.

So while it’s a pretty limited promo for an anniversary sale, at least there are some savings to be had, and depending on your travel dates and the size of your reservation, you could end up saving a chunk of change.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Mommy Points

    They seem to include points at the discounted rate when the actual price is just lower (like their $59/$79/$99/etc sale), but there have been several times when the points redemption levels aren’t lower when a promo code is in play. So I don’t think it is a glitch, but it isn’t a brand new direction either.

    Have a great 4th!

  • vortix

    This practice of not allowing point redemptions on special sales like this is not new. Southwest has been doing this for quite some time. However, they also have some sales that are valid for point redemptions. It always pays to read the T&C’s on Southwest’s fare sales.

  • ez-e

    Definitely not a new policy… any discount that requires a promo code on SW has not been valid with points redemptions for quite some time now.

  • Sat

    Ofcourse, this is not new at all….I have been booking my flights using points without discounts, while southwest publishing sale discounts of….this has been around atleast 10months+ because I have booked first flight 10 months back using points….

  • Michael H

    As others have pointed out, this crappy behavior by Southwest is not new. The fact that they’ve been doing it for a while doesn’t make it okay though. It’s a BS policy. Southwest deserves to be called out on this. They constantly rave about the value of Rapid Rewards points but then through shady tactics like this they quietly devalue them in a way not obvious to the average person. It’s cheesy.

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