Southwest 25% Rapid Rewards Points Buy, Gift, Transfer Bonus - Worth It?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Now through May 31, 2014, Southwest is offering a 25% bonus when you buy, gift or transfer Rapid Rewards points. Points can be purchased, gifted, or transferred in blocks of 500 with a minimum initial purchase or transfer of 2,000 points and a daily maximum of 60,000 points.
Normally Southwest Rapid Rewards points cost 2.75 cents apiece to purchase for yourself or gift, but with this promo, they cost 2.0625. Transferring points usually costs 1 cent per point, but with this promo, it's 0.75 cents.
So then the question becomes, is it worth it? You get the best value from your Rapid Rewards points on Wanna Get Away fare redemptions. Southwest recently devalued these from 60 points per $1 in airfare to 70 points per $1 in airfare - so you're getting a value of 1.4 cents per point. In that case, buying points doesn't make much sense unless you just need a couple hundred or thousand to top up your account for a specific redemption.
Transferring miles might make more sense since it costs you less than half the value you'd get per point on a Wanna Get Away redemption, but again, I wouldn't go transferring huge amounts of points because if you're doing that, you might as well just use the points in your current account to book whatever fare you're thinking of rather than sending them to someone else and paying for it.
This could make sense if you are part of a pair that has a Companion Pass and you have more points in your account than the Companion Pass holder. In that case, you could transfer your points for 0.75 cents each to the Companion Pass holder and they could redeem for an award and bring you along - two tickets for the price of one, and a situation that actually brings your transfer-points cost to 0.375 cents per point.
As always, though, do the math for yourself and figure out if taking advantage of this makes sense for you. There are some other great options out there that might make better sense for you. For instance, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Bold or Ink Plus, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account at a 1:1 ratio instantly and for free, so that's a better option to top up your account if you can.
Not only that, but the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 40,000 bonus points when you apply and spend $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus those points are Companion Pass eligible, so if you're looking for ways to stock up on points, that's another great option.