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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Southwest sent out an email to members this week with the following offer: Now through November 13, get a 30% discount when buying at least 5,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. We don’t often see buy-points deals from Southwest, so this promotion likely leaves many Southwest flyers wondering whether or not this is a good deal.

For better or worse, Southwest points have a fairly defined value. You’re not going to be able to get spectacular value out of buying points and redeeming them for first class awards like you can with Alaska miles. Instead, Southwest award flights are redeemable based on the following general formula:

  • Business Select fares: 78 points per dollar (1.28 cents per point)
  • Anytime fares: 78 points per dollar (1.28 cents per point)
  • Wanna Get Away fares: around 76-78 points per dollar (1.28-1.31 cents per point)

That said, this formula is based on the base airfare cost, before taxes and fees. So, the actual value you’ll get from an award will be around 1.4-1.5 cents per point. TPG’s current valuation of Southwest points sits at 1.5 cents per point.

Armed with that knowledge, let’s check out how much Southwest is selling points for during this promotion:

Buy Points Discount/Bonus Price Per Point
Buy 2,000 — 4,000 points No discount or bonus 3.3 cents
Buy 5,000 — 60,000 points 30% discount 1.925 cents

As you can see, even with the 30% discount, the price of Southwest points is much higher through this promotion than the value you’d get from them.

But what about if you’re just shy of an award? First, keep in mind that the rate for buying 2,000 – 4,000 miles is punitive at 3.3 cents per point — more than twice the value of the points. But even when you’re looking to top off your account with 5,000+ points, I’d suggest you look for another source. Your best bet for quick Southwest points are Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which transfer to Southwest instantaneously.

If you’re short of a redemption and have some time before booking a flight, I’d recommend generating more points by signing up for a — or spending on an existing — Southwest card like the:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card: Earn 60,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Or, you can earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards with a card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel and dining; 50,000 point sign-up offer), Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel and dining; 50,000 point sign-up offer) or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (3x on travel and more; 80,000 point sign-up offer).

There’s really only one time I’d suggest someone take advantage of this promotion: If you’re trying to book a great Southwest deal before it sells out or have an urgent flight need and:

  • are short of Southwest points
  • don’t have Ultimate Rewards points to transfer
  • need to minimize your out-of-pocket cost as much as possible

Only then would I say that it’d make sense to buy enough points to complete the redemption. Otherwise, I’d recommend avoiding this promotion and only use Southwest points you earn through flying or spending on a credit card.

Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Earn 2 points $1 on Southwest and Rapid Rewards car and hotel purchases and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. This card also comes with an annual $75 travel credit.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year.
  • 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on inflight purchases made with your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$149
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.