Southwest is selling points with a 75% bonus, but you’ll still lose money

Apr 22, 2021

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Southwest Rapid Rewards is a revenue-based loyalty program where the amount of points required for an award flight is dictated by the revenue cost of the flight you want to book. Fresh off this month’s devaluation, it will take roughly 83 Rapid Rewards points per dollar of airfare to book an award flight. This makes a Rapid Rewards point worth about 1.2 cents per point (give or take a bit depending on some airfares).

Starting today through May 28, you can buy points with up to a 75% bonus:

If you buy the maximum allowed in this promotion, you’ll end up paying $1,650 for 105,000 points making the cost 1.57 cents per point. 

If you can only redeem points for 1.2 cents per point, but have to pay a minimum cost of 1.57 cents per point, you’re never going to come out ahead. It makes more sense to take your $1,650 you would spend on points and buy the revenue tickets from Southwest – which will earn your redeemable points as well as progress towards status and the Companion Pass. Purchased points do not count towards A-List status or towards earning the Companion Pass.

The only time I can think where it would make sense to buy a revenue-based loyalty program’s points is if you’re just short of a reward and need to top up an account to save yourself considerable money. Even then, a savvy TPG reader would have a stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards ready to be transferred over to your Rapid Rewards account so you don’t need to spend any money to top up an account or get a Southwest award flight.

75% is a good bonus, but the math still doesn’t work in your favor.

Featured photo courtesy Edward Russell/TPG.

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Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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