Southwest Just Made It More Expensive to Redeem Points for Its Cheapest Fares

Apr 3, 2018

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Southwest Airlines has adjusted the value of its points in its Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program. Rapid Rewards has been revenue-based since 2011 — meaning you earn and redeem points based on the price of your ticket.

The program is making a few changes according to View From The Wing, the first being that it’s lowering the number of points per dollar needed for Business Select fares by 35% and Anytime fares by 22%.

Now for the bad news: It’s increasing the number of points needed for cheap Wanna Get Away fares by 6%.

Southwest modified its redemptions rates today — here’s a breakdown of the changes:

  • Business Select fares used to cost about 120 points per dollar and will now cost about 78 points per dollar.
  • Anytime fares used to cost about 100 points per dollar and will drop to 78 points per dollar.
  • Wanna Get Away fares used to cost 72 to 74 points per dollar and should now cost about 76 to 78 cents per dollar.

It appears that Southwest is standardizing award redemptions across all fare types, which makes sense given that points are earned and can be redeemed based on the dollar value of the ticket. Southwest was essentially penalizing customers for redeeming for its two more premium fare classes, but now all points will essentially have the same value no matter what ticket type you redeem for.

View From The Wing reports that most redemptions are made for Wanna Get Away fares, so for some this could be seen as a devaluation. Although for those who prefer to redeem for Business Select or Anytime Fares, this is definitely positive news.

The difference between Anytime and Wanna Get Away fares is that Anytime fares are refundable. Business Select fares are refundable and come with priority boarding, access to the priority security lane and a complimentary premium drink.

This change could very well alter Rapid Rewards points’ standing in TPG’s points valuations. Currently we peg the currency at 1.5 cents per point.

Featured image by Tomás Del Coro / Flickr.

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With the Southwest Plus credit card you'll earn 3,000 points each year after your cardmember anniversary. Southwest also offers one of the most lucrative airline perks - the Companion Pass.

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