Southwest Tweaks the Value of Rapid Reward Points Southwest Tweaks the Value of Rapid Reward Points

Southwest Tweaks the Value of Rapid Reward Points

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Southwest has announced an adjustment to the value of Rapid Rewards when redeeming for airfare. Unlike most adjustments in the industry, this one is both good and bad depending on the type of tickets you normally redeem your Rapid Rewards — but the least expensive tickets are going up in price.


New Values

Southwest has a revenue-based earning and redemption program. When redeeming Rapid Rewards, you receive a fixed dollar value for your points based on the type of ticket (Business Select, Anytime or Wanna Get Away) you are purchasing. Prior to the change, you would receive the following values:

  • Business Select: 120 points per dollar
  • Anytime: approximately 100 points per dollar
  • Wanna Get Away: approximately 72-74 points per dollar

After the change, you will now receive the following values:

  • Business Select: 78 points per dollar
  • Anytime: approximately 78 points per dollar
  • Wanna Get Away: approximately 76-78 points per dollar

Is This a Positive Change?

If you regularly book Business Select or Anytime fares, this is a significantly positive change as the cost you'll pay with points has decreased considerably. On the other hand, if you typically book Wanna Get Away fares, then you have taken a small hit, although the change is very small since a $100 ticket will now set you back 200 to 400 points more, which is nowhere near some of the other devaluations we have seen in the airline industry.

Business Select fares see the biggest margin of gain with a $300 fare now pricing at 23,400 points instead of 32,000 points.

Our Take

Win. A small increase in Wanna Get Away, but huge decreases in Anytime/Business Select fares may find people paying up to cash in on more last-minute redemptions.

Source: One Mile at a Time

5 / 5 - (5 votes)

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  • Christina Stewart says:

    This change will still not affect our loyalty to Southwest and use of their program. For a family of four, it is much easier to redeem points to travel together, since more award seats are available than other airlines. Just as others have commented, most travelers earn points by business travel on Business Select or Anytime fares, then redeem them using Wanna Get Away, so this seems fair.

    I would like to see a blog post on best ways to redeem miles on all airlines for family travel and best time frame ahead of travel to book to be able to get seats on the same flight together. We’ve found this to be a bit tricky.

  • @Brian says: “Did anyone really book Business Select or Anytime fares using points?”

    @Thomas says: “…so were folks really booking those awards?”

    The more we see this question, the more we can start to believe that folks really weren’t booking them, I’d think.

  • Definitely a fairly minor up-charge on the WGA fares, which is good. However, what I find more striking is the reduction on Biz Select fares… I mean as far as SWA goes, “business” doesn’t really mean anything close to actually being in a premium cabin, or seat, so were folks really booking those awards? My guess is probably not, or at least not in significant numbers if the math works to let them go for considerably fewer points.

  • Since I’ve never booked a flight with them, no biggie to me. I keep looking at Southwest but never find them cheaper than a major carrier on the trips I need. I guess I need to just look at the their sale fares that are never when I need them. Oh well, maybe some day I’ll find the elusive low fare on Southwest that’ll be useful to me. But then the seat issue usually makes me not want to book also.

  • Not thrilled with the devaluation of wanna get away fares, but I guess it makes the next step up less of a jump if WGA is sold out.

  • Logan Fisher says:

    Well…on a positive note, they have a bonus offer on their website offering double points on all flight until June 12, 2018.

  • Not a positive valuation unfortunately!

  • Sounds like a win to me

  • Business select never seemeed worthwhile to me on SWA given you’re in the same seats as economy. Still I’m glad the devaluation is not too great in the classes I fly.

  • The reply buttons are broken for some reason.

    Anyways, I agree with “The only thing we’re assured of in this “game” is constant devaluation.” it is a race to the bottom.

  • Did anyone really book Business Select or Anytime fares using points? Maybe if the WGA fare was sold out, but there wasn’t a benefit as the WGA was also refundable when booked with points.

  • Overall a win to me!

  • The devaluations across the board are just wearing me out!

  • I’ll take it as a win. I’ve noticed a lot less “wanna get away” fares on some of the routes that I’m
    Interested in, so cheaper “anytime” redemptions seems like a good thing.

  • I’m wondering how difficult it will be to get the companion pass now.

  • deerseason says:

    For a revenue-based rewards system you’d think the cost would just be the same regardless of the seat type. Not crazy about devals, though.

  • Adam Parsons says:

    Thanks for a great article, I wouldn’t of known about this unless I read this blog!

  • luv the swa.

  • Ouch. What a bummer, but points inflation is inevitable. I always fly Wanna Get Away.

  • I know a lot of blogs have reported this change, but I don’t know if it’s really true. The reports I’ve seen look speculative for the change to Wanna Get Away fare redemptions. I made a redemption two months ago for a flight in June, and the flight is still pricing the same as before with points.

  • We’ve seen devaluations across the board but I’m glad with Southwest it’s not too significant.

  • Thanks for the heads up!

  • This is good to know. Southwest is alway an absolute last choice of a carrier for me but I do have some Rapid Rewards Points and they may be useful for a positioning flight sometime. It’s nice that it’s not completely bad news.

  • And to be clear, I don’t necessarily mean this action…this is mixed, and arguably good. But in general.

  • The only thing we’re assured of in this “game” is constant devaluation.

  • Im very short on Southwest-Points – but hearing about the possible redemptions, i might try to accumulate some more!