Is It Worth Purchasing Southwest Points with a 40% Bonus?

Aug 20, 2015

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Now through August 23 (Sunday), Southwest is offering targeted Rapid Rewards members a 40% bonus on purchases of 5,000 or more Rapid Rewards points. Southwest usually sells Rapid Rewards points in increments of 1,000, starting at 2,000 points with a daily maximum purchase of 60,000 points and no annual max.

The price is normally 2.75 cents apiece (so $27.50 per 1,000 points), but with this promo, that rate drops down to 1.96 cents per point. The last time we saw a purchased-miles promotion from Southwest was back in April, when they were offering a 35% bonus on purchased or transferred points, so this is a better deal than that.

Southwest is offering certain Rapid Rewards members a 40% purchase bonus. But is it worth it?
Southwest is offering certain Rapid Rewards members a 40% purchase bonus. But is it worth it?

However, keep in mind that since Southwest’s devaluation last year, and the untethering of Rapid Rewards points from fixed-value redemptions, the value you tend to get per point on Wanna Get Away fares (the saver level of Southwest redemptions), can vary between about 1.25-1.9 cents per point.

For instance, this roundtrip flight from Burbank to Las Vegas is $138:

BUR LAS price

Or 7,150 points:

BUR LAS points

So you’d only be getting about 1.77 cents per point in value. In general terms, that’s not bad. But when you consider that even with the 40% bonus you’re just getting points for 1.96 cents apiece, it’s not a winning proposition.

If you’re just looking to buy a few thousand points to top up your account, this might be worth it. But before you buy (purchases are non-refundable and non-reversible), be sure to check the potential routes you’re interested in using your points on and calculating the value you’ll get from them just to make sure you’re not losing too much money on a points purchase. Also note that Southwest points purchases are processed by, so you’re not getting any airfare or travel category bonuses by using a card like the Premier Rewards Gold from Amex or the Citi Premier Card.

Keep in mind, there are also some other great options out there to top up your Rapid Rewards balance. For instance, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account at a 1:1 ratio instantly and for free.

You can also earn 25,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points with the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa when you apply and spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. The points from this sign-up bonus and spending on the card are also eligible toward the Southwest Companion Pass, so if you’re looking for ways to stock up on points and get closer to that Companion Pass, that’s another good option. However, the bonus on this card periodically goes up to 50,000 points, so you might want to hold off on it for now.

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