Southwest Rapid Rewards Devaluation


Update: Book Southwest tickets by Sunday, 03/30, to lock in lower rates before they are devalued.  You can always cancel for free later on if you need to. Note that you can still transfer Southwest points to Airtran or to the old Southwest program (as described below) which isn’t being devalued.


Originally posted on 09/23/13:

Apparently Southwest realized that their program might be a bit too generous.  Effective for tickets purchased on 03/31/14 you’ll need 70 points per dollar instead of 60 points per dollar.

What does that mean?

The ticket pictured below is $48 plus tax. 48×60=2,880 which is the amount of points that you need now.

When you book an award the tax goes down to just $2.50 per leg, so in this case you can either pay $58.90 or 2,880 points plus $2.50.  So 2,880 points saves you $56.40 or a value of 1.96 cents per point.  If you have the annual companion pass then 2,880 points will save you $112.80 or a value of 3.92 cents per point.

Starting on 03/31/14 this ticket would need 48×70=3,360 points. So 3,360 points saves you $56.40 or a value of 1.68 cents per point.  If you have the annual companion pass then 3,360 points will save you $112.80 or a value of 3.08 cents per point.  That a 14.3% devaluation (2,880/3,360) though you can lock in future travel by just booking before 03/31.

The exact value per point will vary based on the route.

You will still be able to redeem points for gift cards for hundreds of stores a 1 cent per point to 50K points=$500 gift card.

You can also transfer 19,200 Southwest points to Airtran where they will be enough for 2 one-way flights or 4 business class upgrades.  From Airtran they can be transferred back into Southwest’s old program where they can also be used for a free round-trip.  However the Airtran and old Southwest program are subject to capacity controls while the new program has no capacity controls.

And of course you can still cancel and change awards for free, something that can set you back hundreds of dollar with other programs.  And you still get 2 free checked bags per person.















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21 Comments On "Southwest Rapid Rewards Devaluation"

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Pity that the little doohickeys that save Southwest 54 million gallons of fuel per year can’t also save the value of my Southwest points.


It stinks, but at least they’re giving a long notice.



Can u book now for after 03/14?

Just thinking

When was the last time in the past 3 years that a mileage program got BETTER? (Avios not included).


You can usually book Southwest flights about 5-7 months into the future.

@Just thinking:
United (huge improvement over the old United program)
ANA (no fuel surcharges on USAir/United)
Singapore (access to suites at saver rates)
AA (one-way awards)


What are the chances of them reconsidering if there is a big social media outcry? Like what seemed to happen with AA a few weeks ago?


Nothing happened or changed with AA. Was a silly misunderstanding.

But feel free to hit them up on Twitter and Facebook, nothing to lose.


What’s with the 19.2k on airtran that you speak of? Is that for RT anywhere in the US?
Do they fly to NYC airports?





yiu didn’t mention that this is only applicable fir the wanna get awwy fares


Do they waive annual fee first year? Through sm


Dan, Thanks for the notice

BTW how often do you recall that south west should make a SALE like it was last June 2013?
is it ones a year? or twice a year? do you recall approximately the time of the year when they usually offer it?


what’s the difference between wanna get awwy fares and reguler fares?


do the 50k points you get for signing up count toward the 100k needed for a companion pass?



Yes. 100%.


@DAN , I want to transfer points to airtran for the old standard awards , any idea how to check for the standard award availability on the old plan ?


@E N:

Not sure what last years sale was, but there is one running now.

BWI-CLE as low as $93 or 4576 points (one way)


I am curious if you book fares at the lower rate today, when you cancel, will they refund you the ‘going rate’, or what you actually spent on them. cant hurt to book some and see what happens.


@Username: The points will be refunded to your account and the new rate will apply. Rapid rewards work differently than United. RR required for travel are based soley upon the amount of the ticket. If you want to keep a current price, use RR 1.0 provided that its worth the miles for the trip you’d be booking.


@Dan: Thank you Dan! I’m booked to SJU and LAX this summer #beatthedeval