Southwest Devalues Their Points Without Warning!

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en:user:DonFB [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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Southwest has devalued their points overnight, without providing any warning. A redemption on a $50 award flight that was worth 1.73 cents per point is now worth 1.62 cents per point.

Southwest devaluations are typically gradual, so that customers remain like the fabled slowly boiled frog. The fact that it was done without warning is wholly unacceptable.

When Rapid Rewards 2.0 launched, you needed 60 points per dollar of airfare.

Back in 2013, a $58.90 ticket from Louisville to Atlanta was just 2,890 points+$2.50, a value of 1.96 cents per point:

https://www.dansdeals.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/wn1.png

 

 

They devalued that to needing 70 points per dollar in 2014, but provided 6 months advance notice of that devaluation.

Now they’ve devalued them to needing 83 points per dollar and it was done without warning.

Today, a $66.98 ticket from Louisville to Atlanta is 4,060 points+$5.60, a value of 1.51 cents per point:

 

The exact value of Southwest points today will vary based on the fare.

For example, a flight from Long Island Islip to Fort Lauderdale on 5/12 is $98.98 or 6,531+$5.60, a value of 1.43 cents per point.

Or a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco on 5/16 is $48.98 or 2,671+$5.60, a value of 1.62 cents per point.

Yesterday, that $48.98 flight cost 2,510 points, a value of 1.73 cents per point.

Of course, Southwest is a revenue based mileage program where the cost of an award is directly tied to the cost of a flight. Other programs claim they need to devalue when the cost of flights go up, but a revenue based program shouldn’t need to be devalued as points requirements automatically go up when flight costs go up.

We’ve been through no notice changes with Southwest before.

On 1/1/17 they killed the ability to earn Companion Pass via hotel point transfers without warning.

2 days later they gave into pressure on social media and gave a 3 month reprieve.

Let them know your thoughts about devaluations without warning, you can like and retweet this:

It’s another reason why I try to keep most of my mileage balances in bank points like AMEX or Chase where they won’t be devalued based on the whims of an individual airline.

HT: mochjas, via DDF

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40 Comments On "Southwest Devalues Their Points Without Warning!"

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Abey

Inflation? I 6% increase across the board is not crazy, although would be nice to give notice.

Other programs just butcher specific redemptions which are costing them money, far more terrible

Confused

Is the award rate is tied to the cash price, then why is the redemption cents per point value different on different routes ? Sometimes you get 1.67 while others 1.48 point ?

Jim

Still will always fly southwest, they are always loyal to their customers!! Extended my companion pass to the end of 2021. 3 years of campinion pass, which other airline does that!!! Additionally, 2 free bags, and free cancellation on award flights, even pre covid. Additionally, with all these free change in flights for the same value, they are practically giving you a free flight. There is no airline that conpares to southwest. Especially now that we see airlines like united pushing for more woman pilots as opposed to more experienced pilots. This is really a no brainer. Just my little rant. Have a good day

Met

In my opinion, Southwest is still one of the best airlines given their 2 free checked bags and incredible cancellation policies

Southwest Guy

You can put in the tweet – Where’s the Transfarency?

John

As long as they have the free date changes every now and then I am happy 🙂

Yoni

Well it’s a good thing I just used 240,000 points in the last 14 days.

Dov

Southwest only Flies domestic, correct?
Also when I ever I use the priceline search engine southwest flights are not showing up. Any reason for that ?

Jim

If you want to complain and we should complaint against any devaluation not that the timing is the issue . So if they say we will devalue after 2 months you should say thank you ?

Peri

When having a companion pass does the free pass have any worth if you still have to pay the tax portion of the ticket?

Ben

Based on this I’m guessing the ability to redeem points for 1 cent towards Amazon GCs is never coming back….

jenny

The redemptions for anything but flights have been unavailable for over a year. Now they are back, but are awful….

#1DanFan

Guess that explains why they let us convert travel funds into points a few months ago… Really sneaky

Slow Joe

In short they just gave out massive CC sign up bonuses and now devalued the points so it won’t cost them anything….

But I still prefer southwest, there customer service is spectacular!
And as a companion pass holder and the no fare difference change policy that has been on and off for a long while now. The value I get is amazing! I fly with my wife and 2 kids who under 2 for the price of one and since there are usually a couple of empty seats they allow me to bring car seats on for my kids, that’s 4 seats for the price of one.
Recently I booked a flight with points that in the end I didn’t need and I forgot to cancel it, they automatically refunded me the points once the flight left. I believe most airlines will say tough luck and keep your points.

Chaim

@dan, can you post that southwest is allowing free changes including fare difference. I just changed a flight originally booked for 04/21. It’s letting you change for free for 30 day (until 05/21)

Jeremy

This sucks and I am *definitely* not the type of person to sugar coat bad news, BUT….in this case, I agree with the other guy who said as long as we continue to have periodic access to this glory hole of changes with no fare difference, I am happier than a pig in sh*t. I have save soooooo much money with that thing.

That said, all things being equal, it’s still pretty sleazy to devalue without notice.

mountain man

the point costs have been variable for a long time. you always ought to pull out the calculator to determine if you’re getting good bang for your buck.

Isaac

Not to mention they had a promotion not long ago to transfer Chase UR for 20% more SW points. Pushing people into devaluation…

S

By leaving points in a programs ‘bank’, we’re essentially giving them an interest free loan on the points value.
Nevertheless, they still feel the need to do devaluations, effectively paying us negative interest rates for leaving our points in their bank.
It seems the programs are almost always devaluing, and rarely the other way around.
Why is that? Are we just past the golden era of point programs?

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