Today Is The Last Day To Book Southwest Awards Before Mystery Devaluation

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Today is the last day to book Southwest awards before the mystery devaluation occurs tomorrow.

Southwest originally launched Rapid Rewards 2.0 with 60 points being worth $1 of “wanna get away” fares.  On 03/31/14 they decided that was too generous and adjusted that to make 70 points worth $1 of “wanna get away” fares.

Varying taxes can make Southwest points worth anywhere from 1.6-1.9 cents each.

Now they are moving away from a set value completely and will move towards the JetBlue model where there is a greater variance in what their points are worth based on a non-published formula.

Or in their own words,

“We created Rapid Rewards because we think you deserve to actually feel rewarded. And, from time to time we must make some updates to our program. Beginning April 17, 2015, the number of Rapid Rewards Points needed to redeem for certain flights will vary based on destination, time, day of travel, demand, fare class, and other factors. However, there are still many flights which will stay at the current redemption rate. And don’t forget that when fares go on sale, so do the points needed for redeeming for a reward flight on those fares.”

That’s about as opaque as they could possibly get.

It’s bizarre that fixed value programs need to devalue. The thinking behind devaluations in traditional mileage programs is that as airfares climb, so should the mileage required. But when each mile has a set value, why is there ever a need to devalue?

Personally I chase the aspirational aspect of miles, which means I focus on the programs that offer outsized value for premium cabin awards. And I love the BA program which offers great flat-rate awards for short-haul flights.

But people do love the Southwest program for its baggage policy and for its companion pass program. When you earn 110K points in a calendar year you can bring along a companion for free on paid and award tickets until the end of the following calendar year.

The best part of the program is that they allow free redepositing of awards. Take advantage of that now to lock in award travel at current rates. Worst case is that you can always redeposit those points if you can’t take the trip.

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31 Comments On "Today Is The Last Day To Book Southwest Awards Before Mystery Devaluation"

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Mark

What’s unfortunate about Southwest’s rewards program is how badly it has devalued for the actual fliers. 6 years ago a student could get a free round trip ticket anywhere southwest flew after just 4 round trip flights. Now you may need well over 15 round trip flights to get that reward ticket.

But I have my companion pass so I’m still loving it.

but

Even though they redeposit the points, don’t they not refund the $5.60 per leg?

Dan

@Mark:
All programs are headed that way. They would rather reward credit card spenders than flyers because cc spenders are more profitable.

@but:
They do refund the taxes. You’re mixing up Southwest with British Airways.

Rita B

I agree I used to rack up on all those flights between AirTran and southwest! Now they’ve made it so difficult! They had the quicker and easiest fly free (domestic) program out there. It’s unfortunate. I have a one way award ticket left so I guess I should call and book so I don’t lose out?

slickrivk

I always get the tax refunded.

Mark

Yes but I think ultimately it will undermine flyer loyalty. Thank you for helping me get the credit card game.

Zow

We recently cancelled a trip and were told that the $5.60 is refunded on the original ticket but not on the companion. Does that make any sense?

Ikey

Yes, they do refund the $5.60 tax but always check your credit card statement to make sure. On my last statement my refund was not there, and I’m currently running through the airlines bureaucracy.

Anonymous

@Zow:
You get a refund on the companion’s $5.60 as well. When you cancel your ticket, make sure to check the box to refund the money instead of holding onto it for future travel.

e n

@Zow: not at all

Chana Goldberger

I am about 2k miles short for the trip I would book. Can I transfer miles from any other program to RapidRewards, and if so, how?

Dan

@Chana Goldberger:
Chase points transfer to Southwest.

Hatikvah

Dan- I’m holding off on getting the companion pass because of the devaluation heard about it a while ago. Did the daily getaways choice hotel deal to load up and Chase transfer to Hyatt 50:30 to sw for the rest. Do you think this devaluation will have any real affect or should I just pull the trigger?

bignit

Is transfer from chase to southwest instant?

Dan

@Hatikvah:
Southwest will still be a great value if you have a companion pass.
That being said, no reason not to wait one more day.

@bignit:
Yes.

jaredmiami

@Dan:

I think that feature/program was discontinued.

Dan

@jaredmiami:
False.

jaredmiami

@dan
With any Ultimate reward points?
I have them all on a Freedom Card.

Dan

@jaredmiami:
Freedom can’t transfer points to miles.
You or your spouse needs a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus.

InLuvWithSW

Southwest is still the best domestic airline in many ways, despite their mystery devaluation. What other airline offers the flexibility of changing/cancelling at any time in 3 clicks with no penalty or cash out of your pocket???

Can’t believe Virgin America beat them to Hawaii though, BUMMER!!!

Dan

@InLuvWithSW:
BA Avios for 4.5K Avios+$5.60 only charge $5.60 to cancel.

IsraelGuy

If you book at the current rate and want to use the companion pass, does the companion have to be named and included in the booking today as well?

Dan

@IsraelGuy:
No, you can add a companion later.

Sam

If my wife got approved for the southwest credit card, can I put my own Southwest account number on her card so her points will help my account get to 110k

IsraelGuy

@Dan
Same thing holds true for international travel? What about with infants?

IsraelGuy

@Dan
Also free redepositing not the case on international travel?

YAKW

Thanks for the heads up. Just booked my kids tickets to and from Yeshiva through Succos.

Chana Goldberger

I am getting an error message trying to book flights. Do you think this is because of high volume from DansDealers trying to all book tonight?

Deltahater

@Sam:

No you can’t. Not only won’t you get not get the points, your wife won’t either. Total loss concept.

Askmoses

@Chana Goldberger: Negative. Booked a tentative trip (and companion pass booking) around that time. Thanks Dan for the heads up!

Sam

@Dan

I am comparing flights that I searched for yesterday to the same flights that I searched today and it seems the cost of points for the flights are the same and nothing changed.

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