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I’m a little bit late with this post as the information turned up while I was away from home and without Internet access and I’ve only just seen the email! Anyway, Southwest has got a promotion running whereby you can purchase Rapid Rewards points with a bonus of up to 60% (bonus is dependent on how many points you buy) up until 13 July – there was a flash sale where, for a few hours, you could get a bonus of up to 70% but that’s long gone…sorry!
Buy Southwest Rapid Rewards Points With A Bonus Of Up To 60%
Like most promotions we’re seeing, this one is tiered:
- Buy 5,000 – 10,000 Rapid Rewards Points – 40% Bonus
- Buy 11,000 – 20,000 Rapid Rewards Points – 50% Bonus
- Buy 21,000 – 60,000 Rapid Rewards Points – 60% Bonus
In monetary terms this works out to:
- Buy 5,000 – 10,000 Rapid Rewards Points at 1.96 cents each
- Buy 11,000 – 20,000 Rapid Rewards Points at 1.83 cents each
- Buy 21,000 – 60,000 Rapid Rewards Points at 1.72 cents each
At the top end of the tiering you would be paying $1,650 for 96,000 Rapid Rewards Points (60,000 + 60% bonus)
Should You Buy Southwest Rapid Rewards?
Southwest bases the price of its awards on the going cash rate for the flight. This means that when fares are high, the cost of awards goes up and, unsurprisingly, when fares are low, the cost of awards goes down. This sets Rapid Rewards aside from the legacy airlines’ reward programs that are yet to go fully revenue-based.
The nature of the Rapid Rewards program means that the value you get from your points balance will vary from flight to flight and will depend on the cabin you normally fly in.
Taking a randomly selected flight between Los Angeles and San Francisco as an example:
The cost of the award is 7,352 points & 11.20 in taxes while, the cash fare for the same flight is $137.96:
Paying with Rapid Rewards points would mean you would be effectively getting 1.72 cents/point in value.
That’s exactly the same rate as you would be paying if were to purchase over 21,000 Rapid Rewards points in this promotion…..so that’s not exactly a great deal.
That was the “wanna get away” pricing and things only get worse if you want to book a more flexible ticket.
An “anytime” ticket for the same flights cost 42,768 Rapid Rewards points and the corresponding cash fare is $488 so, once you take taxes into consideration, you only be getting 1.11 cents/point in value….which is terrible if you bought points at over 1.7 cents each.
Put simply, it’s not worth buying Southwest Rapid Rewards points in this promotion to purchase an award outright.
The only time it may be worth it is if you need a few Rapid Rewards points to top up an account for an award you’re ready to book. If, for example, you’ve already earned 80,000 points from credit card spend or from flying on Southwest and you need another 6,000 points to book two of the anytime awards I mentioned above, the $120 you’d need to buy the points may be worth it to you.
Note: Points.com processes Rapid Rewards purchases so you won’t earn any bonus points from a credit card with an airline category bonus.