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Southwest Airlines is offering a promotion. The concept of a revenue based frequent flyer program selling points has always been strange to me, especially for an airline like Southwest. I will say upfront that this is an offer you probably shouldn't take advantage of.

Southwest Rapid Rewards selling points with a discount

Southwest is offering a discount of up to 40% when you purchase Rapid Rewards points. The discount is tiered.

  • Buy 7,000-9,000 points, receive a 30% discount
  • Buy 10,000-19,000 points, receive a 35% discount
  • Buy 20,000-60,000 points, receive a 40% discount

There is no annual limit on how many points you can buy from Southwest. Southwest charges a flat rate of 2.75 cents per point.

If you were to buy 60,000 points with a 40% discount, you would have to pay 1.65 cents per Rapid Rewards point.

Southwest's promotions on Rapid Rewards points are pretty average. We have seen better offers, but this is better than nothing.

How much are Southwest points worth?

The revenue cost of a flight is correlated to the number of points required for a flight in Southwest Rapid Rewards. You need to redeem 83 Rapid Rewards points for every dollar of airfare on Southwest if you want to keep your points.

The cost of a Southwest Airlines ticket is around 1.2 cents for each Rapid Rewards point.

Is buying Southwest Airlines points worth it?

There are few situations where it makes sense to purchase Rapid Rewards points. When you can only redeem points for 1.2 cents each, there isn't much value in buying points for 1.65 cents each.

The main scenario where I think it could make sense is one of the three scenarios I want to address.

Buying points to top off for an award

Some people might buy Rapid Rewards points in order to top off their account so they have enough points for an award ticket. If you need a small number of points, I would just keep collecting points and then redeem with your next ticket.

Buying points with Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is a great value. You can always have a companion travel with you for just the standard taxes, even if you book a cash ticket or redeem points.

Southwest points can get you outsized value if you have a Companion Pass.

  • You could buy points for 1.65 cents each
  • You could then redeem them for 1.2 cents each toward travel and have a companion fly with you, meaning you’d get 2.4 cents of value

There is absolutely no reason to do that. Booking a paid ticket and having a companion fly with you would be better.

Companion Pass qualification does not count toward buying Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

There is value in having a stash of Southwest points

Paying for a ticket with Southwest Rapid rewards points is a major benefit. Southwest Airlines does not have change fees on revenue and award tickets.

  • If you cancel a revenue ticket then you need to reuse that travel credit within a certain amount of time, and also the same passenger has to travel
  • If you cancel an award ticket then the Rapid Rewards points go back into your account and can be used for anyone at any future point in time

There is a big value in having a large amount of points. Since there is no downside, I use this when I want to book travel for friends and family. The passenger still has to use the credit within a limited period of time if you cancel a revenue ticket.

Southwest Airlines points are not counted as airfare purchases for credit card spending, because they are processed by

If you are trying to reach a minimum spending requirement, I recommend using a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spending, like the Chase Freedom unlimited.

For more on which credit cards are best for buying points, see this post.

Other ways to earn Rapid Rewards points

There are a couple of ways to earn Southwest Airlines points.

Southwest is selling Rapid rewards points with a 40% discount, which lowers the cost to 1.65 cents per point.

If you're trying to build up a future stash so you have flexibility for booking speculative tickets, buying Southwest points makes sense. In my opinion, there is not much value. This is a better value than Southwest Airlines.

Is it worth buying Southwest Airlines points?