Make Your Southwest Rapid Rewards Redemptions NOW Before the March 31 Devaluation

Win emails to remind that March 30 is the last day to book Southwest award tickets at the ‘old’ rates.

Southwest is reducing the value of its points for their best use, “Wanna Get Away” or discount advance purchase fares.

They gave notice back in September, which is great but long enough ago that the need to act soon may well have fallen off of folks’ radar.

There’s at least some notice given — bookings made March 31 onward will cost 70 points per dollar, rather than the current 60 points per dollar.

With this change each point will become worth 1.42 cents apiece. That’s a 15% hit to the value of Southwest points.

Here’s your strategy. Burn all of your points now on speculative bookings that you might need.

  • Even though the number of points required will go up for bookings made March 31 and after, you can book now for future travel as far out as the current schedule goes.
  • Award reservations can be cancelled without penalty up to an hour prior to flight.

Given Southwest’s generous award cancellation policies, there’s no reason not to book award tickets you might need now, to lock in better redemption prices. And if you turn out not to need the award, just cancel.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the reminder Gary. Both my SO and I got in on the 50K bonus and got 2 cards each and we’re both close to earning a companion pass. Given that we have almost 220K points between us we have a good chunk to burn, so we’ll look to try to make some speculative trips.

    For some of these trips, we’ll likely travel with our 2 daughters, which works out nicely since each of us can have one of them as our respective companion. Here’s my question…

    Since we haven’t earned the companion pass yet, can each of us book an award ticket now and add them on later as companions, or does that have to be done at the time of booking (effectively meaning we’d have to cancel and re-book the award tix at the higher rate after we earned the companion pass)? This is my first foray into the world of WN RR, so kind of a newbie to this whole game.

  2. Any idea if Southwest will load the non-stop options from DAL after the Wright Amendment goes away on October 13 before the devaluation? They don’t appear to be available on the site right now.

  3. Jonathan – The companion pass tickets may be booked at any time as long as there is a ticket available for the flight.

  4. Article had, “Award reservations can be cancelled without penalty up to an hour prior to flight.” There is no rule with that “one hour”:

    Southwest FAQ has the question and answer on their site:
    — Start of Excerpt —
    If I use points to book a reservation for someone other than myself and the traveler misses the flight, what happens?
    The points will be automatically redeposited in your account within three to four days after the date of the last flight in the reservation. If the reservation needs to be rebooked, the Member will be required to do so.
    — End of Excerpt —
    http://goo.gl/f4Qkg8

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