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Your next Southwest Airlines award flight is going to require more points. Southwest has devalued Rapid Rewards points unexpectedly. Award flight prices will require approximately 6% more Rapid Rewards starting immediately.
6% Rapid Rewards Value Drop
Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth 6% less due to the devaluation. It requires more points to book these award flight types:
- Business Select
- Wanna Get Away
For example, instead of spending 5,000 for a basic fare, you can expect to pay 5,300 with the 6% devaluation.
Cash prices for tickets appear to have the same value but those prices may rise too if passenger demand increases. Airline tickets have been at some of their lowest prices in years as relatively few people have been flying due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This isn’t the first Rapid Rewards points devaluation. The discount airline made a similar overnight devaluation in 2018. In general, most airline loyalty programs have devalued their points at least once during the same 3-year span.
Hotel programs have also been gradually requiring more points for reward nights.
Should You Pay Cash or Rapid Rewards?
Like most airlines, Southwest uses a dynamic pricing model where flights cost more on peak travel days and prime flight times. But flyers that have been monitoring award flight prices will be the first to notice the sudden jump. Flyers will need to compare different travel dates, flight times, and routes to find the best value.
Despite this devaluation, Rapid Rewards can be some of the most valuable frequent flyer miles. Southwest may also require fewer points than the legacy carriers for the same route. Plus, your first two checked bags fly free which is also a hidden saving if you check baggage.
As many people have been accumulating points during the pandemic, it can be best to redeem Rapid Rewards. Even though award flights require more points, using points that you already have can reduce your cash expenses if you’re in a tough financial situation.
If you need a few more points, don’t forget that Southwest is a Chase Sapphire transfer partner. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards in 1,000-point increments at a 1:1 ratio.
All three Southwest consumer cards come with the same signup bonus: earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Cards with this bonus offer include the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. Additionally, all three cards get 25% back on inflight purchases.
Related: Best Southwest Credit Cards
Southwest devalued Rapid Rewards unexpectedly. This latest devaluation is a bummer for the award travel sector but also for Southwest Airlines fans itching to return to the skies. Despite having to spend more points on a flight, Southwest continues to be one of the best options for domestic flights and flying to Hawaii at competitive prices.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.