Probable Southwest Rapid Rewards Devaluation

Last week, Southwest Airlines sent an email to its Rapid Rewards loyalty program members informing them of a future change in the program. Sadly, they weren’t very specific about the change but it reads as a devaluation.

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.

Previously, Rapid Rewards points basically had a fixed value that were correlated to the cash fare of a flight. However, this cryptic message from Southwest makes it seem like they can charge however many points they want for a given flight on a given day to a given destination.

I really do like Southwest because they have great availability from my home airport (EWR). Another reason Southwest must be considered for is that it is a transfer partner for Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Rapid Rewards instantly at a 1:1 ratio.

If you book flights with points, you can cancel them any time before the flight and you will receive the points & taxes/fees back 100%. This is great for making speculative bookings and it’s a feature that other airlines charge big bucks for (often $150+).

When you throw in a Companion Pass, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program hard to beat for affordable domestic travel for one, let alone two.

The only thing we can do now is wait but we do have 2 months to make preparations in case these changes are quite terrible. If you have a lot of points, you may want to consider making some speculative bookings to lock trips up at the current rates. You really have nothing to lose since you can get a full refund at any time.

This is just another lesson in the frugal flying game. Things change all the time to be ready to react. Stay tuned.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Program Devaluation

rapid rewards logo

I received an email two days ago from Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards. You may or may not have heard that their loyalty program is getting devalued.

We want to inform you of an upcoming change to the Rapid Rewards® Program that will affect the number of points needed for reward travel. Wanna Get Away® reward flight bookings made on or after March 31, 2014 will require 70 points per dollar. This is an increase from the 60 points per dollar currently required. Anytime and Business Select® reward flight redemption rates, as well as the points per dollar you earn when flying, will remain the same as they are today.

What a shame. That is about a 15% devaluation.

For example, the flight I took to Austin earlier this year that cost about 13K points would now cost over 15K points.

Gary has a great viewpoint on the situation. He says that there is “no reason that a revenue-based program ever has to devalue at all” and I agree.

The point values are directly correlated to the prices of the airfare so there is no real hustling of this program to get a deal for the consumer.

The only reason I see Southwest doing this is because they’ve minted too many points (see all the Chase Southwest 50K offers – they are back, by the way) and feel that this is a way to reduce costs.

Either that or they were too aggressive in pricing their original reward redemption rates of 60 points per dollar and decided that now was the time to correct that.

I doubt we’ll find out either way, but a loss is a loss.

However, I still do like Southwest for a variety of reasons:

  • No cancellation fees
  • “Bags fly free”
  • Their flight crews are generally very pleasant
  • Orderly boarding process at the gate
  • If you travel with a partner, the Companion Pass is probably the best deal in domestic travel!

Southwest 50K Offers Are Back!

What’s the deal???

If you read my blog, you should already know the deal!

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The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase are back at the forefront of signup bonuses again!

Once again, they are offering 50,000 bonus points on each of 4 credit cards.

Long story short, the idea is to get 2 of these cards (one personal & one business), complete the spend goals, receive 100k bonus points, and then further increase your Southwest Rapid Rewards point total to 110k points.

Reaching 110k RR points will earn you the Southwest Companion Pass.

The Companion Pass will let you take a designated companion onboard with you for FREE! This pass will last until the end of the next calendar year… so December 31, 2014!

Visit my original post on this amazing deal for more details!

Other Related Posts

First Time Using Southwest Companion Pass & What’s Up Lately?

First Time Using Southwest Companion Pass

I’m happy to report that Joann and I finally got to use her Companion Pass (CP) that we earned last year. It was really easy to book a Companion ticket. On top of it being the first time using the CP, it was both our first times flying on Southwest. Almost everything went without a hitch.

Overall, it was a great experience and I wouldn’t at all mind flying like that domestically.

It was a light flight – not many people flying Newark to Austin in April, I suppose. Joann and I easily got our own row.

The flight attendants were cheerier than most domestic ones we’ve encountered and boarding was quick and efficient. On the way back, the plane had some engine issues and we diverted to Baltimore (BWI). We did eventually make it home to Newark, but 3 hours later than scheduled.

I wrote a quick note to Southwest regarding this delay and they were very prompt in responding, holding true to their estimate of within 48 hours. They issued both Joann and me $100 vouchers! That certainly does count for service recovery in my book.

We are definitely looking forward to flying Southwest again.

Austin

Austin was a cool city! I’m sure it was much crazier during SXSW, but we had a nice time checking out the weird stuff Austin has to offer and eating PLENTY of BBQ.

Brisket, Sausage, Beef Rib.. Yes please!

Brisket, Sausage, Beef Rib.. Yes please!

We stayed downtown at the Hyatt Place (couldn’t find any free nights at the newly Hyatt property The Driskill). Most nights, we felt it was like we were in a ghost town or a deserted movie set, but maybe that’s just the time of the year. No matter, we were able to see a lot of Austin and its surroundings and most of all, just chill out.

With Southwest and their new EWR-AUS nonstop route, we could be back to Austin soon enough… although we’d probably do Southwest’s new EWR-MSY nonstop route before that 😉

What’s Up Lately?

I’m in a break between my old and new job right now, which worked out perfectly with this quick trip to Austin and our next trip.

I probably won’t have a post up until next week because we’re going to Buenos Aires today! This is the great fare that was on sale last November from several North American cities to Argentina.

This is our first time to South America so we are really excited. If you have any suggestions, PLEASE leave them in a comment below. I would love to hear some great must-do suggestions.

Looking forward to lots of steak, wine, and just kicking back before I start the next chapter in my life.

Southwest: How to Book a Companion Pass Ticket

So you’ve got a Southwest Companion Pass… now what?

Now you can take a companion with you on any Southwest flight you book – with cash and even with points! No restrictions!

As long as there’s a seat for sale on the flight, you can book your companion with you for the price of… FREE! Technically, they’ll pay taxes, a maximum of $10.

Here’s how you book a Southwest Companion Pass

  1. Book a flight for yourself. This should be easy enough to handle 😉
  2. Go into My Travel and click on Add a Companion.
  3. Verify that the flight details are correct and Checkout from this screen.
  4. You now have a new confirmation number for your companion. Note the total is only the taxes we paid for this trip since it was booked with points.
  5. Go back into My Travel and notice your updated trip. It now has a Confirmation and Companion Confirmation.

And you’re done!

Enjoy your upcoming trip that’s effectively a Buy One Get One Free deal!

 

Related links:

Chase Southwest Credit Cards – 50K x 2 & Companion Pass
Update on Chase Southwest Credit Cards – 50,000 x 2 & Companion Pass
Success! We have Southwest Companion Pass!