Published on April 3rd, 2018 | by William Charles15
Southwest Devalues Points – Now Worth A Base Rate Of 1.28¢
Southwest points are worth a fixed value per point when redeeming for flights. When you redeem your points for wanna get away fares you previously paid 72 points per $1 (1.39¢). Southwest has changed this and you’ll now pay 78 points per $1 (1.28¢). With Southwest though it’s important to note that when redeeming points you only have to pay the base fare and you don’t pay any taxes or fees (although you do pay the mandatory TSA fee of $5.6 for one ways and $11.20 for round trip flights).
This means you’ll actually always get better than 1.28¢ per point. If the fare consists mostly of taxes then you’ll be getting better value than if it’s mostly base fare. In general lower cost fees consist of less base fare and more taxes. Here’s a practical example:
- Flight one: $485 or 33,523 points (1.45¢ per point)
- Flight two: $49 or 2,542 points (1.92¢ per point)
Below you can view a history of how much Southwest points have been worth:
- 2011-2014 (March): All points were worth a fixed 1.67¢ per point
- 2014 (April) – 2015 (April, 16th): All points were worth a fixed 1.43¢
- 2015 (April 17th) – 2016 (April 19th or so): Fares in the lowest class were worth a fixed 1.43¢, fares in other classes were on a sliding scale
- 2016 (April 19th or so) – 2018 (April 3rd): Fares in the lowest class are worth a fixed 1.39¢, fares in other classes were on a sliding scale
- 2018 April 3rd – Currently: Fares in the lowest class are worth a fixed 1.28¢, fares in other classes were on a sliding scale
One thing that’s interesting is that with this change they are also changing the value you get when redeeming points for anytime and business select fares. Previously it was ~120 points per dollar for business select and ~100 points per dollar for anytime fares and they are now the same as wanna get away fares. Keep in mind those tickets are still most expensive due to the cash rates being higher. Some are trying to spin this as a positive or net neutral change, but I don’t know how you can take that position when the vast majority of loyalty members are redeeming for wanna get away fares. In addition Southwest has introduced this change without any notice. Whenever a loyalty program makes a change without notice my trust in them immediately diminishes. There’s no doubt we were ‘due’ for a Southwest devaluation, but at least give loyalty some advance notice to book using existing points under the old rates. We will update our post on how much Southwest points are worth to reflect these changes.
Hat tip to View From The Wing