Pros and Cons of Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward Credits

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Pros and Cons of Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward Credits

After yesterday’s Southwest Airlines devaluation, I have been reading comments on several travel blogs regarding transfer Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward Points to Southwest Airlines Credits.  To learn more, please read Mile Value’s post.  This information is from first hand experience since I blindly followed Mile Value’s steps.

I have already used one of my free one ways and have one more free to use before December 17, 2013.

SWA Award Home

I do a sample search for flights from SNA to TPA and always select flexible dates.

SWA Award Search

In October, roughly half of the dates are bookable with the free one way.

SNA TPA Awards

on October 2, the last flight of the day is available.  Most of the time, it is the least desirable flight that is available.

SNA TPA Awards 10-2

At the check out page, the only amount owed would be $2.50 in taxes/fees.

SNA TPA Awards 10-2 Checkout

If I were to instead look for a flight by using Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward Points, this is what I see.  Lots of availability, but lots of high prices as well.

SWA RR Calendar

The same free one way I chose above actually costs 24,720 Rapid Reward Points, which I believe costs more than the  entire 2 free one ways possible using the trick listed above.

SWA Ticket 10-2 RR Points

in cash prices, the ticket costs $427, wowzas!

SWA Ticket 10-2


Example 2

Another example involves flying from Boston to Charlotte in December.


Here is all the availability on that route.  Not bad for the first half of December.

BOS to CLT Free Flights

On December 16, I have 2 choices available, so I select the second flight.

BOS to CLT Flights 12.16

On the checkout page, the cost is $5.00 for taxes/fees.

BOS to CLT Flights 12.16 Award

Alternatively, if I search for flights using only Rapid Reward Points, the calendar looks pretty cheap, especially on December 16.

BOS to CLT Flights 12.16 Cash Calendar

What do you know, my flight that I picked above only costs $94.

BOS to CLT Flights 12.16 Cash Prices

Actually it only costs $93.80, including all taxes/fees.  That’s a deal!

BOS to CLT Flights 12.16 Cash Prices Total

if I were using Rapid Reward Points, the ticket would only cost 4,320 points.

BOS to CLT Points Price

At the checkout page, the ticket would only cost $5.00 for taxes/fees.

BOS to CLT Points 5 Dollars

As you can see (hopefully if I haven’t confused enough) that the Southwest Airlines credit can be a great deal if you are flexible and the route you want to fly is typically very expensive.  On the other hand, if there is no space on the day you want or if flights are really cheap, you are better off using Rapid Reward Points to book the ticket.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

4 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward Credits

  1. Brandon

    Is it still possible to transfer Rapid Rewards points to old Southwest credits, either directly or by transferring Rapid Rewards points to Airtran and then to old Southwest credits? If so, then how many Rapid Rewards points equal 1 credit, both currently and after devaluation? I think I heard somewhere that it’s 1,200 points to 1 credit.


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