Use Southwest Airlines Points to Book International Flights on Other Airlines (or into Travel Credit) at 0.98 CPP

Good afternoon everyone, I hope your week is going well.  My wife and I have been sitting on a lot of Southwest Airlines Points thanks to a combination of unused points from a Chase Southwest Airlines Priority Credit Card sign up bonus, referral bonus points, and diverting most of our travel to Alaska Airlines to reach MVP Elite Status.  If you are also sitting on a stash of SWA points, this post might be useful to you.  Did you know that you can use SWA points to pay for flights on other airlines?  The only catch is that it has to be an international route that cannot be booked on www.southwest.com.  To get started, sign into your SWA account, click the Rapid Rewards link, and then click Redeem Points for Gift Cards & More.

Here is the landing page for the Redeem Points for Gift Cards & More.  I checked out the other redemption options on this page and they are all terrible, so you can skip that step.  Click the Travel tab and then click International Flights.

Here is the international flight search page.  As I mentioned earlier, it says “International only. Excludes routes than can be booked on Southwest . com.”

I wanted to visit Canada, so I found an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle (SEA) to Vancouver, BC (YVR) for $125.33.

I entered that info into the SWA travel search page and clicked the Search button.

I filtered the results to only see non-stop flights, on Alaska Airlines, and exclude basic economy flights.  I found the same flight for 12,784 SWA points.  $125.33 / 12,784 = 0.98 CPP.  Normally, you can get between 1.25-1.5 CPP for paid SWA flights, so this is not a great option unless you are sitting on a pile of SWA points.  I then went through the booking process to purchase the ticket.  To continue, click the Select button.

Since this is an international flight, you will need to enter your passport info along with your personal info.

I then entered my Alaska Airlines frequent flyer number and clicked the Next button.

You can actually see the entire seat map and select your seat from this page.  I selected seat 1A and then clicked the Submit button.

I confirmed the flight details, the total price, checked the box to agree to the terms & conditions, and clicked the Complete Booking button.

Congrats, the ticket is purchased and my SWA points balance dropped by 12,784 points.  You can then copy the Airline Reservation Code to pull up your ticket with the airline.

Under the SWA Points Activity page, I see the 12,784 point redemption.

I also received an email that I used SWA points for a reward.

I also received an email with the details of my ticket.

I signed into my Alaska Airlines account and went to the trips section.  Since I entered my Alaska Airlines frequent flyer number when making the purchase, the flight already showed up in my account.  If it didn’t show up automatically, I could have clicked the Add a Trip button, entered my confirmation number and last name, and manually added the trip to my account.  I then clicked the Trip Details button to review the ticket.

Everything looked good there and I was all set for my trip.


A few days later, I realized that I booked the wrong flight, so I signed back into my Alaska Airlines account, went to the trips section, and then clicked the Cancel Trip link.

To make my life easier, I usually select the first cancellation option: Save the travel credit to my wallet.  Alaska Airlines does a great job of keeping track of my travel funds and displaying them in an easy to read way.

By cancelling the ticket, I will get $125.33 back as travel funds which will expire on July 30, 2023.  I entered my email address and clicked the Confirm button.

My Alaska Airlines ticket was now cancelled and I could see the funds in my Alaska Airlines wallet.

On the Alaska Airlines wallet page, I can see all of my unused travel funds.  Like I mentioned earlier, I have $125.33 in travel funds that expire on July 30, 2023.

I also received a cancellation email from Alaska Airlines with the same info as shown online.

Using SWA points to book international flights on other airlines probably does not interest most people, but if you are sitting on a big pile of SWA points, you may consider using your SWA points to get 0.98 CPP in value.  If you have any questions about this process or about the Chase Southwest Airlines Priority Credit Card, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

6 thoughts on “Use Southwest Airlines Points to Book International Flights on Other Airlines (or into Travel Credit) at 0.98 CPP

    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Carl, yes, that is a good point. You would earn frequent flyer miles and elite miles on that airline, which could be worth more to some people.

      Reply

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