Need to top off your Southwest Rapid Rewards account to hit a certain number of points to book a flight? Do you need to meet a credit card spend amount to get your Companion Pass this year? Do you want to fly someplace warm?
Well, you can accomplish this trifecta if you want to buy Southwest points — if it makes financial sense.
Southwest also has a new option to earn 10 points per $1 when you make a donation to one of three Southwest partner charities through May 31, 2020. It’s not as good a deal as buying points, but if you’d like to make a donation, might as well earn points, too!
Here’s our guide on how to buy Southwest points.
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How Much Does It Cost to Buy Southwest Points?
Here’s a sample list of points prices for varying totals:
- 2,000 points for $60
- 5,000 points for $137.50
- 10,000 points for $275
- 20,000 points for $550
To Buy — or Not to Buy — Southwest Points? That Is the Question.
In general, I don’t recommend that you buy Southwest points unless it’s the only way to quickly get you to a total number of points needed to book a flight almost free. Spending $100 to get you to the total number of points required is better than paying for the entire ticket!
Southwest often has points sales where they either lower the price by a percentage or throw in some additional points for the same amount of money.
Early on, when we were working to earn our first Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one person fly free with you for up to two years after earning 125,000 qualifying Southwest points, we purchased some points to get us to our first free flights.
I factored this cost, along with the Southwest credit card annual fees and $5.60 security fee per person per way, into the cost of flying almost free.
We ended up flying to six destinations within one year for less than $100 per flight for ALL four of us. Not bad! But we could have done it for even less had we avoided purchasing points.
The Value of a Southwest Point
The value of Southwest points vary. I calculate it by dividing a given fare price in cash by the number of points it costs. This can vary from 1.5 to 3.3 cents per point.
Sometimes the points price is much lower than the equivalent cash price.
Additionally, Southwest reduced the value of each point in April 2018. This is why it’s always good to spend the points you have rather than holding on to them. They DO lose value over time!
Paying with the Right Credit Card to Maximize This Offer
But to really make buying points a better deal, you could choose to pay with a travel credit card that earns Southwest points or points that instantly can be transferred to Southwest points like Chase Sapphire Preferred.
You’ll earn DOUBLE points on the Southwest cards, because this will code as a “Southwest” purchase, AND those double points (NOT the points you buy) will qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one person fly free with you for up to two years after you earn 125,000 qualifying points.
If you pay with Chase Sapphire Preferred (read my full review on this card here), you’ll ALSO earn DOUBLE points, because it will code as a travel expense, which you can then move over to Southwest instantly to use to book free flights. Note: Points earned with Chase Sapphire Preferred DO NOT qualify for the Companion Pass.
- 10,000 points
- 550 points (2 points per $1 earned on the points cost of $275)
That equals 10,550 points, which is roughly 2.6 cents per point, which is more than the average value of a Southwest point.
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Some of your credit card options to maximize this deal, include:
- Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Visa card (Personal: 40,000 points after $1,000 minimum spend in 3 months)
- Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card (Personal: 40,000 points after $1,000 minimum spend in 3 months)
- Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card (Personal: 40,000 points after $1,000 minimum spend in 3 months)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (60,000 points after meeting a $4,000 minimum spend in 3 months)
Even if you purchase the $99 Motley Fool subscription in the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal to earn 2,700-5,600 points, that’s still about 1.8 cents per point, and still a pretty good deal.
How to Buy Southwest Points
To buy Southwest points, visit Southwest.com/account/rapidrewards/points/buy-points.
- Select the number of Rapid Rewards points you want to buy from the drop-down list.
- Enter your payment details.
- Select Pay Now.
You are allowed to purchase up to 60,000 points per day maximum and it can take up to 72 hours for points to credit to your account.
Also, purchased points ARE NOT refundable.
Note: Purchased points DO NOT count toward the 125,000 points you need to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
If you NEED Southwest points, purchasing during a sale with a Southwest credit card or Chase Sapphire Preferred is your best bet or check out the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal to see if you can find a better deal.
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