Does each member of your family have a separate Southwest Rapid Rewards account? Have each of them earned some of their own Southwest points?
If you ever plan to transfer Southwest points to someone else, such as your spouse, to book a flight, be forewarned, it’s not cheap!
But there’s also a trick you can employ to get around transferring points. I’ll tell you about that in a minute.
First, let’s talk about transferring points.
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My Philosophy on Transferring Points
While I generally collect all Southwest Rapid Rewards points through my account and then book ALL flights for my family through my account (which is what I would recommend if you’re booking most flights on points, as it keeps things SIMPLE — always my goal :)), there have been a few instances where it made sense to pay for a flight for both my husband and I to write it off as a business expense.
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In these cases, since we paid for the flights, my husband earned his own Southwest points, which went into his account.
Sometimes we will BOTH take advantage of great Rapid Rewards Shopping deals (see my weekly updated post of the best deals of the week, like a $99 subscription for Motley Fool’s stock advisor email newsletter to get 5,400 points!!) from within our own Rapid Rewards accounts. That also nets him some points.
I thought it was no big deal, because we could just transfer those points over to me. When I went to make the transfer, I discovered it costs $10 for every 1,000 points you want to transfer!
While this is much less than buying Southwest points, it still seems a high price to pay just to transfer points, so avoid this if you can.
How to Transfer Southwest Points to Another Account
- Log in to the Southwest Rapid Rewards account of the person whose points you want to transfer
- Select Rapid Rewards and under Manage, choose Buy or Transfer Points
- Choose Transfer Points on this page
- Select the number of points you’d like to transfer (minimum 2000 points required)
- Enter the name, Rapid Rewards account number and email address of the person you are transferring the points to
- Enter payment information
- Confirm the purchase and transfer
- Note: Transferred Southwest points DO NOT qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass (which lets you fly one person free for up to two years after earning 125,000 Rapid Rewards points), but you CAN use them to book flights for FREE travel.
Why to Transfer Southwest Points to Someone Else
If you are like us and fly on points (ie nearly FREE!) most of the time, then you rarely collect Southwest points by paying for flights.
Instead, we earn most of our points through everyday spending on our Southwest credit cards, the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve and through credit card referral points.
Did you know you can earn up to 140,000 Southwest points by applying for just two Southwest credit cards (1 personal and 1 business OR 2 business) and another 80,000 points, which can be instantly transferred to Southwest by applying for my favorite travel credit card, Chase Sapphire Preferred (read my full review of this card)?
You can also earn the Southwest Companion Pass by accumulating 125,000 qualifying Southwest points (including points earn from Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa card bonuses). The pass lets one person fly free with you for up to two years and is one of the ways my family flies free nearly everywhere in the U.S. on Southwest.
We pretty much pool all of those points into one account (mine), because we need high numbers of points to book flights. The small amount of points you earn by paying for a flight, even a Southwest business fare, which earns more points per dollar, is rarely enough to book a subsequent flight.
So when one of us DOES pay for a flight and earns their own points, we’d like to move it into the larger pool, which has more purchase power.
2 Tricks to Avoid Transferring Points
If you want to avoid that unpleasant fee to transfer points, you can do one of two things:
1. Collect enough points in one account to book at least a one-way fare or one round-trip fare
This is what we try to do with my husband’s account. Get enough points in there so that he can book at least one of the four of us on a one-way or one round-trip fare.
He is often my companion for the Southwest Companion Pass, so sometimes we use his points to book one of our kids’ flights.
He also holds the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (read my full review of that card) in our family, and we use that card to earn triple points on dining and travel expenses, so he usually has Chase Ultimate Rewards points that we transfer to his Southwest account to top him off to whatever we need to book a ticket.
2. Book a ticket for YOU and then add THEM as the Companion
Let’s say it’s just the two of us flying instead of bringing our kids with us, but my husband is my companion so we don’t need to use his points to book a flight for him, since he flies FREE.
Instead, HE could book MY flight with HIS points and then I can still go into my account and add HIM as MY companion for that flight. Nifty trick, huh?
To Sum It Up
If you DO decide to pay for a flight and earn points in an account that doesn’t usually collect points, be aware of this constraint: IT COSTS to transfer Southwest points.
You can either pay the funds and consider it part of the cost of flying free or wait until that person has enough points in their account to book a flight on their own.
Have you had to transfer points between Southwest accounts? Did you pay the fee?
Want points to book free flights on Southwest?
Check out the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa cards, which let you earn tens of thousands of points that you can use to book free flights on Southwest!
- 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)
These points also qualify for the 125,000 points you need to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, so one person can fly free with you for up to two years.
Keep in mind you can only hold ONE personal Southwest card at a time, though you can hold two Southwest business cards.
My Favorite Travel Credit Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Flexible points transfer to Southwest instantly, 2X points on dining and travel, 80,000 points after meeting a $4,000 minimum spend in 3 months and only a $95 annual fee! Please note, this card’s points DO NOT qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.
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