Trick to Turn Southwest Standard Awards and Credits Into Points

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Last week I wrote about a trick to transfer Southwest points into Southwest standard awards. This loophole works well if you are trying to book a flight on Southwest that requires more than 19,200 points roundtrip (assuming their is standard award available). 

Well, if you would prefer the opposite and currently have a Southwest standard award in your account and would prefer points instead, there is a trick to make that happen! On November 1, 2014, AirTran will no longer exist and all credits will be converted to Southwest points. For every AirTran A+ credit you have, you’ll receive 1,200 Southwest points. Up until this point, you could manually transfer credits from AirTran to Southwest, but it would transfer over as credits NOT points. While this was beneficial for many and allowed the above loophole to work for close to two years, it did not help those who had Southwest credits or standard awards use the roundabout method to ultimately get Southwest points.

But everything is changing. So if you currently have a Southwest standard award (or even just a few Southwest credits) in your account and would prefer points over the award, here are the steps to do this:

  • Go to the Southwest’s transfer points to AirTran site here (you must be signed onto your Southwest account).
  • Select the “Standard Certificate” option. Each standard award certificate will be transferred to 8 AirTran A+ Reward credits.

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  • If you sign into your AirTran account you’ll see the 8 A+ credits. Keep the credits there and on November 8, 2014, those credits will automatically be transferred back to your Southwest account. You will get 9,600 Southwest points.

So why would someone want to do this? 

First off, this is a good trick for any amount of credits you have in your account. So if you have, for example, one lonely credit in your Southwest account, this is a great way to circulate it back into play and be able to combine the value with the rest of your Southwest points.

But for those with a Standard Award, there are a few reasons to convert this to Southwest points:

  1. If you currently book cheap flights then the points will go further than a standard award. The break even point is 9,600 points, so if you typically book flights that require less than this number of points, then using points is the way to go.
  2. Standard awards are capacity controlled. Not all flights have standard awards available so to be able to use these certificates you need to be very flexible in your travel plans.
  3. Standard awards expire a year after they are issued. This must you must fly by the expiration date, not simply book by that date. This means the last day you will be able to travel using a standard award is October 31, 2015. And the only way to get this expiration date is to go through another loophole which I wrote about here: Extending your Southwest Standard Award Certificate.

Remember, the last day to take advantage of this is October 31, 2014. I will be sure to remind you all again of the many Southwest tricks prior to this date. Just do not forget!


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    • @heather – Standard award availability is capacity controlled and has a separate availability chart. Even if a “Wanna Get Away” fare is available that does not mean a standard award is available.

  1. What if you have have multiple standard awards on Southwest’s site, let’s say 32 Airtran credits – will those convert to Southwest points or to Southwest awards on November 8th?

    • @economiler – They will be transferred to Rapid Reward points. All A+ Coach award vouchers will transfer to 9,600 Southwest Rapid Reward points.

  2. Does this work for standard awards or only credits? If you have standard awards that you transfer to AirTran, will those be converted back to Standard Awards or will they become RR points?

  3. This is really important info! Thank you very much for posting this. I moved my all standard awards and reward credits from SWA to AirTran. The limitation of the capacity controls and the pending expiration dates are not worth the potential points/dollar arbitrage. I would much rather have the unrestricted points.

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