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I just received an email from Southwest that for the next two weeks they are running a promotion where you can purchase their points with a 50% bonus. This offer expires December 17, 2014.
Points can be purchased in 500 increments (starting at 2,000 points) and you can purchase up to 60,000 points. This is also the best promotion I’ve seen for purchasing Southwest points. Back in September it was a tiered 50% bonus, in July it was a 40% bonus and prior to that it was a 25% discount. However, the cost to purchase Southwest points did go up in price a few months ago!
While a bonus always sounds great, Southwest has a fixed redemption program, so you’ll still not get the value that they are worth, typically. But let’s go through the math to see when it might be worth it to purchase the points through this sale.
As mentioned above, Southwest has a fixed redemption where each point is worth 1.43 cents per point. So to buy points for more then they are worth is definitely NOT a good value. However, if you are close to redeeming for a flight and shy a few points, do the math to see if purchasing points will ultimately be worth it to redeem for a free flight. Since this is not a tiered offer, you can purchase just a few points and still get the 50% bonus.
Example: Let’s say you have 5,000 points and the number of points you need to redeem for a free flight is 8,000 points. This means you’ll need to purchase 2,000 points for that free flight (which will give you 3,000 points with the bonus). The cost to purchase those 2,000 points will be $55.00. In this particular scenario you are overpaying for the flight by $12.10 ($0.0183 per point to purchase the points – $0.0143 per point to redeem = $0.004 x 3,000 points = $12.10). Overpaying by a slight amount might be worth it to you over having to pay the $115ish fare that it would cost if you didn’t use points. It really depends on if you fly Southwest often and can continue to accrue points to have enough to redeem for a free flight or just trying to deplete your account and prefer to pay less for a “free” flight.
Unfortunately, the opportunity to really get the best value by transferred points back and forth between Southwest and AirTran is over. And, for those of you wondering – purchasing points DO NOT count towards the Southwest Airlines companion pass!
Ultimately, this probably is not a good promotion for most of you, however, there are a select few that will see the benefit. Also remember that you will not earn points (for Southwest) or credits (for AirTran) when redeeming free flights, so take that into consideration. With Southwest, the points earned from a paid flight can be thought of as 8.5% back to use on a future flight.
Purchase Southwest points here and it will require you to sign into your Southwest account.