Is Purchasing Southwest Points Worth It Ever?

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Last week I wrote about an opportunity to purchase Southwest points with a 50% bonus. I received many comments asking if this was actually a deal. And the short answer is NO! Purchasing Southwest points at this bonus level (which is the highest I’ve ever seen) is not a “deal.”

With a 50% bonus you are ultimately purchasing points at 1.83 cents per point. Southwest has a fixed redemption program where you are redeeming points at 1.389 cents per point (off the base fare, not including taxes). As I mentioned in my post last week, purchasing points for more than what they are worth is definitely not a good value.

So when is purchasing points worth it?

Purchasing points is ONLY worth it if you are close to redeeming for a free flight and a few points shy. And, assuming you want to use your points for that particular flight instead of saving them for a future flight when you have enough points.

So let’s say you currently have 7,000 points in your account and you are looking to redeem for a flight that required 14,500 points (which would cost $220 if you paid for it in full). The cost to purchase the 7,000 points is $137.50, which is cheaper than the $220 full flight price. While I absolutely do NOT suggest purchasing points in this scenario, if you have the points that you really want to get rid of and do not think you’ll have a future use for, you can buy the points, redeem for a points flight, and save some money. This means you’ll “save” about $83.

If I have the companion pass, should I purchase points?

Having the companion pass makes no difference if you should purchase points or not. While your companion will fly free when using points, your companion will also fly free while paying for the flight. So purchasing points does not mean you are getting double the value, because you can also get double value when paying for it. Also, purchasing points do NOT count towards earning the companion pass.

Overall…

Purchasing Southwest points is NOT a good value. It is ONLY worth it for those that have “orphaned” points that they do not necessarily want and need a certain number of points to redeem for a “free” flight.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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Comments

  1. What about the flexibility of using points that can be cancelled at any time and redeposited? If you purchase tickets and cancel you get a credit for a year…this can be problematic if you make multiple speculative bookings and wake up with a large sum of credits you have to use with a deadline. I understand the questionable value of purchasing points but for many it may work out if they like to have maximum flexibility with no strings attached.

    • @Mark – Interesting points. While you are still purchasing points for more than what you are redeeming them at, it might be a cheaper way to purchase an “insurance” plan against your trip.

  2. The only scenario I see in purchasing the points is if I am buying a ticket for someone else who maybe riding the fence about actually traveling or they maybe flaky, I can easily cancel and have the points returned to my rapid rewards account.

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