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Although I’ve written about a few great promotions this morning with purchasing points, that does not mean purchasing points with all loyalty programs is worth it! Right now, Southwest Airlines is offering a promotion where you can receive a 40% bonus when purchasing their points. While this might look great on the surface, since Southwest has a fixed redemption program, this is not a good deal. Actually, I’ve never seen a Southwest purchasing points promotion where you are actually getting a “deal”.
With this bonus, you’ll be purchasing points at 1.96cents per point. However, when you go to redeem Southwest points, you’ll never get more then 1.4-1.5 cents per point on your redemption. Purchasing points for more then what they are worth is absolutely 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. One other advantage of using points for a free flight (although I wouldn’t pay such a premium for this), is that if you need to cancel a flight booked on points, the points go straight back into the account they came from. If you paid for the flight and you need to cancel, the amount paid will be credited back as a travel voucher and expires (must travel by) 1 year from the day the flight was booked (not cancelled). The travel voucher can only be used fo for the person whose name is on the reservation, not the person who paid for the ticket (if it was someone else).
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 the value when paying for it. Also, purchasing points do NOT count towards earning the companion pass.
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!