Published on

Southwest Points to Dollars Conversion: How Much Are They Worth?

Uncover the 1.3 cents/point value of Southwest rewards, learn conversion methods, and optimize benefits with Southwest credit cards.

Written By

Southwest Airlines Plane on Final Approach to San Diego

Southwest Airlines Plane on Final Approach to San Diego

Southwest Rapid Rewards is a popular frequent flyer program that allows members to earn points through a variety of methods, from flying with Southwest to making purchases with affiliated credit cards. As a member, you can redeem these points for a wide range of rewards, including flights, gift cards, hotel stays, car rentals, and unique experiences. But how can you ensure you're getting the most value out of your hard-earned points?

Calculator: Convert Southwest Points to Dollars

Our calculator tool is designed to help you estimate the dollar value of your points based on different redemption options. Whether you're planning to use your points for a flight, a hotel stay, or a gift card, our calculator can help you understand the average value of these redemptions. Just enter your amount of Southwest Points, and it will calculate the estimated dollar value for different redemption options.

Southwest Points to Dollars Conversion?

50000 Southwest RapidRewards points

CategoryValue ($)
Gift Cards$265.00
Car Rentals$125.00

By using our calculator, you'll gain a clearer understanding of how much your points are worth, helping you make informed decisions about how to use them for maximum value. In this article, we'll delve deeper into the value of Southwest points and the best ways to use them.

Let's start by looking at how much Southwest points are generally worth, and how this value can fluctuate depending on the redemption method you choose.

How to Redeem Southwest Points for Maximum Worth

Redeem Southwest Points from LGA to SJU

Redeem Southwest Points from LGA to SJU

Southwest Rapid Rewards points maintain a relatively constant value due to the airline's unique reward program structure. Unlike some other airlines, Southwest doesn't operate with an award chart. Instead, the number of points needed for a flight is tied directly to the flight's cash price. This means as the price of a flight goes up, so too does the number of points you need to redeem.

In our analysis, we value Southwest points at approximately 1.3 cents per point when redeemed for the best option of flights. This is the estimated monetary value you can expect to get from each point when you redeem it.

While this system doesn't offer the opportunity for high-value "sweet spots" where you can maximize the value of your points as in some other reward programs, it provides consistent and predictable value. This is advantageous because it simplifies decision-making. It's easier to know when it's worth booking flights with points because you get essentially the same value every time.

It's important to note that Southwest Rapid Rewards points can't be used to book flights with partner airlines, which might be a downside for some. However, for many travelers, the predictability of point value provides clarity and ease in managing their rewards.

In conclusion, Southwest Rapid Rewards points, with their steady worth of 1.3 cents per point, make a reliable and straightforward choice for those who value ease and predictability in a rewards program.

The Four Different Fare Classes for Southwest Redemptions

Southwest Airlines offers four distinct fare types to cater to different travel preferences and budgets. Understanding these fare options can help you make an informed decision when booking your Southwest flights. Let's explore each fare type in order:

  • Business Select: Designed for business travelers, the Business Select fare offers additional perks and benefits. These fares include priority boarding, allowing you to choose your preferred seat and be among the first to board the aircraft. Business Select fares also come with a complimentary premium beverage onboard for flights over 175 miles, providing an added touch of luxury. Additionally, Business Select fares offer extra Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent. While Business Select fares are generally the highest-priced option, the added benefits can be appealing to those who prioritize comfort and convenience.

  • Anytime: The Anytime fare provides more flexibility compared to Wanna Get Away fares. These fares allow for ticket changes without incurring additional fees, and they offer greater refundability, giving you the option to receive a refund if your plans change. Anytime fares are typically priced higher than Wanna Get Away fares, but they provide more convenience and flexibility for travelers who prefer a less restrictive fare.

  • Wanna Get Away Plus: Introduced as a new fare type, Wanna Get Away Plus fares offer enhanced flexibility and features compared to the standard Wanna Get Away fare. These fares provide some additional benefits, such as the ability to make same-day changes to your flight without incurring additional fees, subject to availability. Wanna Get Away Plus fares maintain the value and affordability associated with Wanna Get Away fares while offering increased flexibility.

  • Wanna Get Away: The Wanna Get Away fare is Southwest's most affordable option, perfect for travelers seeking low fares. These fares offer great value and often come with certain restrictions, such as limited refundability and advance purchase requirements. However, Wanna Get Away fares still include benefits like two free checked bags and the ability to earn Rapid Rewards points.

Regardless of the fare type you choose, Southwest Airlines remains committed to providing exceptional customer service, including no change fees, two free checked bags, and a welcoming onboard experience. Enjoy the freedom and convenience that Southwest offers as you embark on your next travel adventure.

Using Southwest Rewards Points for Gift Cards or Hotels

Southwest's More Rewards Program offers a variety of ways to spend your Rapid Rewards points beyond just flight redemptions. You can use them for purchases like gift cards, merchandise, hotel stays, car rentals, and unique experiences. However, a deeper analysis shows that the value of your points in this program often falls below what you would get when redeeming them for flights on Southwest. Let's dig into this with some examples.

When you use Rapid Rewards points to book Southwest flights, you typically get a value of about 1.3 cents per point. This valuation provides a consistent benchmark that allows you to effectively determine whether it's better to pay for a flight in cash or use your points.

On the other hand, with the More Rewards program, the value you get for your points varies and is often less favorable. For instance, let's consider the case of gift cards. A $50 Amazon gift card might cost you around 9,400 points. This means you're only getting about 0.53 cents per point – a considerable drop from the 1.3 cents per point you get when booking flights.

Gift Card DenominationCost
$10 Gift Card3,750 RapidRewards Points
$15 Gift Card4,375 RapidRewards Points
$25 Gift Card5,625 RapidRewards Points
$50 Gift Card9,400 RapidRewards Points
$100 Gift Card18,800 RapidRewards Points
$150 Gift Card28,200 RapidRewards Points

Hotel stays and car rentals can also yield less value. When redeeming your points for hotel stays through the More Rewards Program, you'll notice that the value of your points often declines compared to flight redemptions. A typical hotel booking may demand a significantly higher number of points than you would expect given the cash price of the hotel stay.

While the More Rewards Program offers more spending options, it's important to be mindful of the comparative value. Generally, you're more likely to extract maximum value from your Rapid Rewards points when you use them for Southwest flights. However, always take the time to evaluate the current offers and make sure you're making the best decision for your points usage.

Earn Points with Southwest Credit Cards

Enhance your Southwest Airlines experience and accumulate Rapid Rewards points faster with Southwest's range of credit cards. These cards, each tailored to different needs and spending habits, offer you the opportunity to earn points on your everyday spending.

Each of these cards comes with a unique set of benefits, rewards rates, and signup bonuses. Choose the one that best fits your travel and spending habits to maximize your Southwest Rapid Rewards points!

Southwest Personal Credit Cards

Southwest Airlines offers a range of personal credit cards that are designed to provide exceptional value and rewards to frequent Southwest flyers and individuals seeking to maximize their travel benefits. These personal credit cards offer numerous features and perks that can help you earn and redeem Rapid Rewards points effectively. Let's explore some of the key highlights:

  1. Signup Bonuses: Southwest personal credit cards often come with generous signup bonuses, allowing you to earn a substantial number of Rapid Rewards points after meeting the required spending threshold within the specified timeframe. These bonuses provide an excellent jump-start to your points balance.

  2. Accelerated Earning Categories: By using Southwest personal credit cards for your everyday spending, you can earn accelerated points on various categories. These categories typically include Southwest Airlines purchases, hotel and car rental partner purchases, local transit and commuting expenses (including rideshare services), and even select streaming services. Maximizing your spending in these categories can quickly accumulate points.

  3. Anniversary Points: Many Southwest personal credit cards offer anniversary points as an annual benefit. These points are credited to your account each year on your cardmember anniversary, bolstering your Rapid Rewards balance over time.

  4. Travel Perks: Personal credit cards often include valuable travel perks such as priority boarding, inflight Wi-Fi credits, and even annual travel credits that can be applied towards Southwest purchases. These perks enhance your travel experience and provide additional value.

  5. Companion Pass Qualifying Points Boost: Some Southwest personal credit cards provide a boost towards qualifying for the coveted Companion Pass. The Companion Pass allows you to designate a companion who can fly with you for just the cost of taxes and fees. Earning this pass can result in significant savings and increased travel opportunities.

  6. Flexible Redemption Options: Southwest personal credit cards offer the flexibility to redeem your Rapid Rewards points for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and more. This versatility allows you to tailor your redemptions to suit your travel preferences and maximize the value of your points.




Southwest Business Credit Cards

With Southwest business credit cards, you can earn substantial points on various business-related expenses and Southwest purchases. Let's explore some of the key features and benefits of these cards:

  1. Generous Signup Bonuses: Southwest business credit cards typically come with attractive signup bonuses, such as earning tens of thousands of bonus points after reaching a specific spending threshold within the first few months. These bonuses provide a substantial boost to your Rapid Rewards account right from the start.

  2. Accelerated Earning Potential: With Southwest business credit cards, you can earn accelerated points on specific spending categories. These may include Southwest Airlines purchases, business-related expenses, internet, cable, and phone services, advertising, and more. Maximizing your spending in these categories can help you accumulate points faster.

  3. Anniversary Points: Many Southwest business cards offer anniversary points each year, adding a bonus to your Rapid Rewards balance. These annual points can help offset the card's annual fee and provide ongoing value.

  4. Travel Benefits: Business credit cards often include valuable travel benefits tailored to frequent Southwest travelers. These benefits may include priority boarding, inflight Wi-Fi credits, statement credits for travel-related fees, and even A-List status qualification boosts.

  5. Companion Pass Boost: Some Southwest business cards provide additional Companion Pass qualifying points, helping you reach the coveted Companion Pass faster. The Companion Pass allows a designated companion to fly with you for just the cost of taxes and fees.



Transferring Southwest Rewards Points

At times, you may find the perfect flight but lack the necessary Rapid Rewards points in your Southwest account to book it. This is where the ability to transfer Southwest Rapid Rewards Points can turn a missed opportunity into a successful booking. Whether it's from a friend's account, or from your existing Chase Ultimate Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy points, these transfer options can be a lifesaver.

In this section, we will explore different ways you can transfer Southwest Rapid Rewards points, helping you make the most out of your points and never miss that perfect flight again. Whether you are a few points short or planning a big trip, knowing how to effectively transfer points can enhance your travel experience with Southwest.

Transferring Southwest Rapid Rewards Points from a Friend

Southwest does offer the option to transfer Rapid Rewards points between member accounts, although this usually incurs a fee of $10 per 1,000 points transferred. This service can be especially useful when you're just short of enough points for a desired flight, as you can easily top off your balance.

It's worth noting, however, that this feature comes into its own with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card. These cards offer a valuable perk that mitigates the standard transfer fee: up to $500 in statement credits per year for fees associated with transferring points. This means business cardholders can transfer points without the added cost, making it a lot easier to ensure you have enough points when you need them.

Before transferring points, it's important to assess whether the cost to transfer is worth it, taking into account the flight's cash price and other potential redemption options. While it can be a good solution if you're just shy of the points you need, transferring larger amounts of points may not provide the best value.

In essence, if you find yourself frequently asking, "What if I don't have enough Southwest points?"—the ability to transfer points, particularly with the added benefit provided by Southwest's business credit cards, could be an invaluable part of your travel rewards strategy.

Transferring Southwest Rapid Rewards Points from Chase or Marriott Bonvoy

While earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points through flights is straightforward, another option to grow your rewards balance is to transfer points from other reward programs. Specifically, points from certain credit cards can be transferred to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account, potentially accelerating your rewards earning.

Credit card programs such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy allow point transfers to Southwest. However, it's essential to note that transfer ratios can vary, and in some cases, transferring points might not provide the best value compared to other redemption options.

SourceTransfer Ratio
Chase Ultimate Rewards1 Chase Ultimate Rewards Point : 1 Southwest Point
Marriott Bonvoy3 Marriott Bonvoy Points : 1 Southwest Point

When it comes to credit cards best suited for transferring points to Southwest, Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points stand out. The Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card are particularly notable. Points from these cards can be transferred to a number of airlines including Southwest, typically at a 1:1 ratio.