The current Southwest “sale” started last Tuesday and runs through this Thursday. Southwest sales are good for a few different reasons, but one of the great things is that the deal is good with either cash or points.
Finding the Award Sweet Spots in the Southwest Sale
While Southwest points are a “fixed” value for redemption, they are really not that fixed across the board. The award redemption rates are variable and I took a little numbers dive into the prices to see which prices yielded the best award rates.
Here is what I found:
As you can see, the cheaper the ticket, the better the redemption rate on points. Of course, we would rather have it the other way – use points for maximum value on more expensive tickets. But, you will get the most value from your Southwest points if you redeem for cheaper tickets.
This helps to know what price you should redeem at and what price you should pay cash for. Remember, you do not earn Southwest Rapid Reward points on award tickets, so you are giving up any points you would earn as well.
At the cheapest ticket, $34, a 60,000 point credit card bonus would give you almost $1,300 in redemption value! At the other end, a $169 ticket would only yield $942. That is over a $300 differential. So, if you value max redemption value out of your points, redeem Southwest Rapid Reward points for cheaper tickets and pay for the more expensive tickets, preferably with a card that earns you bonus points for travel.