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Point-to-Point Costs: The Price of Transferring Southwest Rewards

Southwest Rewards offer a variety of benefits for frequent flyers, allowing them to earn and redeem points for flights and other travel perks. Transferring Southwest Rewards can be a strategic move to maximize the value of your points, but it comes with its own set of costs and considerations. In this article, we will explore…

Southwest Rewards offer a variety of benefits for frequent flyers, allowing them to earn and redeem points for flights and other travel perks. Transferring Southwest Rewards can be a strategic move to maximize the value of your points, but it comes with its own set of costs and considerations. In this article, we will explore the key aspects of transferring Southwest Rewards and how it impacts your loyalty status and overall rewards strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • Transferring Southwest Rewards can be a valuable strategy to maximize the value of your points, but be aware of transfer limits and fees.
  • Comparing costs of transferring rewards across different airlines can help you make informed decisions on where to allocate your points.
  • Maintaining elite status through transferred points requires careful planning and understanding of loyalty program rules.
  • Pooling points with family or friends can be advantageous, but consider the implications for individual rewards and benefits.
  • Leveraging credit cards and partnerships can enhance your Southwest Rewards earning potential and provide more opportunities for redemptions.

Understanding Southwest Rewards

The Basics of Southwest Points

Southwest Airlines operates a frequent flyer program known as Rapid Rewards, where travelers earn points that can be redeemed for flights, upgrades, and other benefits. The cornerstone of this program is the Southwest Point, a unit of currency that reflects the value of your earned rewards.

Points are accrued based on the fare and type of ticket purchased, with different earning rates for Business Select, Anytime, and Wanna Get Away fares. Below is a breakdown of points earned per dollar spent on each fare type:

  • Business Select: 12 points per dollar
  • Anytime: 10 points per dollar
  • Wanna Get Away: 6 points per dollar

It’s important to note that while points do not expire as long as your account remains active, keeping track of your points and understanding how to maximize their value is crucial for any Southwest traveler.

Southwest Points are versatile and can be used for more than just flights; they also cover hotel stays, car rentals, and experiences, making them a valuable asset for both frequent and occasional flyers.

Earning Southwest Points: Methods and Tips

Accumulating Southwest points can be a straightforward process if you know the right methods and strategies. Flying with Southwest Airlines is the most direct way to earn points, with the number of points earned based on the fare type and distance flown. However, there are numerous other methods to boost your points balance.

  • Credit Card Spending: Utilize Southwest co-branded credit cards for everyday purchases to earn points on each dollar spent.
  • Partner Services: Earn points by booking hotels, renting cars, and using other services from Southwest partners.
  • Special Promotions: Keep an eye out for Southwest’s frequent promotions that offer bonus points for specific activities or during certain times of the year.
  • Shopping and Dining: Use the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal and dining program to accumulate points while shopping online and dining out.

Maximizing your points earning potential requires a combination of using Southwest services and taking advantage of partner offers. Remember to stay updated on the latest promotions to ensure you’re always earning the maximum points possible.

It’s also beneficial to plan your spending around bonus categories and to consider the timing of your purchases to align with promotional periods. By following these tips, you can significantly increase the rate at which you earn Southwest points, leading to more rewarding travel experiences.

The Value of Southwest Points: What Are They Worth?

The value of Southwest Points can fluctuate based on several factors, including the destination, time of booking, and fare class. On average, Southwest Points are worth about 1.5 to 1.7 cents each, which is a competitive rate among airline rewards programs. This valuation means that redeeming 10,000 Southwest Points could equate to approximately $150 to $170 in airfare.

When considering the value of points, it’s essential to compare redemption options:

  • Wanna Get Away fares: Best value for points, often yielding the highest per-point value.
  • Anytime and Business Select fares: Generally offer less value per point.

It’s important to remember that the value of points is not static and can be maximized by booking Wanna Get Away fares well in advance or during a sale.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards program also allows for some flexibility, as there are no blackout dates or seat restrictions on award flights. This can increase the practical value of your points, as you have more opportunities to use them. Comparing the Southwest program to others, like the World of Hyatt loyalty program, highlights the unique benefits each offers. While Hyatt allows transferring points to a spouse for free, Southwest’s strength lies in its straightforward redemption process and the absence of hidden fees.

The Process of Transferring Southwest Rewards

Step-by-Step Guide to Transferring Points

Transferring Southwest Rewards points to another person can be a straightforward process if you follow the correct steps. First, log in to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account to initiate the transfer. Navigate to the ‘Account’ section, and select the ‘Manage Points’ option.

  • Next, choose the ‘Transfer Points’ function and enter the recipient’s Rapid Rewards number and name.
  • Specify the number of points you wish to transfer. Remember that there is a minimum and maximum transfer limit per transaction.
  • Review the transfer details, including any applicable fees, and confirm the transaction.

It’s essential to double-check the recipient’s information before confirming, as points transfers are non-reversible and non-refundable once processed.

Upon completion, both you and the recipient will receive a confirmation email. The transferred points should appear in the recipient’s account within a few minutes, allowing them to use the points for future travel with Southwest Airlines.

Transfer Limits and Fees

When transferring Southwest Rewards, it’s crucial to be aware of the transfer limits and associated fees. Southwest Airlines imposes a minimum transfer amount of 2,000 points and a maximum of 60,000 points per day. Additionally, points must be transferred in increments of 1,000.

The fee for transferring points is structured as follows:

Points Transferred Fee
2,000 – 10,000 $10
10,001 – 20,000 $20
20,001 – 30,000 $30
30,001 – 40,000 $40
40,001 – 50,000 $50
50,001 – 60,000 $60

Remember, the cost of transferring points can add up quickly, so it’s important to calculate whether the transfer makes financial sense for your situation.

It’s also worth noting that transferred points do not count towards A-List or Companion Pass qualification. This is a critical consideration for those aiming to maintain or achieve elite status with Southwest.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Transferring Southwest Rewards can be a smooth process, but there are common pitfalls that can trip up even seasoned travelers. Avoid unnecessary fees by understanding the transfer rules and timing your transfers wisely. Here are some tips to help you navigate the process:

  • Always double-check the recipient’s Rapid Rewards number before initiating a transfer to prevent errors.
  • Be aware of the transfer fee and calculate if the transfer is cost-effective for your travel plans.
  • Consider the expiration date of points; transferred points may have a different expiration policy.

Transferring points close to their expiration date can be a risky move. Ensure you have a clear plan for using the transferred points to avoid wastage.

Remember, transferring points does not always equate to the best value. Sometimes, booking a flight directly with points can be more beneficial than transferring them. Keep an eye on promotions like the Top Card Bonus Beta which may offer better value for your points.

Comparing Costs: Southwest Rewards vs. Other Airlines

Transfer Fees Across Different Airlines

When comparing the cost of transferring airline rewards, it’s crucial to understand that each airline has its own set of rules and fees. Southwest Airlines, for instance, charges a fee for transferring points to another person, which is currently set at a rate of $0.01 per point. This can add up quickly, especially for larger transfers.

Here’s a quick comparison of transfer fees across some major airlines:

Airline Transfer Fee Minimum Transfer Maximum Transfer
Southwest $0.01/point 2,000 points 60,000 points/day
American Airlines $12.50 per 1,000 miles 1,000 miles No daily limit
Delta Air Lines $0.01/mile + $30 per transaction 1,000 miles 150,000 miles/year
United Airlines $15 per 1,000 miles + $30 processing fee 2,000 miles No daily limit

While some airlines offer periodic promotions that reduce or waive transfer fees, these are typically time-limited and may have additional terms and conditions.

It’s important to note that not all rewards programs are as flexible as others. For example, the American Express Membership Rewards program allows transfers to partner airlines and hotels, but not to another person’s account. Understanding the transfer process, limitations, and alternatives is essential for maximizing the benefits of your rewards program.

Value Comparison: Points vs. Miles

When comparing the value of Southwest Rewards points to the miles offered by other airlines, it’s crucial to consider both the redemption value and the flexibility of use. Southwest points are known for their transparency and lack of blackout dates, which can make them more valuable to some travelers compared to miles that may have more restrictions.

For instance, the MILES & MORE\u00ae WORLD ELITE MASTERCARD\u00ae provides a substantial bonus and additional perks, but it comes with an annual fee and limitations on reward usage. Here’s a quick comparison:

Card Offer Bonus Value FX Fee Annual Fee Reward Flexibility
Southwest Rewards No High
MILES & MORE\u00ae 60,000 miles $1,000 No $89 Limited

The key to maximizing the value of your travel rewards is understanding the specific benefits and drawbacks of each program, and aligning them with your travel habits and preferences.

Strategies for Maximizing Airline Rewards

Maximizing airline rewards requires a strategic approach to both earning and redeeming points. Frequent flyers should consider the long-term value of points when choosing flights, credit cards, and promotional offers. Utilizing airline rewards effectively can lead to significant savings on travel expenses.

  • Understand the rewards program: Each airline has its own set of rules and earning rates. Familiarize yourself with the program details to make the most of your points.
  • Choose the right credit card: Select a credit card that offers generous sign-up bonuses and rewards on purchases. For instance, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card offers up to 120,000 points, a $99 annual fee, and various travel benefits for business owners who frequently fly with Southwest.
  • Book strategically: Aim for booking flights during promotional periods or when airlines offer bonus points. Also, consider the points-to-dollar ratio to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Stay informed: Keep up with the latest news and updates from the airline to take advantage of temporary promotions and changes in the rewards program.

By consistently applying these strategies, travelers can stretch their points further and enjoy more benefits without incurring unnecessary costs.

Impact of Transferring Rewards on Loyalty Status

How Transfers Affect Your Rapid Rewards Status

Transferring Southwest Rewards points to another Rapid Rewards member can be a strategic move, but it’s important to understand how these transfers impact your loyalty status. Transferred points do not count towards tier qualifying points, which are necessary for achieving A-List or A-List Preferred status within the Rapid Rewards program.

While the transfer of points can help a friend or family member reach a reward flight faster, it does not contribute to your own progress in the loyalty program. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Transferred points are not eligible for earning Companion Pass qualifications.
  • Points purchased for transfer are not tier qualifying.
  • The transfer does not affect your existing points balance, except for the reduction due to the transfer itself.

Remember, the primary goal of transferring points should be to maximize the utility of your rewards, not necessarily to advance your loyalty status.

Maintaining Elite Status: Tips and Tricks

Maintaining elite status with Southwest Airlines requires strategic planning and consistent travel behavior. Regularly review your points balance and stay informed about the status qualification requirements. Southwest offers two elite tiers: A-List and A-List Preferred. Achieving these statuses not only provides enhanced flying experiences but also accelerates your points earning potential.

  • Fly Southwest frequently: The more you fly, the faster you’ll accumulate qualifying points.
  • Use Southwest credit cards for purchases: These cards offer additional points that count towards elite status.
  • Take advantage of promotions: Southwest occasionally offers bonus points that can help you maintain your status.

Remember, transferred points do not count towards elite status. It’s crucial to earn points through flights and card usage to maintain your tier.

Lastly, consider the value of the benefits associated with elite status against the costs. For example, a credit card with a high annual fee might offer significant rewards that justify the expense. Weigh the benefits like 5X points on flights and lounge access against the costs, such as the annual fee, to ensure it aligns with your travel goals and budget.

The Role of Transferred Points in Tier Qualification

Transferred Southwest Rewards points do not count towards tier qualification. This includes both A-List and A-List Preferred status within the Rapid Rewards program. Points earned through flights, partner activities, and promotions are typically the only ones that contribute to your tier status.

  • Flights: Points earned from revenue flights are eligible.
  • Partner Activities: Points from hotel stays, car rentals, and other partner services can qualify.
  • Promotions: Occasionally, Southwest may offer promotions that allow bonus points to count towards tier status.

It’s crucial for members to understand that while transferring points can be beneficial for redeeming awards, it does not advance one’s progress towards elite status. This distinction is important for those strategizing to reach or maintain tier levels.

Advanced Strategies for Southwest Rewards

Pooling Points: Pros and Cons

Pooling points with family or friends can be a strategic way to consolidate rewards for a common goal, such as a group vacation. However, it’s crucial to understand the rules and potential drawbacks before combining points.


  • Flexibility in using points collectively.
  • Faster accumulation of points towards rewards.
  • Ability to help others reach a reward threshold.


  • Limited control over individual point contributions.
  • Potential for disputes over point usage.
  • Restrictions on who can pool points together.

When considering pooling points, it’s important to communicate clearly with all participants about expectations and to have a plan for how points will be used. This can help mitigate some of the cons associated with pooling and ensure that everyone benefits from the arrangement.

The Role of Credit Cards in Accumulating Points

Credit cards affiliated with Southwest Airlines offer a powerful avenue for accumulating Rapid Rewards points. Cardholders can earn points on everyday purchases, which can then be redeemed for flights, upgrades, and other travel-related expenses. The strategic use of these credit cards can significantly boost your points balance, making it easier to achieve free flights and higher loyalty status.

For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a popular choice among travelers. It provides a substantial sign-up bonus and allows cardholders to earn multiple points per dollar spent on various categories:

  • 60,000 bonus points after meeting the initial spending requirement
  • 5X points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3X points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Benefits of using such credit cards extend beyond point accumulation. Cardholders enjoy additional perks like travel insurance, no foreign transaction fees, and more, which can enhance the overall travel experience.

It’s essential to consider the long-term value of the points earned through credit cards. While the immediate gains are attractive, the real benefit lies in how these points can be leveraged for future travel plans and loyalty status upgrades.

Leveraging Partnerships for More Rewards

Southwest Airlines’ partnerships with various businesses offer an additional avenue for Rapid Rewards members to accumulate points. By strategically utilizing these partnerships, members can earn points on everyday purchases that go beyond just flying.

  • Credit Card Partnerships: Using a Southwest co-branded credit card for daily expenses can significantly boost your points balance.
  • Hotel and Car Rental Partners: Booking with Southwest’s hotel and car rental partners can earn you extra points.
  • Retail and Dining: Southwest’s online shopping portal and dining program allow you to earn points while shopping or dining at participating locations.

Remember, the key to maximizing rewards through partnerships is to align your spending habits with partners that offer the best return on investment.

It’s important to compare the benefits of different partnership programs. For instance, the American Express card offers 80,000 points, a $695 annual fee, and includes rewards for spending, Schwab deposits, hotel and airline credits, and various membership benefits. Always explore news, blogs, and card options to stay informed about the most lucrative opportunities.


In conclusion, understanding the point-to-point costs associated with transferring Southwest Rewards is crucial for maximizing the value of your rewards. By carefully evaluating the fees and benefits of transferring points, you can make informed decisions that align with your travel goals and budget. Remember to always compare the costs of transferring points to the potential rewards gained to ensure you are getting the most out of your loyalty program.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I transfer Southwest Rewards points to another account?

You can transfer Southwest Rewards points to another account by using the points transfer feature on the Southwest Airlines website. Simply log in to your Rapid Rewards account, navigate to the Points Transfer section, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the transfer.

Are there any fees associated with transferring Southwest Rewards points?

Yes, there are fees associated with transferring Southwest Rewards points. The transfer fee varies depending on the number of points being transferred and the destination account. It is important to check the current fee structure on the Southwest Airlines website before initiating a transfer.

How long does it take for transferred Southwest Rewards points to be available in the recipient’s account?

The time it takes for transferred Southwest Rewards points to be available in the recipient’s account can vary. In most cases, the transfer is completed within 24 hours. However, it is recommended to allow for up to 72 hours for the points to appear in the recipient’s account.

Can I transfer Southwest Rewards points to a non-Southwest Airlines account?

No, Southwest Rewards points can only be transferred between Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards accounts. Points cannot be transferred to accounts with other airlines or loyalty programs.

Is there a limit to the number of Southwest Rewards points that can be transferred in a single transaction?

Yes, there is a limit to the number of Southwest Rewards points that can be transferred in a single transaction. The current limit is 60,000 points per transaction. If you need to transfer more points, you will need to initiate multiple transactions.

What happens if there is an error during the transfer of Southwest Rewards points?

If there is an error during the transfer of Southwest Rewards points, it is important to contact Southwest Airlines customer service immediately. They will be able to assist you in resolving the issue and ensuring that the points are transferred successfully.

John DoeJ

Leo the Card Bonus Guy

Leo, known as "Leo the Card Bonus Guy," is an expert in finding the top credit card bonuses. With years of experience, he's become a master at uncovering the best deals and teaching others how to do the same. His simple and effective tips help readers maximize their rewards without the hassle. Leo's passion for sharing his knowledge has made him a go-to source for anyone looking to get the most out of their credit cards.Follow on Twitter/X