Potential Great Use for Southwest Rapid Reward Points

Discussion in 'Southwest Airlines | Rapid Rewards (w/ AirTran)' started by RestlessLocationSyndrome, Jan 25, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. RestlessLocationSyndrome
    Original Member

    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    So I recently stumbled upon a great use for Southwest Rapid Reward Points... last minute bookings on AirTran.

    As many of you know, you can convert Southwest Points into a free standard roundtrip award for 19,200 pts ($318 value) on Southwest. However, the availability of these awards is hidden until you make the redemption which makes this a risky gamble. This gamble didn't pay off as there was no availability for a LAX-AUS ticket I was trying to book for my fiance.

    As luck would have it, I had some time free up in my calendar where I could fly last second to see a buddy in ATL. As I started to look, I remembered that I could transfer to AirTran for free flights with them. However, before doing so I just wanted to see if I could see if AirTran even had award availability on their site. Since they still use credits, their award availability is accurate and visible prior to making the transfer.

    Turned out there was award availability on both Southwest AND AirTran and tickets were going for > $400 outbound and > $250 inbound... a pretty good redemption value of 3.3 cpm vs. the standard 1.67 cpm.

    Thus, if you're looking at making a last minute booking which can be very expensive but the plane may not be all that full, you may find a very good value in searching for AirTran availability to see if it's worth trading some Southwest Pts for A+ credits. Even if you can only get it one way, it can be a good deal. On my flights, I had no one on the middle seat to ATL and I had a whole row to myself on the way back.
    Mikus33 and skyvan like this.
  2. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

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    Good tip.

    Also, you can always call Southwest to find if there is standard availability for the credits on WN. They don't charge phone booking fees.
  3. nsx
    Original Member

    nsx Silver Member

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    Yes, last minute (normally meaning less than 7 days ahead) bookings using capacity-controlled awards are the highest value use for Rapid Rewards. I haven't heard reports on whether or not AirTran award seats are more plentiful in this situation than Southwest award seats.

    As for other programs, top elite members should pay for a ticket and earn the bonus points. Award passengers should be the non-elite family members.

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