Planning to book a trip in 2024? Well, flying to your next destination via Southwest Airlines has just gotten a little more expensive — at least when it comes to using your Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
If you are a Southwest Rapid Rewards member, you may casually skim (or skip altogether) reading every word in your Rapid Rewards account statement.
As first reported by Frequent Miler and confirmed when this TPG writer checked the bottom of her Rapid Rewards account statement email on Nov. 10, Southwest recently issued the following notice:
Starting Jan. 1, 2024, for flights purchased using Rapid Rewards points, the number of Rapid Rewards points required per dollar of base fare will increase by approximately 4%.
So, what does this mean for travelers?
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Southwest Rapid Reward points will be worth less in 2024
Currently, TPG values Southwest Rapid Rewards points at 1.4 cents apiece, which means your points will soon be worth 1.3 cents each once the change takes effect. However, people who book travel for 2024 before the Jan. 1 change will not be affected. Therefore, we recommend reserving award flights before the increase occurs.
“We recently shared with Rapid Rewards® Members that beginning Jan. 1, 2024, they’ll see a modest increase in the number of Rapid Rewards points required per dollar of the base fare to redeem Wanna Get Away®, Wanna Get Away Plus®, Anytime, and Business Select® fares,” a Southwest spokesperson told TPG in a statement. “We continue our focus on enhancing the Customers’ experiences and remain committed to delivering nonstop Southwest Hospitality. We’re making this change as a normal course of business to adapt to the current environment and increased cost pressures.”
Though Southwest is giving its customers ample notice regarding the change, this is not the first time the airline has devalued its points program, which already ties the number of points required to the cash price. In 2021, the loyalty program decreased the value of Rapid Rewards points by 6%.
While a 4% increase in the number of points needed to book an award flight is not a huge loss, it’s interesting that an already revenue-based program would see a devaluation like this. With the current pattern, though, it wouldn’t surprise us if this happens again with Rapid Rewards in another couple of years.