Southwest: More Points Now Needed for Some Free Flights

Southwest Airlines jets are seen at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on May 16, 2008. (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)
Southwest Airlines jets are seen at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on May 16, 2008. (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)


(USA Today) – Southwest Airlines passengers will need to cash in more frequent-flier points for a free ticket on certain flights beginning in April.

Just how many more points — and on which flights — Southwest isn’t saying and probably never will, making it harder for travelers to figure out in advance how many points they need for a particular trip.

The airline announced the changes in a brief note to members of its Rapid Rewards loyalty program earlier this month.

“Beginning April 17, 2015, the number of Rapid Rewards Points needed to redeem for certain flights will vary based on destination, time, day of travel, demand, fare class and other factors,” the airline said. “However, there are still many flights which will stay at the current redemption rate. And don’t forget that when fares go on sale, so do the points needed for redeeming for a reward flight on those fares.”

The number of points needed for a free Southwest flight already varies because it’s tied to the price of a ticket at the time of booking (as are the number of points earned for flights taken). Want to fly from Phoenix to Las Vegas next month? The fewest number of points needed is 3,777 one way, mostly for flights on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Fly on a Friday, and that figure jumps to 6,056. Fly at prime time Friday — right after work — and it climbs to 12,046. Those figures climb as the date approaches and fares rise.


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