How to Buy Southwest Rapid Rewards Points [Step-By-Step]

Southwest Airlines

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Southwest Rapid Rewards points are the currency you earn through the Southwest Airlines frequent flyer program. They can be used to purchase flights as well as hotel rooms, rental cars, and even gift cards (although the best value comes from flights).

We have previously posted about all the different ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points, but what about buying them?

Yes, in case you didn’t know, you can flat out buy points if you want to. While this generally isn’t a great deal, sometimes it can be useful. I’ll show you when it makes sense to purchase points and give you a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy Southwest Points?

Each Southwest Rapid Rewards point will cost you between 2.75-3 cents apiece, depending on how many points you are purchasing.

Number of Purchased Southwest PointsCost per point
2,000-4,500 Rapid Rewards points3 cents per point
5,000-60,000 Rapid Rewards points2.75 cents per point

If you are familiar with Southwest Rapid Rewards points, you might notice that this isn’t a great deal. This is because for redemptions, Southwest points generally are worth about 1.5-1.7 cents per point.

However, it’s good to know all your options, since there can be times when buying points is an easy way to get the points you need.

How to Buy Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

To purchase Southwest points, you must be a current Rapid Rewards member. A maximum of 60,000 points per transaction is allowed. There is a daily maximum of $2,000 in transactions per day per Rapid Rewards member account, and a credit card is required for all points purchases.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that purchased points do not count toward elite status, the Southwest Companion Pass, or any other type of qualification.

Hot Tip: While you might think you’re buying points directly from Southwest, the transaction actually happens via Points.com. Because of this, purchased points DO NOT count as travel and will not earn bonus points on your credit card. This would be a good opportunity to use the Chase Freedom Unlimited card to earn 1.5% cash-back (equal to 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points) on your entire purchase.

Buying Points for Yourself

  1. Go to Southwest.com and click on Rapid Rewards in the upper right corner.

    How To Buy Southwest Points
    Image courtesy of Southwest.com.
  2. Then select Buy or Transfer Points.

    How To Buy Southwest Points
    Image courtesy of Southwest.com.
  3. Select Buy Points. You will be prompted to log in to your account if you haven’t already.

    How To Buy Southwest Points
    Image courtesy of Southwest.com.
  4. Then select the number of points you would like to buy using the drop-down menu.

    How To Buy Southwest Points
    Image courtesy of Southwest.com.
  5. After you make your selection, simply fill out your billing information and click the yellow Pay Now button at the bottom right-hand side of your screen.

    How To Buy Southwest Points
    Image courtesy of Southwest.com.

Buying Points as a Gift

You are also allowed to purchase points as a gift for someone else.

Just as with buying points for yourself, they will not count toward the recipient’s elite status, Southwest Companion Pass, or any other type of qualification. However, gifted points will count toward the recipient’s 24-month account activity (each account is required to earn points through a qualifying activity at least once every 2 years to remain active.)

You will need the recipient’s name, email address, and Rapid Rewards account number to send a gift. If you receive a gift of Southwest points, you must claim them within 12 months or they will be forfeited.

  1. Go to Southwest.com and click on Rapid Rewards in the upper right corner.
  2. Then select Buy or Transfer Points.

    How To Buy Southwest Points
    Image courtesy of Southwest.com.
  3. Click on Gift Points. You will be prompted to log in to your account if you haven’t already.

    Image courtesy of Southwest.com.
  4. Next you can select the number of points you would like to purchase using the drop-down box. Fill in the recipient’s name, Rapid Rewards number, and email address. Then click Continue.

    How To Buy Southwest Points as a Gift
    Image courtesy of Southwest.com.
  5. Fill in your credit card information and click on Pay Now to complete your purchase.

    How To buy Southwest points as a gift
    Image courtesy of Southwest.com.

While buying points as a gift seems like a neat idea, the recipient will actually get more value from your gift if you send a Southwest gift card instead.

Bottom Line: Purchased Rapid Rewards points are nonrefundable, and they will not count toward any qualification, elite status, or Southwest Companion Pass.

When It Makes Sense to Buy Points

Top Off Your Account

This is probably the most common and sensible time to purchase points. If you have a specific redemption in mind and are short on points, buying extra points can sometimes make sense. However, I would still recommend this as a last resort.

A better way to top off your Southwest account is with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are predominantly earned using Chase rewards credit cards. Chase points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Southwest and transfers are usually instant.

So if you need extra Southwest points, look to your Ultimate Rewards account first before you consider purchasing points.

Bottom Line: If you are short on Southwest points for a specific redemption and don’t have any Chase Ultimate Rewards points, purchasing points might be a good way to top off your Southwest account.

Prevent Your Points From Expiring

Your Southwest Rapid Rewards points won’t expire as long as you earn points through a qualifying activity at least once every 2 years.

Buying points counts as a qualifying activity, so if you discover your points are about to expire and need a quick way to keep your account active, purchasing a small number of points will do the trick.

However, there are better ways to keep your account active too. Shopping through the Southwest shopping portal or participating in the Southwest dining program will earn qualifying points, but they can take a while to post to your account — so don’t wait until the last minute!

Using your Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card will also keep your points from expiring.

During Point Promotions

You might be wondering if points ever go on sale — and the answer is yes, they do! If you need to purchase points, sometimes the stars align and you can find a promotion to purchase them at a discount.

For example, a previous promotion offered a 40% bonus on points purchased in increments of 5,000. That would make the cost of points through this promotion about 1.96 cents each.

While this is a huge improvement over the regular cost, it’s still not a great deal (remember, Southwest points are generally worth about 1.5-1.7 cents each). However, if you need to top off your account for a specific redemption and you don’t have any Ultimate Rewards points, this would be a pretty good time to purchase points.

Hot Tip: Points can be purchased in increments of 500 during non-promotional periods, but are generally offered in increments of 1,000 or more during promotions.

Alternatives to Buying Points

Buying points isn’t the best way to increase your points balance — the times it makes sense to buy points are few and far between. So you might be wondering how in the world you can earn enough points for a free flight without buying points. Thankfully, there are so many ways to earn Southwest points that you shouldn’t need to buy them!

Credit Cards

Having the right credit cards in your wallet is the quickest way to earn lots of Southwest points. You can earn points through the Southwest credit cards, but also through cards that earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer directly to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio — so as long as you have Ultimate Rewards points, you can have Southwest points.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is our pick for anyone wanting to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points. These points are flexible so you can transfer them to other hotel and airline partners too, including Southwest of course.

Flying

Obviously you can earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points by flying. The number of points you earn is determined by the type of ticket you book. The least expensive type of ticket (what most of us are booking for leisure travel) earns the fewest points per dollar.

Type of fareNumber of points earned per dollar
Wanna Get Away6 points per dollar
Anytime10 points per dollar
Business Select12 points per dollar

Shopping and Dining

Did you know that you can earn Southwest points by shopping online and going out to eat at local restaurants? These unorthodox ways to earn Southwest points are great to help your account balance grow without having to do much work.

  • The Rapid Rewards shopping portal rewards you with bonus points for your everyday online shopping. Just be sure to click through the portal to your chosen store to complete your purchase and earn bonus points.
  • Sign up for Rapid Rewards Dining and earn bonus points every time you dine at a participating restaurant with your registered credit card.

Hot Tip: For more information about earning bonus Rapid Rewards points through shopping, dining, and more check out this piece: How To Earn A Stack Of Southwest Points — Without Flying!

Final Thoughts

Southwest Rapid Rewards points are available to purchase for 2.75-3 cents per point. While this generally isn’t a good deal, there are times you might need to purchase points to top off your account for a specific redemption.

Otherwise, it’s a better idea to stick to transferring points from your Chase Ultimate Rewards account or earning them through credit cards, flying or even shopping and dining.

However you acquire your Southwest points, enjoy the flight!


Featured Image Credit: Gil C/Shutterstock

FAQ

How Much Do Southwest Points Cost to Buy?

The price of Southwest points varies depending on how many you are buying at once. Purchases of 2,000-4,500 points cost 3 cents each, and purchases of 5,000-60,000 points cost 2.75 cents each. Look out for occasional promotions where you can purchase points at a discount.

Is Buying Southwest Points a Good Deal?

Generally, no. Southwest points are worth about 1.5-1.7 cents per point, but they sell for 2.75-3 cents per point. However, there are some instances when it might make sense to purchase points. For example, if you need to quickly top off your account for a specific redemption, buying points can be a good idea.

Does Buying Southwest Points Count Toward the Companion Pass?

No, purchased points do not count toward Companion Pass status. Only points earned through the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards, revenue flights booked through Southwest, and base points earned from Southwest partners count toward Companion Pass status.

Where Do I Buy Southwest Points?

You can purchase Southwest points through Southwest.com. However, the transaction will be completed via Points.com.

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