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Why You Should NOT Buy Points Even if You Have The Southwest Companion Pass

Why You Should NOT Buy Points Even if You Have The Southwest Companion Pass

Million Mile SecretsWhy You Should NOT Buy Points Even if You Have The Southwest Companion PassMillion Mile Secrets Team

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dhammer53 wrote in to say that you can buy Southwest points for 2.5 cents per point and asked if this is a good deal if you have the Southwest Companion Pass.

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Is it Worth it to Buy Southwest Points?

Buying points usually is not a great deal unless you’re topping-up for an award or if you’ve done the math to see if buying points is cheaper than paying cash for a ticket.

Does Buying Southwest Points Makes Sense

But perhaps it could be different if you’ve got the Southwest Companion Pass?

Emily and I have a Companion Pass and this is perhaps the best miles and points perk which we have.  Why?  Because it lets a companion travel with you for free whenever you travel on Southwest.  It doesn’t matter if your flight is booked with points or paid for with cash – your companion flies free!

You can redeem 1 Southwest point for a fixed 1.67 cents towards their cheapest Wanna Getaway fares.  This is a bad deal because each point costs 2.5 cents, so you’re buying 1 point for 2.5 cents and then using that 1 point for flights worth only 1.67 cents.  That said, buying points could make sense if you’re just a few points away from an award.

But if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, 1 Southwest point gets you 3.34 cents (1.67 cents X 2) towards Wanna Getaway fares.  That’s because your companion gets to fly with you for free (you only pay $2.50 per segment in security fees) even if you book your flight with points (or if someone else books your flight with points).

So maybe it does makes sense to buy Southwest points for 2.5 cents per point if you’re going to redeem them for 3.34 cents per point!

Why You Should NOT Buy Points for a Southwest Ticket With the Companion Pass

No, you’re still better off paying cash even if you have a Southwest Companion Pass!

Let’s say that you ran out of Southwest points and were considering paying $100 in cash for a Southwest Wanna Get Away ticket and adding your companion for free.

A $100 ticket will cost you $100 in cash and you will earn 600 Southwest points (you earn 6 points per $1 towards a Wanna Get Away Fare).  600 Southwest points are worth $10 towards Wanna Get Away fares, so you’re effectively paying only $90.

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You Earn 600 Points With a $100 Wanna Get Away Ticket

On the other hand, you will need 6,000 Southwest points to buy a $100 Wanna Get Away ticket ($100 ticket price X 60 points per $1 ticket price).

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You Need 6,000 Southwest Points (60 Points Per $1 X $100 Ticket Price) for a $100 Ticket

But it will cost you $150 (6,000 X 2.5 cents per Southwest point) to buy 6,000 points, so this is NOT a good value!

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Why Pay $150 When You Can Pay $100?

If you have a Southwest Companion Pass, you’re much better off paying $100 for a Southwest flight and earning 600 Southwest points worth $10, than to pay $150 to buy Southwest points and then redeem them for a Wanna Get Away fare.

Note that the calculations for Business Select and Anytime fares also show that you are better off paying cash for a ticket than buying Southwest points.

Bottom Line

You’re better off paying cash to buy a Southwest ticket once you run out of Southwest points than to buy Southwest points at 2.5 cents per point.  This is true even if you have a Southwest Companion Pass!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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What about now that southwest gives 40% extra for every purchase. Plus if points are purchased you still get the 2pts per one dollar. This promotion is running until July 31. I did my math with current tickets from Houston to Colorado like you did. Regular purchase ticket it cost 1.82 cents per mile (11720point for ticket vs $213.70). Buying points 12600pts. for $247.50 = 1.96 cents per mile but when you include the 2pts per $1 on the mile purchase: 1.77 cents. Is this worth it and i’m not even sure if i did my math right!

@Daraius @choi UR pts don’t count towards CP. Transfer over 1,000 pts and your CP pts balance will not change

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Million Mile Secrets

@WeddingSpend – No offense taken.

@Scott – Shhh… That was my Saturday’s post!

@jason – Ha! I included some in the trip report today.

@elle – Congrats and thanks for reading!

@Joncski – That’s correct – they don’t count towards the Companion Pass and neither does buying points directly from Southwest count towards the Companion Pass.

I like the timing of this post because I just earned companion pass status today thanks to coming across your blog 3 months ago. this is an appropriate time to say thank you for all of the information you post even though some other people obviously don’t like that you share it with people that are new like me. I try to be reasonable with it even though this is very exciting stuff, and I have learned a lot, made some mistakes, done a lot of research and definitely pay attention to FT and share what I can. Anyway this a great hobby and its great to have info like yours to save a lot of trouble, so thanks again!

Did you and Emily have a fight or what? I have not seen pictures of her lately!

@Amol

And right now there is a double points promotion. Combined with a southwest gift card from office supply, and you get at least 17 points per dollar.

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