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Secret Way to Use Your Citi ThankYou Points for Southwest Flights

Secret Way to Use Your Citi ThankYou Points for Southwest Flights

Million Mile SecretsSecret Way to Use Your Citi ThankYou Points for Southwest FlightsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Did you know you can redeem Citi ThankYou points for Southwest flights even though their flights don’t show up on the Citi travel website?

Secret Way To Use Your Citi ThankYou Points For Southwest Flights
Use Citi ThankYou Points for Southwest Flights to Fantastic Destinations Like the Willamette Valley Wine Region in Oregon

This is good news for folks with the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card.  Because you get 1.25 cents per point toward airfare when you use Citi ThankYou points linked to these 2 cards to book flights over the phone.

And folks with the Companion Pass can get double the value booking Southwest flights with Citi ThankYou points!

A huge thank you to Million Mile Secrets reader Vivek for sharing this secret booking method!

Redeem Citi ThankYou Points for Southwest Flights

Link:   How to Combine Your Citi ThankYou Points for Big Travel

Southwest is NOT a Citi ThankYou airline transfer partner.  This means you have to use the Citi travel portal to redeem Citi ThankYou points for Southwest flights.

But it’s NOT possible to book online.  So you’ll have to call the Citi travel center at 800-842-6596.

The good news is when you book this way, you’re basically paying cash for the flight.  This means you’ll earn Southwest loyalty points and credit toward A-List status!

Here are the steps.

Step 1.   Find Your Flight on the Southwest Website

First, search the Southwest website for your desired flight.  This will save you time when you call the Citi travel center.

For example, I searched a one-way flight from Austin to Houston, which costs ~$94 if you pay cash.

Secret Way To Use Your Citi ThankYou Points For Southwest Flights
Search the Southwest Website and Write Down the Details of Your Desired Flight Before Calling the Citi Travel Center

So I wrote down the details before calling Citi.

Step 2.   Call the Citi Travel Center

Next, call the Citi travel center at 800-842-6596 to book the flight.

Because I had the information from the Southwest website, I gave the booking agent with the date of departure, flight number, and travel time.  He was quickly able to locate the flight I wanted.

Secret Way To Use Your Citi ThankYou Points For Southwest Flights
Because I Already Had the Southwest Flight Information, It Was Easy for the Citi Travel Representative to Find the Flight

Step 3.   Verify the Price

During my test booking, the Citi travel representative said the flight cost was ~$124, which was ~$30 more than the cost displayed on the Southwest website.

After I explained the Southwest price was cheaper, the representative was able to check a different system and get the same price as the Southwest website.

Secret Way To Use Your Citi ThankYou Points For Southwest Flights
Wait!  Before You Book Your Southwest Flight Through the Citi Travel Center, Be Sure to Confirm the Price Matches the Southwest Website

Be sure to ask the agent to check all of their systems so the price matches Southwest.

Remember, the number of Citi ThankYou points you’ll use is based on the cash cost of the flight.  So you’ll want to get the best price!

Step 4.   Book Flight and Redeem Citi ThankYou Points

The Citi travel representative will take care of booking your flight and deduct the required number of ThankYou points from your account.

But it’s good to know how many points are required.

Folks with the Citi ThankYou® Premier or Citi Prestige card get 1.25 cents per point toward airfare.  So a $100 flight costs 8,000 Citi ThankYou points ($100 flight / 1.25 cents per point).

Step 5.   Review Flight Confirmation Email

You’ll get an email from Citi with the details of your flight and the number of points you used.

Secret Way To Use Your Citi ThankYou Points For Southwest Flights
Citi Sends an Email Confirmation With Your Flight Details and Number of Points Used

In this sample booking, I used ~7,000 Citi ThankYou points linked to my Citi Prestige to book a Southwest flight.

Step 6.   Add Your Southwest Companion Companion

This is an optional step for folks with the Companion Pass.

You can add a companion to any Southwest flight.  It doesn’t matter if it’s booked directly through the airline or a travel portal!

The trick is to add the flight to your Southwest frequent flyer account.  Just enter the confirmation number from the Citi email and the flight will show up in your account.

Secret Way To Use Your Citi ThankYou Points For Southwest Flights
Enter Your Southwest Confirmation Number and Name

You can read my step-by-step guide for adding a companion to Southwest flights booked through a travel portal.

How to Quickly Liquidate ThankYou Points for Southwest Flights

For folks without immediate plans to fly Southwest, there’s a quick way to convert all of your Citi ThankYou points to Southwest travel credit to use for future travel.

This might be useful if you’re looking to downgrade or cancel a Citi ThankYou credit card and don’t want to lose your points.

The trick is to redeem your Citi ThankYou points for ANY Southwest flight.  Then, cancel the flight and use the travel credit when you have firm plans.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1.   Book ANY Southwest Flight

You’ll follow the same steps from above to book a Southwest flight.  But depending on the number of Citi ThankYou points you’re looking to redeem, you can save time by booking a more expensive Southwest fare.

For example, let’s say you have 50,000 Citi ThankYou points.  These points are worth $625 in airfare if you have Citi ThankYou Premier card (50,000 points X 1.25 cents per point toward travel).

Secret Way To Use Your Citi ThankYou Points For Southwest Flights
Book a More Expensive Fare If You’re Looking to Quickly Convert Your Citi ThankYou Points to Southwest Travel Credit

Instead of booking multiple cheap Southwest flights, you can book a more expensive fare.  Remember, you won’t be taking this flight.  It’s just a shortcut to get Southwest travel credit for future travel.

For example, I found a one-way Business Select fare from Newark to Houston, which costs ~$613.

Step 2.   Cancel Southwest Flight Booked Through Travel Portal

After your flight is booked, you’ll have to cancel the trip to get the travel credit.

Go to the Southwest cancel flight website.  And enter the confirmation number from the Citi email.

Secret Way To Use Your Citi ThankYou Points For Southwest Flights
Enter the Flight Details From Your Citi Travel Confirmation to Cancel the Flight

Step 3.   Keep Southwest Travel Credit for Future Use

The last step is to hold the airfare value for future use.

Secret Way To Use Your Citi ThankYou Points For Southwest Flights
Select the Option to Hold Funds for Future Use

You do NOT want to request a refund.  Because the flight was booked by Citi, which means they would get the refund.

Note:   You’ll have 1 year to use the travel credit.

Bottom Line

You can use Citi ThankYou points to book Southwest flights.  To book, call the Citi travel center at 800-842-6596.

Folks with the Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige cards can get 1.25 cents per point toward Southwest airfare.

Redeeming points for flights through the Citi travel portal is essentially like paying cash.  This means you’ll earn Southwest points and credit toward A-List status!

Thanks to Million Mile Secrets reader Vivek for sharing this tip!

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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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Any restrictions booking Southwest flight using my Thankyou points for my spouse to fly?

Million Mile Secrets

You shouldn’t have any issues redeeming points if you’re booking flights for someone else.

I have redeemed TYP for Southwest flights by calling in. Here are some lessons learned.

1. Don’t include your middle name in the reservation. (If you do, it will get added to your first name, with no space in between, in Southwest’s reservation system. So, instead of “Last First Middle”, your name will appear as “Last FirstMiddle.” This means it won’t match the name on your Rapid Rewards account, so you won’t be able to use travel credits online. You will be able to call Res and get them to manually apply travel credits.)

2. You may not be able to change or cancel the reservation online. (Again, phone res can help, but if it’s hurricane season and the hold time is 12 hours 87 minutes, you may be out of luck.)

Million Mile Secrets

Thank you for sharing these tips!