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Do Southwest points expire? Here’s what you need to know

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Do Southwest points expire? Here’s what you need to know

Jason StaufferDo Southwest points expire? Here’s what you need to knowMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

If you’re traveling domestically, it’s hard to beat Southwest. The Southwest Rapid Rewards program is straightforward, you’ll always get two free checked bags per person, no change or cancellation fees and there are frequent Southwest sales. Not only that, but they also have the best deal in travel – the Southwest Companion Pass.

But do Southwest points expire? No, until recently the biggest downside to collecting Southwest points is that they used to expire after 24 months of no earning activity and unlike most other airline miles, redeeming Southwest points wouldn’t reset the expiration date.

Southwest points don’t expire anymore! (Photo by of rypson/iStock by Getty Images.)

Do Southwest points expire?

Southwest points do not expire, but that’s not the case with most airlines. Here’s a look at airline mileage expiration policies:

  • Air Canada: 12 months without activity
  • Alaska Airlines: 24 months without activity
  • American Airlines: 18 months without activity
  • British Airways: 36 months without activity
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 36 months after earning
  • Delta Miles: Never expire
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 18 months without activity
  • JetBlue: Never expire
  • Singapore Airlines: 36 months after earning
  • Southwest Airlines: Never expire
  • Spirit Airlines: 3 months without earning
  • United Airlines: Never expire

Sometimes airlines get tricky with the wording of the expiration policies. They may advertise miles that never expire, but your frequent flyer account can be shutdown after a certain length of inactivity. So pay attention to that.

Use Southwest points for award flights

Southwest points don’t expire, so you can collect them freely without worry of ever losing them, but with Southwest there’s no official award chart. Instead, the price you pay in points is tied to the cash price of the flight. The benefit of this is you’ll always be able to use Southwest points to book a flight with points, as long as there is an open seat. The downside is you can never be exactly sure how much you’ll need to pay for a flight.

You can earn Southwest points by opening a Southwest credit card, like these:

The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business cards has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

One of the best parts about these cards is that the intro bonus you earn will count toward earning a Southwest Companion Pass. You can also transfer Chase points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio or you can transfer Marriott points to Southwest at a 3:1 ratio.

Bottom line

Southwest points never expire, regardless of whether or not there is any activity in your Southwest account. That’s an excellent change because previously they would expire if you didn’t have any earning activity in 24 months .

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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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The only reason I have not elected to get a SW card is that my CC thru my credit union has a lower int rate.

Also do you have any plans to fly into Fresno FAT anytime soon? TY FOR bN so awesome, I do enjoy Flying SW!

Interest rate? If one carries a balance, this “hobby” is most definitely not for them.

It is no wonder why most floggers never explicitly mention this. *cough* kickbacks *cough* 😉

Gotta do what’s best for your situation!

I personally never carry a balance on any of my credit cards, so the interest rate is a non-issue for me. Plus, as much as I love credit unions, I’ve found that the credit card offerings from many banks have a lot more to offer in terms of value and perks when it comes to traveling.

Erewards

Meghan,

I do not think that simply being a holder of one of Southwest’s Chase credit cards is sufficient to keep your RR miles from expiring.

To keep miles from expiring solely via a SW credit card, you must make at least one (1) “points earning transaction” every 24 months (and have it post to your RR account prior to the expiration of said 24 month period.

With UAL there are ways to reactivate expired miles. Can I do the same thing with SWA expired RR points?

I found the easiest way to extend the South West points expiration date is to add the South West Rapid Rewards Shopping extension button to Chrome. You can earn points online at hundreds of sites including Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware. . If you’re planning to purchase something from one of these stores, you can order it on-line for free pickup at the store and earn points. With the Shopping button activated, when you go to any of the South West Shopping sites, a small window opens giving you the chance to activate points for your shopping at that site.

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