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Southwest Is Great, but Their Points Expiration Policy Isn’t! Here Are 9 Ways to Keep From Losing Your Points

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Southwest Is Great, but Their Points Expiration Policy Isn’t! Here Are 9 Ways to Keep From Losing Your Points

Meghan HunterSouthwest Is Great, but Their Points Expiration Policy Isn’t! Here Are 9 Ways to Keep From Losing Your PointsMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

If you’re traveling domestically, it’s hard to beat Southwest.  They have a straightforward loyalty program, 2 free checked bags per person, no change or cancellation fees, and frequently have great fare sales.  And they have the best deal in travel – the Southwest Companion Pass!

But do Southwest points expire?  Yes!  The one downside to collecting Southwest points is they expire after 24 months of no earning activity.  And unlike most other airlines’ miles, redeeming Southwest points will not reset the expiration date.

So we’ve put together a list of ways to keep your account active so you don’t have to worry about losing your hard-earned points!

Southwest Points Expire After 24 Months of No Earning Activity.  There Are Lots of Ways to Keep Your Southwest Points Alive, so You Can Use Them to Visit Terrific Destinations, Like Las Vegas!

Do Southwest Points Expire?  After 24 Months of No Earning, Yes

You must earn qualifying Southwest points at least once every 24 months to keep your account active.  Otherwise, you risk losing all of your points.

Southwest does not consider redeeming points as account activity, including activities like booking an award flight and charity donations.

Here’s how to keep the points in your Southwest account active.

1.   Hold a Southwest Credit Card

One of the easiest ways to keep your points from expiring is to have one of these Southwest credit cards:

As long as you’re a cardholder, your points will not expire.

Just remember, with any of the Southwest cards, because of the Chase 5/24 rule, you won’t be approved if you’ve opened 5+ cards from any bank (excluding certain business cards) in the past 24 months.

2.   Take a Paid Flight on Southwest

Don’t hate us for stating the obvious, but you’ll earn points for taking a paid flight with Southwest which will reset the date for your points expiration.

3.   Purchase Southwest Points

Purchasing Southwest points is considered a qualifying activity when it comes to Southwest’s points expiration policy.

This is undoubtedly the easiest and most straightforward way to keep your points from expiring but it likely isn’t the most cost-effective.  You can buy a minimum of 2,000 Southwest points for $60 (that’s 3 cents per point).

Personally, I’d rather just earn a few bonus points by making an online purchase through Southwest’s shopping portal, for example.

4.   Dine Out

Another easy way to earn Southwest points is to enroll in Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Dining Program and dine at a participating restaurant.

And luckily, earning points this way doesn’t require an expensive meal at a 5-star establishment.  Many of Southwest’s dining partners have meals for under $10, meaning you could grab a cheap meal and easily prevent your Southwest points from expiring.

5.   Shop

Like many other airline frequent flyer programs, Southwest offers an online shopping portal.  So if you’re planning a purchase you can find your desired online merchant and click through their online store.

Purchasing School Supplies or Some Fancy New Electronics? Shop Through Southwest’s Shopping Portal at Stores Like Apple, Staples, and Walmart and Earn Bonus Points While You’re At It!

You’ll earn bonus Southwest points and extend the expiration date of your points.  It’s a win-win!

6.   Rent a Car

If you have a car rental planned, you could credit your rental to your Southwest account.  This would be considered qualified activity and would reset the expiration date of your Southwest points balance.

You can earn Southwest points for rentals through most of the major rental agencies, including Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz, National, and more.  And you’ll also earn points for taking a shuttle service with SuperShuttle.

7.   Book a Hotel Room

Another way to earn Southwest points is by booking a hotel room.

To earn points, you must stay at one of Southwest’s hotel partners and credit the rewards you earn to your Southwest account.  Southwest’s partners include hotel chains like:

  • Best Western
  • Choice Hotels
  • Hyatt
  • Marriott
  • Radisson
  • and more…

Once the points credit to your account, the expiration date of your points will be extended for another 24 months!

8.   Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio and the transfers are instant.  So if you need to keep your Southwest points from expiring, this is a good option for those who have a stash of Ultimate Rewards points.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest when you have cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve.

It’s Easy to Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest With Just a Click of a Button

9.   Transfer Hotel Points to Southwest

You can transfer hotel points from hotels including Hyatt, Marriott, or Choice, and Wyndham to your Southwest loyalty account.  The minimum number of points you can convert and the number of points you’ll earn varies by hotel.

Not only can this be a good option for topping off your account for an award flight, but it also extends the expiration date of your Southwest points for another 24 months.

Bottom Line

Southwest points expire after 24 months of no earning activity and redeeming Southwest points does not reset their expiration date!

Thankfully, there are lots of quick and easy ways to keep your Southwest points from disappearing for good.  Any Southwest point earning activity will keep your points alive, including transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards and hotel programs, shopping through Southwest’s shopping portal, and more.

One of the easiest ways to keep your points from expiring is to have one of these Southwest credit cards:

As long as you’re a cardholder, your points will not expire.

What’s your favorite method for keeping your Southwest points from expiring?  Share your experience in the comments below!

Check out our guides for using Southwest Airlines miles:

And subscribe to our newsletter for more need-to-know miles & points info delivered right to your inbox!

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks and WiFi.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

More Info

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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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.

Gregory Johnson

Go on a flight. I do 10-12 roundtrip leisure flights a year.

What about their rewards for opinions program?

I do their surveys sometimes to reset the expiration on my Southwest points. Sign up at http://www.rewardsforopinions.com