What to Know About Southwest’s Policy for Points Expiration

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What to Know About Southwest’s Policy for Points Expiration

Million Mile SecretsWhat to Know About Southwest’s Policy for Points ExpirationMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Million Mile Secrets reader, Kim, emailed:

I checked my Southwest account and noticed my last activity was January 19, 2017.  I saw the terms & conditions say Southwest doesn’t consider redeeming points as qualifying activity to keep your account active.  Is this new?

It’s good to know how to keep your Southwest account active.  Because Southwest points expire after 24 months from the date of your last qualifying activity.

As reader Kim points out, redeeming Southwest points for an award flight does NOT qualify as activity.  But there are lots of other ways to keep your points alive!

Southwest Points Expiration
Keep Your Southwest Points Alive, So You Can Use Them to Visit Terrific Destinations, Like Los Cabos!

I’ll share the Southwest points expiration policy.  And show you easy ways to keep your account active!

Keep Your Southwest Points From Expiring

Link:   How To Keep Your Airline Miles From Expiring!

Link:   10 Unusual Ways to Earn Southwest Points

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.  This includes booking an award flight and charity donations.

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.

Note:   If you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months (except certain small business cards), it’s very unlikely you’ll be approved for any Southwest cards.

Southwest Points Expiration
You Can Earn Southwest Points With Any of the 3 Southwest Credit Cards! And Being a Cardholder Means Your Points NEVER Expire

Here are other ways to generate account activity, which will reset the date for your points expiration:

And don’t forget to check out the post 10 unusual ways to earn Southwest points, written by Lyn from GotoTravelGal.com.

Also, keep in mind, the value of your Southwest points fluctuates depending on your travel dates and destination.  So sometimes it can make sense to book a paid flight during a Southwest fare sale.  You’ll also earn Southwest points on paid flights and can still add a friend or loved one if you have the Companion Pass!

Note:   It can take 4 to 6 weeks for points from certain activities to appear in your account.  So it’s not a good idea to wait until just before the expiration date to do something.

When Do Your Southwest Points Expire?

If you’re wondering when your last activity was, simply log into your Southwest account.

Southwest Points Expiration
Log-In to Your Southwest Account to Check Your Activity Date

After you click My Accounton the top right corner, you’ll see the date of your last account activity.  Each time you earn qualifying points, this date will reset.

Bottom Line

Southwest points expire after 24 months from the date of your last qualifying activity.

The airline does NOT consider booking or taking an award flight as activity.  Instead, you must earn Southwest points by taking a paid flight, purchasing Southwest points, transferring points from your Chase Ultimate Rewards account, or many other ways!

Folks with a Southwest credit card, like Chase Southwest Premier card, don’t have to worry about points expiration.  Because as long as you’re a Southwest cardholder, your points will NOT expire!

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year.
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  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
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  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events and more

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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Good you pointed this out!

Last night I had to buy 1k miles to restore my Frontier miles. I used miles to “buy” a magazine and thought that would keep my miles alive.

NO!

You have to find a way, like their credit card (annual fee), add e-miles, or take a paid flight, to extend your expiration date.

A miles redemption flight will NOT count.

There has to be something to add miles to your account, in order to extend the expiration.

I had to go to points.com and buy 1k Frontier miles at 2.38 cents/mile. They have a $.011 value. This was a “one time exception” to restore my miles.

Whenever I can find flights to use these up, I’m going to close the account.

Also, their 6 month expiration has a 2 month buffer, so won’t expire until 8 months, according the the CSA, but mine actually didn’t get cancelled until around 10 months. YMMV.

Another key detail is that even though your points are active now, you won’t be able to book a flight for a date beyond their scheduled expiration. For instance if your points are due go expire in November, you can’t book flight for December. Point expiration policies are the one big consumer unfriendly feature of this program.