Southwest News: Devaluation, Companion Pass, and More

Today’s news is all Southwest related, so if you’re not a fan of Southwest, I’d suggest you move on to something else.  I’m definitely a Southwest fan, but I don’t get to fly them much these days since I’m not living in a Southwest city.  Either way, I want to pass along several Southwest related pieces of news.

Southwest No-Show Policy Now in Effect

As of September 13th, 2013, you must cancel your reservation 10 minutes before departure in order to get a refund.  Prior to this date, you could just skip your flight, and Southwest could convert the ticket value into a Southwest flight credit.  Now, if you don’t actually call and cancel the reservation, you’ll lose the value of your ticket.  It’s still an extremely generous cancellation policy, but if you’ve been accustomed to just skipping your flight, you’ll need to add an extra step: call and cancel your reservation.

Devaluation of Southwest Points

Based on the details I’d seen in a few blog posts, I was expecting an email from Southwest telling me about an upcoming devaluation.  Sure enough, yesterday afternoon Southwest informed me via email that:

Wanna Get Away® reward flight bookings made on or after March 31, 2014 will require 70 points per dollar. This is an increase from the 60 points per dollar currently required. Anytime and Business Select® reward flight redemption rates, as well as the points per dollar you earn when flying, will remain the same as they are today.

The good news is that we’ve got more than a six month notification.  The bad news is that the value of Southwest points (when used for Wanna Get Away fares) is going to decrease by about 15%.  While this is disappointing news, it’s a reminder that points programs always tend to move in the direction of devaluation.  Rarely will you see points becoming more valuable.  If you’ve got the points, they are there to spend – not to save.

Southwest 50,000 Sign Up Bonus & Companion Pass

Every 3 or 4 months, Southwest will increase the bonus on their credit card from the standard 25,000 points to an impressive 50,000 points.  With the current value, that’s $833 worth of Wanna Get Away flights.  Well, the 50,000 offer is active.  With the lucrative opportunity to combine a personal card and a business card to get within 10,000 points of a Companion Pass, I’d suggest you get this card if you’ve already applied for a personal card or business card in 2013.  Otherwise, my suggestion is to sit this one out so till the promotion later in the year (assuming that history repeats itself).  That way, you’ll be lined up to get your points in 2014 and earn a Companion Pass at the start of a year instead of the end of a year.

If you travel domestically, live in a Southwest city, and enjoy flying Southwest, this is probably the best credit offer for you.  Remember, be sure to time your application right if you want to go for a Companion Pass.

If you’re not familiar with the Companion Pass, here’s more information.

Comments

  1. Charles says

    Craig,
    The 50K SW offer is good through Oct. 30th. If you apply in mid October, then you have til mid January to meet the minimum spend. Meet the minimum spend in January and you will receive the 50K in 2014. No need to sit this one out:)
    Charles

    • says

      Charles,
      At the very least a person should sit it out or at least a few weeks. A person could probably get the card now and the points wouldn’t post till 2014 if they delayed the spending, but why risk it.
      I had a friend who applied late in 2012 and wasn’t going to finish the 2,000 spend until 2013. Unfortunately, due to a refund on his account he actually triggered the spend early. The safest bet is to wait later in the year (assuming there is another 50,000 offer).

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