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Rapid Rewards Rip-Off

RyanT
New Arrival

2020, COVID happens... not many people travel. My family is in NY, which is where I travel the most. Normally, a flight there costs between 28,000-36,000 points, round trip. 
Over the past year, I build up about 50,000 points, so I'm sitting at 150,000 points. 
New York City finally opens up, so I go to book a flight there today, and they are charging 55,000 points for ONE LEG of the trip. That's 110,000 points for one trip to NY. 
I saved up points over nearly 3 years only to find out Southwest devalued points almost 4-fold. 
After I spend these points, I'm getting rid of my Southwest Rapid Rewards. They clearly screw their customers to keep investors happy.  

15 REPLIES 15

Re: Rapid Rewards Rip-Off

jksobonya
Rising Star

Well, I am not sure if you noticed, but flights are a bit more expensive these days (dollar wise and point wise) due to the ever-evolving COVID situation and increasing supply & demand. It's not unique to Southwest - the entire airline industry is experiencing it.

 

Good luck starting over with another airline that charges you baggage fees and fees just to sit in certain seats on the plane 😅

 

Also: purchasing flights with RR points doesn't count towards A-List or Companion Pass status, but since that doesn't interest you, feel free to burn through the points. 

 

--Jessica

Re: Rapid Rewards Rip-Off

RyanT
New Arrival

I know prices go up with supply and demand. I'm not naive. But to go up 4-fold? No. That's price-gouging. That's taking advantage of your customer base. That's ruining trust. I've stuck by Southwest and have used their credit card faithfully since 2004. Seventeen years of loyalty and they want to wipe out nearly my last 4 years of accumulating points, and I've spent a lot of money to build up those points, for a single ticket just to New York. It's not like it's a ticket to Australia.

By the way, not sure if you noticed, but I didn't say I'd stop flying Southwest. I just said I'd be getting rid of their credit card.  I'll go with a credit card where points can be applied to virtually everything, not just plane tickets. 

And the airline's jacking-up of prices to make up for their lack of planning for a rainy day, as the saying goes, well, they're going to suffer in terms of a loss of credit card holders. I'm not the only one who is getting rid of his SW Visa credit card as a result of this.

Re: Rapid Rewards Rip-Off

gsking
Active Member

Just to clarify,  there is some unusually strange pricing going on right now with points relative to cash.   Something to do with the sale,  it seems.   Not sure why it would change the otherwise fixed ratio,  but people are reporting it happening. 

 

Combine that with a rush in purchases,  and yeah,  not the best time to buy with points. 

 

As noted, most of us get the Southwest card for Companion Pass more than points.   Agreed it's kinda silly to take 1.6% back in points when you can get 1 or 2 points in cash.   But the CP makes up for it. 

 

Not to mention the free checked bags.   I think that saved me over $3000 this year alone. 

 

So I concur that the current RR happenings are frustrating.   But I'd say on their worst day,  they're better than any other airline's best day.   I'm sure most of my points on this airlines have gone unused and wasted.   Whereas here,  I can book my family tickets with free cancelation all I want.   Great for flexible traveling. 

 

Good luck, 

Re: Rapid Rewards Rip-Off

dfwskier
Top Contributor

Cost of a ticket in Rapid Reward points ties directly to cost of that ticket in dollars. If the dollar price increases. so does the points price.

 

You could look at the low price calendar to see if travelling on a different day would be cheaper.

 

Also, right now there is a 50% sale on for flights between Sept 15 and November 3 . See if that makes a difference.

 

Right now flight prices starting September 1 are very high. The airline won't sell many tickets at those prices (as you are probably proof). I expect those prices to drop as we get closer to September..

 

You have two options:

 

1) Wait to see how much points prices decline  .or.

2) Buy the ticket, but keep watching points prices. When they drop, change to the lower fare, and points will be returned to your Rapid Rewards account.

 

Re: Rapid Rewards Rip-Off

RyanT
New Arrival

@dfwskier - I appreciate the comments, but that doesn't help me for a trip in late July. Normally 5-week's lead time is standard for domestic travel for me. 
As I said above in response to another commenter, this is nothing other than price-gouging by Southwest.  A way to clear out the points accumulated by long-time customers. 

Re: Rapid Rewards Rip-Off

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

@RyanT It's simply supply and demand for ALL airlines.  Demand is skyrocketing right now and prices are going up in response to that.  You're way off the mark thinking Southwest is price gouging just to screw you.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Rapid Rewards Rip-Off

RyanT
New Arrival

@TheMiddleSeat No one likes the middle seat. 

And you're naive if you don't think that Southwest is trying to erase points built up over the COVID year to protect their bottom line. They lost a LOT of money in 2020 and early 2021.  If they continue to allow people to fly for free using all the points they accumulated, they lose a LOT more. 
It's time to take off the Southwest Fan-Boy hat and put on the CEO hat. My father was a General Electric-trained (under Jack Welch) business man who was hired to become a CEO of a $250 million company by their board of directors, back in the mid 1980's. Focusing on the bottom line is what he was hired to do. Slashing jobs, cutting costs, and making a nice profit for the investors. That's how businesses survive in tough times.
Plus, as some other guy said in response to my post, they did devalue points 6% in March. 
So not only am I not off the mark, the bulls-eye is under my feet.

Re: Rapid Rewards Rip-Off

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

@RyanT Yes, the devaluation happened and is doing what you speak of related to reducing liability related to points. Overall higher prices are not related specifically to reducing liability since they are directly tied to ticket prices. Industry wide demand and prices are up significantly. You're mixing two unrelated things, but combined together it does make point redemption more expensive than last year.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

 

Re: Rapid Rewards Rip-Off

jksobonya
Rising Star

@RyanT wrote:

@TheMiddleSeat No one likes the middle seat. 

And you're naive if you don't think that Southwest is trying to erase points built up over the COVID year to protect their bottom line. They lost a LOT of money in 2020 and early 2021.  If they continue to allow people to fly for free using all the points they accumulated, they lose a LOT more. 
It's time to take off the Southwest Fan-Boy hat and put on the CEO hat. My father was a General Electric-trained (under Jack Welch) business man who was hired to become a CEO of a $250 million company by their board of directors, back in the mid 1980's. Focusing on the bottom line is what he was hired to do. Slashing jobs, cutting costs, and making a nice profit for the investors. That's how businesses survive in tough times.
Plus, as some other guy said in response to my post, they did devalue points 6% in March. 
So not only am I not off the mark, the bulls-eye is under my feet.


The delusion is pretty strong with this one. 

 

You're acting like Southwest is increasing the amount of points it takes to redeem flights on purpose so people are less likely to use their points. I don't see how that is a realistic view, aside from the 6% devaluation in points, which IMO isn't a big deal.

 

What's more realistic is Southwest increasing fares in general, which would in turn take more points to redeem flights. I'd believe that more than anything else at this point (ha) - but honestly, what airline isn't attempting this in some fashion? Every single airline is trying to recoup lost revenue, and Southwest continues to be miles ahead of the competition by offering 2 free checked bags, no change fees, AND no cancellation fees. Other airlines are already back to charging their fees, in addition to flight fares that are similar to Southwest.

 

Still, from everything that I've seen, flight prices overall are back to where they were pre-COVID. And let's not forget, Southwest is celebrating 50 years as an airline and are slashing fall fares by 50% at this very moment. You should take advantage. 

 

Southwest continues to be ahead of the game.

 

--Jessica