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Re: Found an issue with changing Travel Funds to Points

Matt4202
Active Member

I like the way that you put it when you say those who play the “game” so to speak.

 

I usually travel on points so I hadn’t really looked into A-List because points trips don’t even count for the flight counter portion. I could fly 300 one way flights in a year and if they were all on points not earn status, which is one downfall of Southwest.

 

I’ve earned the Companion Pass twice in the last 5 years flying with them that’s about the only “game” I played. But since the announcement of SW adding in 10 flight credits toward A-List that ours you 40% of the way there. Which had me look further and see that A-List might actually be possible.

 

The only downside is I found this information too late as I made about 8 bookings with points in March when prices dropped to all time lows for future travel all the way through August. I wish now I would’ve paid the cash rates for those bookings.

 

Something notice though is that points since March have been devalued. In March I paid 2324 points for a One Way $49 flight that same flight is still $49 but it’s 2944 points. Over a 20% increase in points needed to book that same $49 flight.

Re: Found an issue with changing Travel Funds to Points

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@Matt4202 wrote:

I like the way that you put it when you say those who play the “game” so to speak.

 

I usually travel on points so I hadn’t really looked into A-List because points trips don’t even count for the flight counter portion. I could fly 300 one way flights in a year and if they were all on points not earn status, which is one downfall of Southwest.

 

I’ve earned the Companion Pass twice in the last 5 years flying with them that’s about the only “game” I played. But since the announcement of SW adding in 10 flight credits toward A-List that ours you 40% of the way there. Which had me look further and see that A-List might actually be possible.

 

The only downside is I found this information too late as I made about 8 bookings with points in March when prices dropped to all time lows for future travel all the way through August. I wish now I would’ve paid the cash rates for those bookings.

 

Something notice though is that points since March have been devalued. In March I paid 2324 points for a One Way $49 flight that same flight is still $49 but it’s 2944 points. Over a 20% increase in points needed to book that same $49 flight.


 

Points actually haven't been devalued -- the conversion rate is still 78 pts/$1 of base fare. The difference has to do with the taxes portion, some of which the collection of has been temporarily suspended as part of the stimulus package (allowing air carriers to collect as profit monies that used to be collected as taxes and sent to the government). 

 

 

Re: Found an issue with changing Travel Funds to Points

elijahbrantley
Rising Star

@Matt4202 Keep in mind that you can always cancel your points bookings to re-book with cash!  You get the points back and the fee part via travel funds. You can reuse those travel fund to combine with cash to book like normal. Given how prices are looking, now might be a good time to do that. AND with all the schedule changes, it might be a helpful second look at all you have booked.

 

And I feel you with the points thing. I generally sit on points so that I pay cash for my flights so they will count for A List qualification. I use CP for my wife and points of my kids.  One of these days I won't be flying much anymore, and those hoarded points will be super valuable.

 

It is ALL about the game! 🙂

 

 

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.

Re: Found an issue with changing Travel Funds to Points

Matt4202
Active Member

@elijahbrantley -

 

I check the valuations semi-weekly but they’re just not comparable to what I booked at.

 

For example - 

 

I booked a Roundtrip flight in June for 7,836 points. The cost now is 11,448 points or $176 cash. The price went up about 30-40% for that trip.

 

I do check every other day though just in case rates drop to get a Travel Credit or points back for the changes.

 

But for me it looks like the majority of my trips have gone up 30% or more in price. I booked about 8 trips (And 2 for family) in a 3 day span in March because of how low the prices dropped.

 

It looks like also that points valuation has gone down.

 

An example would be - I booked a flight with a $49 cash rate for 2,468 points. Looking to my dates they have the $49 flight which is 3,033 points now though, a little over 20% Increase.

 

We have the Companion Pass too and travel with our little one so it comes in handy and just this year alone will save us probably $1,500 plus another $1,500 next year.

Re: Found an issue with changing Travel Funds to Points

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@Matt4202 wrote:

@elijahbrantley -

 

It looks like also that points valuation has gone down.

 

An example would be - I booked a flight with a $49 cash rate for 2,468 points. Looking to my dates they have the $49 flight which is 3,033 points now though, a little over 20% Increase.

 


 

Again: Points actually haven't been devalued -- the conversion rate is still 78 pts/$1 of base fare. The difference has to do with the taxes portion, some of which the collection of has been temporarily suspended as part of the stimulus package (allowing air carriers to collect as profit monies that used to be collected as taxes and sent to the government). 

Re: Found an issue with changing Travel Funds to Points

bec102896
Top Contributor

@Matt4202 wrote:

@elijahbrantley -

 

I check the valuations semi-weekly but they’re just not comparable to what I booked at.

 

For example - 

 

I booked a Roundtrip flight in June for 7,836 points. The cost now is 11,448 points or $176 cash. The price went up about 30-40% for that trip.

 

I do check every other day though just in case rates drop to get a Travel Credit or points back for the changes.

 

But for me it looks like the majority of my trips have gone up 30% or more in price. I booked about 8 trips (And 2 for family) in a 3 day span in March because of how low the prices dropped.

 

It looks like also that points valuation has gone down.

 

An example would be - I booked a flight with a $49 cash rate for 2,468 points. Looking to my dates they have the $49 flight which is 3,033 points now though, a little over 20% Increase.

 

We have the Companion Pass too and travel with our little one so it comes in handy and just this year alone will save us probably $1,500 plus another $1,500 next year.


I would check out This Article  from The Points Guy that explains that points weren't devalued. 

Re: Found an issue with changing Travel Funds to Points

Matt4202
Active Member

I disagree and many commenters on the article posted numerous disagreements.

 

So what you’re saying is that even though you’re getting less for your points it’s not a devaluation. That is literally the definition of a devaluation, whether temporary or permanent.

 

Also, what you’re saying is that Southwest ticket prices should technically be less due to the taxes being cut, but Southwest has increased fares to make more money and is trying to make it seem like nothing has changed.

 

Any way you slice it it’s a devaluation, along with that is increased fares.

 

For example a flight advertised as $99 was previously really $85.40 (pre tax). Now since those taxes were removed it should be $85.40 + the $5.60 9/11 fee (not removed) meaning $91. But Southwest has instead increased fares by whatever the taxes would have normally been (In this case $8) so their prices remain the same.

Re: Found an issue with changing Travel Funds to Points

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@Matt4202 wrote:

I disagree and many commenters on the article posted numerous disagreements.

 

So what you’re saying is that even though you’re getting less for your points it’s not a devaluation. That is literally the definition of a devaluation, whether temporary or permanent.

 

Also, what you’re saying is that Southwest ticket prices should technically be less due to the taxes being cut, but Southwest has increased fares to make more money and is trying to make it seem like nothing has changed.

 

Any way you slice it it’s a devaluation, along with that is increased fares.

 

For example a flight advertised as $99 was previously really $85.40 (pre tax). Now since those taxes were removed it should be $85.40 + the $5.60 9/11 fee (not removed) meaning $91. But Southwest has instead increased fares by whatever the taxes would have normally been (In this case $8) so their prices remain the same.




 

It's essentially an argument in semantics. Your realized value per point has indeed dropped. But that realized value was always variable. Previously, lower fare flights offered a higher realized value per point when compared to higher fare flights, due to the greater percentage of total fare the taxes and fees represented. Most bloggers talk about point and miles value using realized value calculations.

 

Absolute value is the calculation Southwest uses to price points flights. Unlike realized value it is fixed. It is currently 78 pts. / $1. For a devaluation to occur, Southwest would need to change that number (as they have multiple times in the past.) This is how we track the value of a point, and how we know whether or not Southwest has increased or decreased that value. That's why we say that points have not been devalued. 

Re: Found an issue with changing Travel Funds to Points

Matt4202
Active Member

Your realized value per point has indeed dropped.”


That, I feel is the most noticeable thing, at least for me. I always get the “Wanna Get Away” fares, and usually will go flexible on dates so I get the lowest possible rate. So a higher amount of points required for a booking is a drop in realized value. This drop in realized value, combined with the increase in actual fares isn’t a consumer friendly move it’s more beneficial towards Southwest. Which is my main point, it in no way benefits consumers.

Re: Found an issue with changing Travel Funds to Points

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@Matt4202 wrote:

Your realized value per point has indeed dropped.”


That, I feel is the most noticeable thing, at least for me. I always get the “Wanna Get Away” fares, and usually will go flexible on dates so I get the lowest possible rate. So a higher amount of points required for a booking is a drop in realized value. This drop in realized value, combined with the increase in actual fares isn’t a consumer friendly move it’s more beneficial towards Southwest. Which is my main point, it in no way benefits consumers.


 

The temporary tax holiday, created as part of the stimulus package, was intended specifically to benefit air carriers, and not the public. 

 

Fare prices are driven essentially by supply and demand. I suspect Southwest is charging the highest fare they think they can get away with right now, as they struggle to keep the company afloat. Some air carriers are literally not going to survive this situation. I certainly hope Southwest does.