Like many of you, I take it upon myself to manage the points accounts for my family. I have all of their accounts linked to my AwardWallet. That way I can easily access their account numbers and passwords, track when their points are set to expire, and more. While my own points rarely get close to expiring (since I typically have account activity pretty consistently), this is much more an issue for my family.
So I’m always keeping an eye on the accounts of my family to make sure everything is okay. Just a couple of days ago I noticed that Ford had 125,000+ Southwest Rapid Rewards points that were set to expire in a bit over a month. While I was generally familiar with Southwest’s Rapid Rewards expiration policy, I had never had to deal with this myself, so in this post wanted to share what I found out, and how we ended up extending the expiration of his points.
When do Southwest Rapid Rewards points expire?
Southwest Rapid Rewards points don’t expire as long as you have at least one qualifying account earning activity every 24 months.
It’s important to note that this is a different policy than some other airline loyalty programs. With many other airlines, any activity resets the expiration date of your points, including redeeming points and any activity that earns points. Southwest is more restrictive in this regard, as redeeming points doesn’t reset the expiration of your points.
How can you see when Southwest Rapid Rewards points expire?
This is super easy. Just log into your Rapid Rewards account, and on the right side of your account homepage you should see your “Last Activity” date listed. Just add 24 months from that date to determine when your points are set to expire.
What counts as qualifying activity with Southwest?
With Southwest Rapid Rewards, earning points through any of the following counts as qualifying activity:
- Taking a flight with Southwest
- Earning Rapid Rewards points with a Southwest co-branded credit card
- Transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Buying Rapid Rewards points directly from Southwest
- Using the Southwest Rapid Rewards shopping or dining portals
- Booking a points-eligible car rental or hotel stay through Southwest
The following doesn’t count as qualifying activity for the purposes of extending the expiration of your points:
- Redeeming points for a ticket
- Donating points to charity
- Any other redemption of points
What are the cheapest & easiest ways to prevent Southwest points from expiring?
Usually my go-to method of preventing points from expiring is to donate a small sum of points to charity. It resets the expiration of points and is a nice thing to do. As you can see, in the case of Southwest that doesn’t work.
So here are what I consider to be the easiest ways to extend the life of your Southwest points, starting with the easiest. The catch is that not everyone will be eligible for every method:
- Make a single purchase with a Southwest credit card — this particular option doesn’t work for Ford, since he doesn’t have a Southwest credit card; if you have the card it’s also not really necessary to even spend anything to keep points alive, since the card offers an anniversary points bonus
- Transfer 1,000 points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card — this is an easy and instant way to prevent your points from expiring
- Use the Southwest shopping or dining portal — you could make just a small purchase and that would extend the life of your points; the one thing to keep in mind is that points don’t post instantly, so this isn’t ideal if your points are really close to expiring, or if you don’t want to potentially chase down the points in a couple of weeks time
- Buy Southwest points — you can buy a minimum of 2,000 points for $60, which isn’t an insignificant amount to spend
- Take a revenue flight on Southwest — this is one of the more complicated ways to extend the life of your points, since you actually have to take a flight
There are some other ways, but those are what I consider to be the most mainstream. So to extend the life of Ford’s Southwest points we just transferred 1,000 points from Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Those points posted instantly, and now we have another two years until we have to figure out how we’ll next extend those points. 😉
Hopefully this is helpful for anyone trying to figure out how to extend their Rapid Rewards points.
What do you think the best way to extend the expiration of Rapid Rewards points is?