Southwest “Rewards Farther” With AirTran…Kinda.
Yesterday, Southwest Airlines announced that members of Rapid Rewards will be able to transfer their Southwest points to A+ Rewards to fly Air Tran, and vice versa. Their pitch is that this opens up more destination options for Rapid Rewards members, making it possible to fly to Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.
Why This is A Bad Deal for This Noob:
First, the conversion rate from Southwest points to A+ Credits kinda sucks. You’ll need 19,200 Rapid Rewards points to equal 16 credits with Air Tran, which is what you’ll need for a round-trip coach award redemption. This is not a great use of Southwest points. I always suggest the Southwest card for domestic travel, because you can stretch their points faaar. For example, my wife I are flying to San Fran (roundtrip) for 20,000 Rapid Reward Points total for both of us! So transferring those points to AirTran would be a waste in my opinion.
Here are the conversion rates broken down:
- 1200 Rapid Rewards points = 1 A+ Rewards Credit
- 1 Rapid Rewards Credit = 1 A+ Rewards Credit
- 1 Rapid Rewards Standard Award = 16 A+ Rewards Credits
- 1 Rapid Rewards Freedom Award = 32 A+ Rewards Credits
- 1 A+ Rewards Credit = Rapid Rewards Credit
Another thing: Once you transfer your Rapid Rewards points to A+ Credits, you cannot transfer them back to SW points. If you transfer A+ points back to SW, they turn into the old SW credits. Now, SW credits don’t have a dollar amount tied to them like the Southwest Points, so you could gain a little value by switching your SW POINTS to A+ Credit, and then back to OLD SW CREDITS. Confused? Me too. And not really worth the hassle, unless you’re in danger of your SW points expiring. If they are expiring soon, switching points to A+ can reset their expiration date (note: A+ credits will expire if not used in one year). So that’s nice.
Why Are They Doing It?
Southwest bought AirTran last year, so this is just a step in “integrating AirTran into the brand” by getting their customers to cross over to AirTran. Not really working for this noob.
Keep those Rapid Rewards right where they are, unless you already fly AirTran, or they are in danger of expiring. I would suggest using your SW Rapid Rewards Points for domestic Wanna Get Away flights.
If you’re wanting to travel to any of these “additional destinations” that AirTran offers, I recommend using miles from another rewards program, such as AAdvantage, Avios, or Ultimate Rewards. Use your Rapid Rewards for domestic travel, and stretch ‘em out.
Card Options to Earn Miles for International Flights
British Airways 50k-100k Offer. Read my review.
Chase Sapphire 40k Still Balling and a Great starting card for Noobs.
United Mileage Plus 40k-60k Read the Noob review.
I hope this helps if you were thinking about transferring SW points to AirTran.
To check it out for yourself, go here: Southwest Airlines “Rewards Farther”.
— Noob Master