Southwest Airlines Travel Credits Can Now Be Converted To Points

When Southwest Airlines extended elite status back in April, and made it easier this year to earn both status and a Companion Pass, they extended the validity of travel vouchers.

Travel funds that had an expiration date – or creation dates – March 1 through September 7, 2020 expire September 7, 2022. In some cases that means an extension of up to 2.5 years to use travel credits, instead of being valid for a year.

There’s been discussion for months about being able to convert travel funds into Rapid Rewards points and that functionality is finally available – and will be an option through December 15, 2020. Funds convert into Rapid Rewards points at the same rate that Rapid Rewards points are used to buy tickets, about 78 points per dollar.

  • Travel fund must expire on September 7, 2022 to be eligible. That is pretty much anything that’s out there right now or that’s created over the next several weeks.

  • First and last name on the travel fund must match the Rapid Rewards account the points are going into.

  • Only travel funds originating from a ticket purchased on Southwest.com or through a Southwest customer service agent are eligible. Since they do not generally sell through third parties that is most tickets. However corporate SWABIZ tickets are not eligible ‘unless their company specifically requested this for their travelers.’ (You can’t take a business travel ticket and convert your employer’s money into your points.)

You should have an option to convert travel credits to points when viewing travel funds.

This is a great option for those who won’t use the travel credits by their expiration, since Rapid Rewards points no longer expire. I do not plan to do this myself because when you redeem Rapid Rewards points your travel doesn’t count towards earning elite status and doesn’t earn points. So I value the travel credits more than the points. And points converted from travel funds do not count towards a Companion Pass.

Southwest isn’t the only airline with this option. I believe Qatar Airways was first this year. And Hyatt was actually first out of the gate offering members the option to take points when cancelling reservations, before making prepaid reservations refundable.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. With all this discussion about rewards points, I have over 12,000 on one of my credit cards. I wonder if that can possibly be translated into cash.

  2. If you aren’t trying for any type of status on Southwest, is it a no brainer to convert? I suppose the risk is the change in redemption rates. Is that a likely scenario in the next three years?

  3. Forgot to add a big benefit for me is that Travel Funds are good only for me, points can be used for anyone.

    Thanks for this post Gary!

  4. I’ll put in my two cents – I like booking with points so much better than $ because when you cancel it just goes back to points, no travel funds to have to worry about expiring. I have 5 that expire before January and was able to book flights, cancel same day, and then they showed as eligible to convert to points the next day. I am converting about $700 in travel funds across 2 accounts to around 55.000 points. To me it’s worth it to take advantage of the flexibility. If I had definitely plans I would book something with the funds, but I don’t. If they change the policy and I cancel in the future, I would be stuck with expiring travel credits again. I wouldn’t say it’s a no brainer but worth it to me.

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