Southwest has a revenue-based award program in which the number of points is directly associated with the cash price of the ticket. Generally, the cheaper the flight, the fewer points you need to use for that flight. You should expect to get on average about 1.5 cents per point, but it may vary from 1.3 to 1.7 cents. Additionally, you need to pay the taxes associated with the award, which are $5.60 for domestic travel.
Southwest also allows you to rebook or change your flight or award for free. This can save you even more points when Southwest has a sale. Just book a flight in advance and check the price every week or so. You can keep up to date with Southwest’s frequent sales by following our Daily Points emails.
Below is the number of points that would be required for an award. You may notice that the non-stop flight has a cheaper cash price ($158) than the connecting route to MDW ($166), but the non-stop option costs 50 more points than the connecting route.
In this example, the non-stop option would get you 1.46 cents per point the Wanna Get Away (right on chart) option and 1.40 cents per point for Business Select (left on chart).
Taxes and Fees
You still need to pay the taxes and fees associated with your award ticket. In domestic U.S. travel, the cost is $5.60 one-way or $11.20 roundtrip. However, for international flights, the taxes are generally much higher. Below is the taxes for a roundtrip flight from St. Louis to Cancun. Luckily, Southwest does take the increased taxes and fees into account when pricing an award, so you still should get on average about 1.5 cents per point for the non-tax/fee portion fo the ticket. In this example, it was 1.52 cents per point (($380-79.82)/19,812)