Feb 20 2017

What to do with Southwest Rapid Rewards points on your child’s account

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Southwest Airlines, Boeing 737-76Q(WL), N565WN - SEA (21783111420)

By Eric Salard (N565WN SEA) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On our kids’ first flight back in 2014, we flew Southwest. I set up their Rapid Rewards accounts and they earned some points for that flight. (I used Barclaycard statement credits to erase the bulk of our cost for that trip.)

Since then, we’ve used Southwest Rapid Rewards points accumulated from credit card bonus and spending and points earned my husband’s revenue bookings to pay for their flights. We will be able to do this 1-2 more times before we’ll need to transfer points from Chase or use the cash rate. Right now, his account has most of the points, and my account and my kids’ accounts are in the 900-1,800 each point range. Not enough for a flight anywhere.

As Rapid Rewards expire after 24 months with no new activity, I wanted to keep their points active in case we can use some in the future. Now, I’m looking at ways we can top off their accounts to be able to redeem them for a flight at some point. Here are some ideas:

  1. Use the Rapid Rewards shopping portal to keep all accounts active. I was able to do this by purchasing a $2 Restaurant.com egift certificate through each of their portals and earning a few points for the transaction. This reset the expiration clock by 24 months. Purchases on iTunes are also a possibility for you Apple users.
  2. Use the Rapid Rewards shopping portal for purchases from other retailers, including bonus offers. I can prioritize one account until we have enough for a plane ticket and then move on to another. Or, I could rotate through the accounts.
  3. Link their account to the Rapid Rewards Dining site. I have yet to earn points this way.
  4. I can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to the Southwest account in increments of 1,000, but only to authorized user’s accounts. You must have a premium Chase card to do this (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and certain business cards). Note that you can also earn points from shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, so it might make more sense to do your shopping there, unless the offer via Southwest is much better. So, I wouldn’t be able to transfer points to my kids’ accounts, but if I were listed as an authorized user on my husband’s (or vice versa) then we could do that.
  5. Purchase a revenue (cash) booking for the child, rather than a booking on points. I don’t know why I’d do that rather than use points, though. Maybe if there were some offer/incentive to do so.
  6. Purchase points from Southwest via Points.com. Right now, you can get a 40% points bonus when you buy a minimum of 5,000 points (so, 7,000 points for $137.50). Not worth it for my purposes, but it’s an option anyway. Note that the transaction wouldn’t likely code as “travel” for credit card category bonus spending, since the transaction is processed through Points.com rather than Southwest.

Final word:

I think for right now, I will just make sure to use the Rapid Rewards shopping portal to keep all accounts active, and I will focus on the account with the highest balance for those Rapid Rewards shopping portal transactions, as long as shopping through another portal isn’t a better deal. Eventually, perhaps there will be enough for a cheap one-way ticket. Or eventually, we’ll book a cash booking and earn more points on their accounts.

Honestly, with the points-earning bonanza I’ve been on lately, it’s hard to say when we’ll be oh, you know, paying for a flight next. :D


Posted under Points, Travel | Comments Off on What to do with Southwest Rapid Rewards points on your child’s account

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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