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Point Breaks come to Rapid Rewards? Was 60, now 55 points per dollar!

Point Breaks come to Rapid Rewards? Was 60, now 55 points per dollar!

Old Sep 14, 17, 2:46 am
  #1  
nsx
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Point Breaks come to Rapid Rewards? Was 60, now 55 points per dollar!

Tonight I booked some flights which were attractively priced in points, 2330 and 2379 points. Then I went to book a flight for cash. I discovered that the 2330 SFO-LAX flights priced out at $49 as normal but the 2379 OAK-LAX flights (a points price I've never encountered before) were pricing at $57. Checking the fare basis, 2379 is a 60 points per base fare dollar conversion ratio.

Folks, we have not seen 60 points per dollar since the early years of the points program. (I should check our new Wiki for the exact date, but it's been a long time!)

I surmise that flights very early and very late in the day in some markets are being offered at 60 points per dollar. I found them for LAX-OAK but not for LAX-SFO. Currently SFO has lower fares than OAK, so that makes some sense.

Please report your findings here.

This is an extremely creative tweak to Rapid Rewards. Let's hope it continues.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 7:24 am
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Great news, thanks!

Seems a sensible move, discounting less popular routes/times.

Over 2.4 cents effective value on your $57 example.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
Tonight I booked some flights which were attractively priced in points, 2330 and 2379 points. Then I went to book a flight for cash. I discovered that the 2330 SFO-LAX flights priced out at $49 as normal but the 2379 OAK-LAX flights (a points price I've never encountered before) were pricing at $57. Checking the fare basis, 2379 is a 60 points per base fare dollar conversion ratio.
Ah, but are you sure that a lower-cost seat bucket didn't disappear between (or even as a result of) you booking the points fares first and booking the cash fares later? Airlines typically have only some seats at one price, and when that price sells out, the next higher price automatically appears. To be sure that the price at the time you booked was $57, you'd have to have been flipping back and forth between displaying the price in points vs in cash during the booking, not comparing bookings done at different times.

So go back and do that (flip back and forth between points and cash), and see if you can replicate this to be sure that the points/cash ratio was what you really thought. (Purchase not required!)

... And I'm not sure where you got the term Points Breaks (because I think it's used multiple places), but at IHG (the one I think of), Points Breaks are when you can book a hotel for 50% to 33% to 25% to 20% of its normal points price (ie, a flat 5000 points instead of 10000, 15000, 20000, 25000, etc). This hardly seems that big a points discount (even if it does check out).
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Old Sep 14, 17, 2:14 pm
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Astoundingly, it's true. See below. The same $57 non-stop WGA fare (base fare of $39.80) is available at 2,379 points (60 points/dollar) and 2,866 (72 points/dollar).

While a positive development, this is odd to me, as a customer would have no way of knowing that a particular fare is "on sale" points-wise without clicking back and forth to compare with the cash price. This seems more like a glitch than an intended promotion. Perhaps related to the implementation of the recent "Early Risers / Night Owls" sale?
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Old Sep 14, 17, 2:45 pm
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Able to confirm that OAK-LAX does have these low ratios. For instance, on 23 October, the 5:25am nonstop is $48.98 with a base fare of $32.35. The points cost is 1934, making the ratio right about 60pts : $1 of base fare. The 12:10p nonstop is also $48.98, also with a base fare of $32.35. The points cost is (as I'm accustomed to) 2330, making the ratio right about 72pts : $1 of base fare. I hope they start doing this for more early and late flights, as we tend to take the last flight out of town some evening and the first flight back in a couple days later.

As an aside, I prefer to take the cash cost of the flight, subtract $5.60, and use that as the effective value yielded for the points - in this case, 1934pts : $43.38, or 2.24c per point. It doesn't account for the earnings, though, of 195 points - which changes the equation to 2129 points : $43.38 or just over 2c per point. Regardless of how anal you want to be in calculating it, the above discovery is definitely a change and it is definitely in our favor.

Tangentially related, does anyone remember how many points they were charging for the $29 SFO-LAS flights they were running awhile back? I'm trying to remember if that yielded a better effective points value than this. The cheapest flight I can book right now, offhand, is LAX-DEN for $38.98, base fare of $23.05. That yields a 'true' value of 1.72c per point.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 3:29 pm
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WN #3098 (SNA-SJC) on 11.23.17 is either 4,411 points or $56.54 of base fare. That's 78 points per dollar. In fact, all the Wanna Get Away fares that day are 78 points per dollar.

Is that normal?
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Old Sep 14, 17, 3:32 pm
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Day before Thanksgiving? Surprised they are not higher.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 7:57 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by synergistic View Post
Tangentially related, does anyone remember how many points they were charging for the $29 SFO-LAS flights they were running awhile back?
I have a 1258 point reservation for that city pair booked long ago. I don't recall what the cash fare was but the base fare must have been $17.47.

Last edited by nsx; Sep 14, 17 at 8:05 pm Reason: corrected the numbers
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Old Sep 14, 17, 8:19 pm
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This is going to be nice for A-Listers, if the late flights go to 60, because they can book the cheapos and standby.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 8:32 pm
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
I have a 1258 point reservation for that city pair booked long ago. I don't recall what the cash fare was but the base fare must have been $17.47.
Thanks! Looks to me like the fares you found this morning are the best values - by any calculation - that we've seen from WN in a long time. I don't think I'd have even noticed it otherwise, but I'll be making a point of checking both cash and points for awhile to see if it spreads.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 9:13 pm
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It's absolutely worth double checking the points price comparison now, especially if an early or late flight.

I still have a hard time believing this is intentional.
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Old Sep 15, 17, 7:54 pm
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Oh, this has to be related to the before 7am and after 7pm sale mentioned earlier. I think that was the concept.

The question is did WN change the points per value on these fares or the internal price of these fares (which was usually the same as WGA).

I regularly paid extra to avoid the last flight of the day, but have often experienced the same timing due to delays.

Agreed that the free standby makes these specials very valuable.

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Old Feb 6, 18, 4:49 pm
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I just encountered a 55 points per dollar late night fare LAX-OAK. $56.98 price, $39.70 base fare or 2187 points. Wow.

Similarly 753 points on 13.66 base fare ($29 all-in sale). Also 55 points per dollar.

Please report your findings here.

Caveat: If you buy a late night flight and standby for an earlier flight using A-list status, you can expect your ticket to be re-fared at the normal 72 points per dollar, erasing your time of day savings. That's what I recall seeing the time or two I did that last year. You have to admit this is an eminently fair policy, if it's policy and not just a software glitch.

Last edited by nsx; Feb 6, 18 at 4:57 pm
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Old Feb 6, 18, 5:45 pm
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In light of the sale, I checked my bookings and found some oddities, but nothing in my favor. Points bookings I made are showing higher points fares now, despite showing the same cash price. But not enough to be a different factor (70/72/74...), just off slightly, by less than a dollar in points. An example:

LAS-OAK RT
$101 out, $56 return

Base fare = $119.40

Booked at 5806 + 2792 = 8598
Now showing 5832 + 2808 = 8640

42 point difference

Southwest's booking system remains full of mystery.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 5:48 pm
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
Caveat: If you buy a late night flight and standby for an earlier flight using A-list status, you can expect your ticket to be re-fared at the normal 72 points per dollar, erasing your time of day savings. That's what I recall seeing the time or two I did that last year. You have to admit this is an eminently fair policy, if it's policy and not just a software glitch.
That must be a glitch. Your ticket shouldn't be refared at all. Unless Southwest is using an alternate version of the word "free."

Are A-List and A-List Preferred Members eligible for same-day standby?

Free same-day standby
is not available at Southwest® kiosks. Please see a Customer Service Agent at the airport for this benefit. Free same-day standby will be provided for A-List and A-List Preferred Members traveling prior to the original scheduled departure, between the same city pairs, on the original date of travel, where a seat is available. On flights that do not meet these qualifications, A-List and A-List Preferred Members will receive priority standby and will be required to pay the difference in fare if a seat becomes available. A-List Preferred Members will be prioritized ahead of A-List Members. If an A-List or A-List Preferred Member is traveling on a multiple-Passenger reservation, free same-day standby and priority standby will not be provided for non-A-List or non-A-List Preferred Members in the same reservation. For A-List and A-List Preferred Members who have also qualified for a Companion Pass, A-List and A-List Preferred benefits are not available to the Companion unless the Companion is also an A-List and A-List Preferred Member. A-List and A-List Preferred Members can still make confirmed same-day changes for another flight to their destination, if seats are available, and will only pay the difference in fare.
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