Southwest frequent-flier points worth less for cheapest flights

Matt York / AP

A Southwest Airlines jet takes flight in this undated file photo.

Customers of Southwest Airlines will have to use more of their Rapid Rewards loyalty card points to purchase the least-expensive seats on flights beginning next spring.

Members of the company’s Rapid Rewards program were notified in emails Monday that they’ll need to pay 70 points per dollar to book “Wanna Get Away” seats after March 31. Currently, tickets can be acquired for 60 points per dollar.

The redemption rate for the higher tiers of “Anytime” and “Business Select” tickets will remain the same.

That means, for example, that a round-trip flight to Los Angeles that would sell for $118 and could now be acquired for 5,760 points plus a $5 passenger-facility charge would go for 6,720 points plus $5 beginning in April.

Emails sent to customers said the airline would continue to offer unlimited reward seats without blackout dates and that points won’t expire as long as there’s activity on the account at least once every two years.

Southwest won’t say how many Rapid Rewards members live in Southern Nevada, but Southwest is the busiest carrier at McCarran International Airport with an average of more than 200 daily flights to 55 destinations.