One of my favorite recent credit card offers is Chase’s Southwest Visa 50,000 point welcome bonus. Not only has this offer been around for a while, it is also available a couple of times a year which allows you to get all four versions of the card and banking 200,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. This card is a great card to fill in the gaps during a round of credit card applications because it’s available rather often and has a reasonable limited time offer unlike flash offers by Amex we have seen this year.
I have covered using airline miles for hotel stays before, but mostly focuses on United and AA miles. Now that it is easy to get over 100,000 Southwest points I thought it was be a good post to cover how to redeem them for hotels stays. Start by going to the Southwest portal for redeeming Rapid Rewards points for hotels here: https://www.rewardingescapes.com/hotel_home
When to Use Southwest Points for Hotel Stays
There are some sweet spots when using Southwest Rapid Rewards points for hotel stays through the hotel rewards portal. Here are a few of the best options to use Southwest points for hotels stays. The rates and value you can get from Southwest points when redeeming for free hotel nights differs greatly across brands and locations, so it's always worth checking to see before booking.
Although you will be hard pressed to get the 1.8 cents per point value that you can get when redeeming Southwest points for Wanna Get Away fares, you can get up to 1.2+ cents per point at some aspirational properties--I only focused on some top Hilton hotels here because there seemed to be a good value with the Waldorf Astoria properties. I also found that some of the best values are with non-chain 4-5 star hotels in Europe. There seemed to be quite a few 4-5 star properties with nightly rates of 10,000-15,000 points that looked comparable to larger branded hotels that had rates of 30,000+ points per night.
It is really up to you and how you find the best use for the points, but I wouldn't rule out using Southwest points for hotel stays if I didn't have a use for domestic flights.
Here is a quick look at some ideas of good uses of redeeming Southwest points for hotel stays:
A night at the Conrad Istanbul using Southwest points runs 43,688 per night VS. 80,000 Hilton points. You are getting .92 cents per Rapid Rewards point when you book with Southwest points and .5 cents per Hhonors point when you book it using Hilton points.
The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria, Edinburgh, Scotland
A night at the The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh, Scotland will cost you 30,000 Southwest points per night VS. 50,000 Hilton points. With this booking you can get 1.22 cents per Rapid Rewards point when you book with Southwest points and .73 cents per Hhonors point when you book it using Hilton points.
Although Edinburgh may not be the cheapest city to explore for budget minded travelers, there are still plenty of great free things to do in Edinburgh.
Rome Cavalleri Waldorf Astoria, Rome, Italy
A night at the the Rome Cavalleri Waldorf Astoria in Rome, Italy will cost you 36,125 Southwest points per night VS. 80,000 Hilton points. You are getting .95 cents per Rapid Rewards point when you book with Southwest points and .43 cents per Hhonors point when you book it using Hilton points.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately it is up to you how you decide to use your points and how you can get the most value for the types of uses you want. I would always consider using Southwest points for hotels stays if I can get at least close to 1.0 cent per point. Of course all points have different values, but I think comparing how much it would cost to stay at a hotel using Southwest points vs Hilton points cements the fact that Hilton points are severed devalued.