9,000 Southwest Points for PreCheck. Deal or No Deal?

Southwest_PreCheck

Want to enroll in the TSA’s PreCheck trusted-traveler program? Got 9,000 points in Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program? Now you can redeem the latter for the former.

Through August 22, Rapid Rewards members can cash in 9,000 points for an authorization code that allows them to apply for PreCheck membership without paying the $85 application fee. (Applying doesn’t guarantee approval; applicants still must first be screened.)

Once approved, travelers retain their PreCheck status for five years, enjoying access to expedited security-clearance lanes at many airports, with no need to take off their shoes, belts, or coats, or remove their laptops or eligible liquids from their carry-on bags.

Alaska Airlines was the first airline to offer PreCheck as a redemption option for frequent-flyer points, but that ended on April 30 and wasn’t extended.

Deal or No Deal

When redeemed for Wanna Get Away tickets for travel on Southwest, Rapid Rewards points are worth around 1.4 cents apiece. So 9,000 points would equate to $126 in airfare. In that context, using 9,000 points for an $85 PreCheck application is a less than compelling proposition.

On the other hand, if a free flight on Southwest isn’t a priority, redeeming those points for expedited security clearance could be a very attractive backup plan.

Reader Reality Check

Deal or no deal?

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.

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