From airplanes utilizing sustainable aviation fuels to serps displaying carbon emissions in flight search outcomes, the aviation trade is taking steps to turn into extra inexperienced. In January 2022, Southwest turned the newest airline to launch a inexperienced initiative — a brand new carbon offset program.
Southwest is placing cash — and factors — behind this new initiative. For each greenback that Southwest members spend on carbon emissions offsets, Southwest will match the donation dollar-for-dollar and provides members bonus Rapid Rewards factors.
Here’s what you need to find out about Southwest’s carbon offset program and how one can earn Rapid Rewards factors by collaborating.
How to buy carbon offsets and earn bonus Southwest factors
Southwest has made it easy and straightforward to calculate your carbon emissions and donate to offset your influence. Start on Southwest’s carbon offset web page and enter your origin airport, vacation spot airport, variety of passengers and both one-way or round-trip.
Then click on “estimate” to see the estimated carbon emissions and price to offset these emissions by way of considered one of Southwest’s companion packages.
For instance, I entered a flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles. The Southwest carbon emissions calculator estimates 542 kilos of carbon dioxide emissions for this one-way flight. And the value to offset it by way of Southwest’s carbon offset program is $3.18:
To offset this flight, click on “add to cart.” You can then return to calculate and add extra flights to your cart. Once you end including flights, go to your cart to take a look at.
This carbon offset value contains 40 cents in charges per passenger per leg. That means the online donation is $2.78 for an offset from Atlanta to Los Angeles. Enter your Rapid Rewards quantity to earn 10 factors per greenback for this donation, for a complete of 28 Rapid Rewards factors. Note that every member can earn a most of 500 bonus Rapid Rewards factors monthly — which you may attain with a complete of $50 in donations (excluding charges).
After finishing your donation, you may get an e mail confirming your donation. In this e mail, you may see that it might take “up to 8 weeks for bonus points to appear in your Rapid Rewards account.”
The bonus factors posted to my account six days after donation and weren’t eligible for qualification towards the Southwest Companion Pass.
The carbon offset calculator is not linked to your Southwest flight historical past. So, you’ll be able to offset your emissions for any airport mixture you enter. Just be aware that the origin and vacation spot airports appear to be restricted to present Southwest airports. That means you should buy offsets for home flights on different airways — however not abroad flights on different airways.
How a lot are the bonus Southwest factors value?
Southwest rewards Rapid Rewards members with 10 factors per greenback donated by way of its new offset program — excluding any taxes and charges. So, you could be questioning how a lot worth you are returning from this donation.
Unlike different airline loyalty packages, you’ll be able to’t get rather more worth to your Southwest Rapid Rewards factors. That’s as a result of Southwest makes use of a flat redemption charge of 81-83 Rapid Rewards factors per greenback of the bottom fare for that flight. Because of this, you’ll be able to’t ever get a awful redemption charge on Southwest flights — nor are you able to get a very good redemption charge.
That means the factors you get for offsetting flights can be round 13-15 cents in worth per greenback you donate. That’s a pleasant little bonus for donating, but it surely is not sufficient to justify donating only for the purpose earnings.
Which bank card must you use to buy Southwest carbon offset?
We discovered that contributions to Southwest’s carbon offset program code as “computer software sales” purchases within the take a look at donations that we made.
A number of bank cards provide bonus factors for software program purchases, however purchases of carbon offsets could not qualify for these bonuses. For instance, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express earns 1.5x level earnings on “electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers,” as much as $2 million in purchases per calendar yr. However, solely purchases made within the U.S. qualify for this new bonus class, and CHOOOSE donations mirror a world tackle. Terms apply.
That means you may need to use an on a regular basis spending card to make Southwest carbon offset donations. Even although my purchases gave the impression to be worldwide transactions, I used to be not charged a overseas transaction payment on my card.
Carbon offset packages you may assist assist
One of an important facets of buying carbon offsets is how the cash is utilized. For its carbon offset program, Southwest is partnering with Norway-based group CHOOOSE. While the initiatives could change sooner or later, Southwest and CHOOOSE are at the moment supporting three packages:
The Guatemalan Conservation Coast: establishing new nature reserves in at-risk forests on the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala.
Los Santos Wind Power in Costa Rica: constructing wind energy generators in rural Costa Rica to keep away from the necessity to construct new diesel energy turbines.
Kootznoowoo Improved Forest Management Project in Alaska: helps conserving over 20,000 acres of at-risk forests on Prince of Wales Island.
If you are contemplating donating by way of Southwest carbon offsets
Southwest’s new carbon offset program presents bonus factors and matching funds for all donations made by Rapid Rewards members. Any donation you make by way of this program will earn you 10 Rapid Rewards factors per greenback (after charges).
At the present worth of Rapid Rewards factors, that is a return of round 14 cents per greenback donated. Plus, you may earn factors or miles by way of your bank card. While that is not sufficient to justify donating only for the factors, it’s yet another incentive to be an environmentally aware flyer.
Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines.
How to maximise your rewards
You need a journey bank card that prioritizes what’s vital to you. Here are our picks for the greatest journey bank cards of 2022, together with these greatest for: