How to set up a Southwest account and start earning valuable rewards
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.
Southwest is a favorite of miles-and-points enthusiasts for its reasonable airfares, incredibly generous baggage policy and absence of change or cancellation fees — plus, their points don’t expire! Now that they’ve expanded their route network (flights to Hawaii!), more and more people are considering flying Southwest.
To get the most out of your Southwest flights you’ll need to set up a Southwest account. It’s free and couldn’t be easier. Once you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards account, you can add to your points balance by opening a Southwest credit card that comes with valuable welcome bonuses and earns you points for spending:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
- Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
The best part about these sign-up bonuses is that they all count toward earning a Southwest Companion Pass. The Companion Pass allows you to bring a friend or family member with you on any Southwest flight for nearly free. You just pay taxes and fees on your companion’s ticket. The pass is valid on paid and award tickets, but the best part is you can use it an unlimited number of times.
I’ll show you how to open a Southwest account to start earning Southwest points.
How to set up a Southwest account
You can redeem Southwest points for all kinds of things (see our post on how to use Southwest points), many of which will probably surprise you. But the best way to use Southwest points is for free flights. there is no Southwest award chart. Instead, Southwest points value is relatively constant — about 1.5 cents each according to our estimation.
Opening a Southwest account is free and super-simple. Here’s what to do:
Step 1. Go to the Southwest website
Visit Southwest.com and click “Enroll” in the upper right-hand corner.
Step 2. Enter your details
You’ll be prompted to enter your personal details, the usual stuff:
- Name (be sure to use exactly what’s on your government-issued ID, such as your passport)
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Email address
You’ll also be asked to set up a username, password, and security questions (of the “What is your mother’s maiden name?” variety).
Once you’ve finished entering your info (be sure everything is correct, because you won’t have a chance to review once you submit), click “Create Account.”
Step 3. Receive confirmation of your new Southwest account
Next, you’ll be brought to a screen confirming your new Southwest account. Take note of your account number, username, and password you created, so you can sign into your account later.
Don’t forget to create Southwest accounts for your kids or partner if they don’t have one. You won’t be able to earn Southwest points or Southwest status for flights they fly — they’ll need their own frequent-flyer memberships to do that.
For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®APPLY NOW
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
$300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
With Pay Yourself Back(SM), your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass® Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
17.24% – 24.24% Variable
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)