7 Ways to Earn Southwest Points During Your Summer Travels

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Lyn writes about how to fly free on Southwest and has a free guide that shows you step-by-step how to earn their coveted Southwest Companion Pass.  The pass lets 1 person fly nearly free with you for up to 2 years.  The Million Mile Secrets team agrees it’s THE best deal in travel.

We’ve asked Lyn to give us some tips on how to earn more Southwest points on our summer travels.

Lyn:  If you’re like me and fly primarily on Southwest, then earning Southwest points is a top priority.  I like to make sure I’m earning them everywhere I possibly can — in the greatest numbers I can — and summer is a great time to do that.

Summer Is Prime Time for My Family to Earn Southwest Points, Like on Our Recent Trip to Beaver Creek, Colorado

We travel a lot when our kids are out for summer break, as we have the most flexibility.  And generally, we find when traveling over the kids’ spring break, winter break, or even President’s Day or Labor Day weekend that flight costs, even on Southwest, are outrageous.  So summer is a key time to earn points!

7 Ways to Earn Southwest Points on Summer Travel

Whether you’re flying, renting cars, taking an airport shuttle, or eating at restaurants on your summer vacation, here’s how to score the most Southwest points:

1.   Pay for Southwest Flights With a Southwest Credit Card

While I prefer to fly using points, occasionally we will pay for a flight if it’s super cheap.  When you pay for a flight, not only do you earn 6X Southwest points if you have a Rapid Rewards account, but you will earn another 2 points per $1 if you pay using a Southwest credit card.  I like to use the Southwest credit cards, because any points earned through them qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.

Pay for Southwest Fares Using a Southwest Credit Card for Maximum Points!

If you already have a Companion Pass, or have all 110,000 points for a pass and you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you might consider using it instead.  Because it earns 3X Ultimate Rewards Points on travel purchases (excluding $300 travel credit), which you can instantly transfer to Southwest points (although Ultimate Rewards Points DO NOT qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass).

2.   Dining at Restaurants

If you’ll be eating at restaurants this summer, first make sure you have signed up for Rapid Rewards Dining.  This program lets you earn points automatically when you dine at participating restaurants and when you pay using a card (any card: debit or credit) you have registered with the program.  If you’re new to Rapid Rewards Dining, you can even earn a 1,000-point bonus by eating at 3 restaurants in the first 30 days and spending at least $25 at each spot.

Don’t Forget to Enroll in Rapid Rewards Dining to Earn Points Automatically at Participating Restaurants

Next, you’ll want to pick the right credit card.  You can use a Southwest credit card if you’re looking to earn Southwest Companion Pass-qualifying points, but you’ll only earn 1 point per $1 with those cards.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve are better options because they earn 2X or 3X points (respectively) on dining.  And Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred instantly to Southwest Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.

3.   Hotel Rooms

You can really earn a bundle of Southwest points by using the SouthwestHotels.com website to book your next hotel room.  Here are all the insider tips for scoring the most points, but essentially you’ll want to look for properties with high points bonuses, some as high as 10,000 points per night (which DO qualify for the Companion Pass)!  These points deals change rapidly, so if you see a good deal, grab it!

The Best Credit Card Perks
Use SouthwestHotels.com to Earn up to 10,000 Southwest Points per Night!

Again, you can choose to pay with your Southwest credit card to earn 1 Southwest point per $1.  Or use the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which will earn 2X or 3X points, respectively, on travel purchases.  That’s on top of your potentially 10,000-point bonus per night.

4.  Car Rentals

You can also book your car rental through Southwest to get a couple thousand extra points, though often times Southwest does not have the lowest price car rentals.  It’s a good idea to check around and to consider if the price or more points is more important to you.

5.  Gas

Southwest is now part of MakeItCount, which lets you earn 1 Southwest point per gallon of gas pumped at Marathon stations when you sign up for the program and enter your account number before pumping.

The Best Travel Credit Cards
Earn Southwest Points When You Pump Gas at Marathon This Summer

6. Airport Transportation

To earn Southwest points on airport transportation, book directly on RapidRewards.SuperShuttle.com, using your Rapid Rewards number.  You’ll earn 150 Southwest points per way.

7.  Airport Parking

There are a couple of ways to earn Southwest points on airport parking.  Head to the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal and book through Look4Parking.com to earn 4 points per $1, or book through Airport Parking Reservations and earn 7 points per $1.

Earn Travel Rewards With A Small Business
You Can Even Earn Southwest Points on Airport Parking!

Bottom Line

Don’t forget to put a strategy in place for earning the most possible Southwest points during your travels this summer.! You can earn them through:

  • Dining
  • Airfares
  • Car Rentals
  • Hotel Rooms
  • Pumping Gas
  • Airport Parking
  • Airport Transportation

How else are you earning Southwest points this summer?

Want more ideas on how to earn the most miles and points for free travel?  Sign-up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss another travel tip or trick!

Million Mile Secrets features a team of points and miles experts who have traveled to over 80 countries and have used 60+ credit cards responsibly to accumulate loyalty points and travel the world on the cheap! The Million Mile Secrets team has been featured on The Points Guy, TIME, Yahoo Finance and many other leading points & miles media outlets.

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! :)

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