Southwest Rapid Rewards Review: Perfect for Travelers of All Types!

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Review: Perfect for Travelers of All Types!

Andrew WanSouthwest Rapid Rewards Review: Perfect for Travelers of All Types!Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Southwest is widely known as the biggest low-cost airline in the US, with GREAT policies like no cancellation fees and free checked bags!

If you’re wondering if it’s worth investing your time into their frequent flyer program, you should know that there are a number of credit cards that can put you on the fast-track to the program’s amazing perks.  Earning welcome bonuses on the following cards, for instance, currently still counts towards the points requirement to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, one of the best deals in travel!

I’ll go over how you can earn and redeem Southwest points, and what perks you can look forward to.

Here’s our Southwest Rapid Rewards review!

If You Earn Enough Southwest Points in a Calendar Year, You Could Qualify for One of the Best Deals in Travel – the Southwest Companion Pass!

Southwest Rapid Rewards Review

What Are Southwest Points Worth?

Southwest points are generally worth around 1.5 cents per point toward Southwest flights.  Though depending on the specific route you’re looking to fly, you could get slightly more or less value.

The price of a Southwest award flight is directly related to the cash price of the ticket.  So it’s easier than most airlines to estimate the value of Southwest points.  Plus, if Southwest is having a sale, both the cash price and the award price will decrease!

To figure out the Southwest points value on your particular flight, use the following formula:   (Cash price of ticket – taxes and fees you’d pay on the award ticket) / number of points required for an award ticket.

How to Use Southwest Points

1.   Award Flights on Southwest, and Booking International Flights

The most straightforward way to redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards points is to book an award flight on Southwest.

You can also book international flights (you can find this option through the Southwest travel portal), but if you’re looking to squeeze as much value as you can out of the points, you’ll likely be better off sticking with domestic flights.

Southwest Points Can Be Redeemed for Both Domestic and International Flights!

2.   Hotels and Rental Cars 

Although Southwest points can’t be transferred to hotels or car rental agencies, they can still be incredibly useful!

If you book through the Southwest travel portal, you’ll have the option of redeeming your points for car rentals and hotel stays.  They’re generally not a good deal.

3.   Gift Cards and Other Merchandise

Southwest offers the option to redeem your points on various merchandise and gift cards via their website.  Again, not the best way to spend your points, because you generally will only get a value of ~0.6 cents per point.

You can do a lot better when you spend your points on FLIGHTS.

You Have the Option of Buying Gift Cards and Other Merchandise With Your Southwest Points, but You Can Get a Lot More Value Elsewhere!

How to Earn Southwest Points

You can earn points in a number of different ways, such as:

  • Swiping credit cards
  • Making purchases through the Southwest shopping portal
  • Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points
  • Buying points directly from Southwest
  • Flying Southwest

Here are the details on the different ways you can earn Southwest points!

1.   Credit Cards

Southwest offers the following 4 versions of the card to earn points with their loyalty program:

Card NameWelcome BonusOur Review
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit CardEarn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Our Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit CardEarn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 monthsOur Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit CardEarn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 monthsOur Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit CardEarn 60,000 Southwest points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 monthsOur Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Perhaps the best part is that points you earn from the welcome bonuses on these cards currently still count toward the point requirement for the Southwest Companion Pass!  With the Southwest Companion Pass, you can bring a friend or family member with you for free whenever you travel on Southwest.  It doesn’t matter if your flight is booked with points or paid for with cash – your companion flies free!

You’ll need to earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year to qualify.  Read this full guide to the Southwest Companion Pass for every detail you could possibly want to know!

2.   Make Purchases Through Partners

Southwest partners with a number of hotels, car rental agencies, restaurants, etc.  Making a purchase at any of these partners means you’ll have the opportunity to earn even more Southwest points.

A full list of their partners is listed here, but a few examples include:

  • World of Hyatt
  • Choice Hotels
  • Hertz
  • Avis
  • National
  • Supershuttle

3.   Transfer Points From Chase Ultimate Rewards Programs

If you have a Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll have the flexibility of transferring them to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account!

Here are the most popular Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points:

Card NameWelcome BonusOur Review
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account openingRead our review of the #1 card for beginners
Chase Sapphire ReserveEarn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account openingRead our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit CardEarn $500 bonus cash back (50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 monthsRead our review of the Ink Business Unlimited
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardEarn $500 cash back bonus (50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your accountRead our review of the Ink Business Cash
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit CardEarn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account openingRead our review of the top card pick for small business owners

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio.

4.   Buy Southwest Points 

If you’re just shy a few points to book a hotel or flight, buying Southwest points is another option.  This generally isn’t the best way to stock up on points though, since you won’t be able to redeem them for anywhere near the amount you paid.

You can buy points in varying amounts, and depending on how many points you purchase, you’ll spend ~2.5 to 3 cents per point.  Ouch.

Buying Southwest Points Can Be Pretty Expensive at Around 3 Cents per Point.  Considering You Can Typically Redeem Them for A Value of 1.5 Cents per Point, This Isn’t Exactly the Best Way to Stock Up On Southwest Points

5.   Fly Southwest Airlines

You will, of course, also be able to earn Southwest points when you fly with the airline.  The number of points you can earn are based on 2 things:

  • Your status with Southwest
  • The fare type you’ve purchased
Status LevelPoints Earned Per $1 Spent
Base• Wanna Get Away: 6 points
• Anytime: 10
• Business Select: 12
A-List• Wanna Get Away: 7.5
• Anytime: 12.5
• Business Select: 15
A-List Preferred• Wanna Get Away: 12
• Anytime: 20
• Business Select: 24

To attain A-List status, you’ll need to complete 25 one-way qualifying flights OR earn 35,000 qualifying tier points in a calendar year.

You’ll earn A-List Preferred status by flying 50 one-way qualifying flights OR earning 70,000 qualifying tier points in a calendar year.

Do Southwest Points Expire?

Yes, Southwest points do expire after 24 months of inactivity.  Here are 9 things you can do to keep your points from expiring.

Bottom Line

If the thought of flying for less appeals to you, be it with cash or points, Southwest is a great option.  They’re widely known as one of the largest domestic low-cost carriers!

There are a number of ways to earn Southwest points, such as using credit cards and making purchases through their shopping portal.  And you have more flexibility than you may think in redeeming those points.  You can book a number of flights, reserve rental cars, and make hotel reservations through the Southwest travel portal!

If you earn enough points, you could qualify for one of the best deals in travel – the Southwest Companion Pass!

Check out our guides for using Southwest Airlines miles:

Let us know your experiences with the Southwest program and what you think about it!  And subscribe to our newsletter for more guides to traveling on the cheap:

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 37,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks and WiFi.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

More Info

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! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

2comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest