Southwest Airlines is the world’s largest low-cost carrier, but it does not have any airline partners. This means the points you earn for its Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program are only redeemable on Southwest flights.
So, how rapidly can you earn tons of Rapid Rewards points? Ultimately, that’s up to you and the strategies you employ. Luckily, there are 19 easy ways to earn tons of Southwest Rapid Reward points.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Program
To earn points, you need a Rapid Rewards account. Once that is set up, you’ll be ready to earn points from credit card sign-up bonuses, everyday spending, shopping portals, and more.
Sign up for a Rapid Rewards Account
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program, formerly called the Company Club, is a stand-alone frequent flyer program. Unlike loyalty programs such as American Express Membership Rewards, a Rapid Rewards membership does not require an affiliated credit card to start earning points.
It’s that simple. While you do not earn any points for registering for an account, you’ll need to create an account to start earning points. Southwest will offer bonus points through email promotions, so make sure you’re signed up for Southwest emails too.
Earn Rapid Rewards With Credit Cards
Using credit cards is by far the fastest way to earn Rapid Rewards, and you can earn tons of points with a simple strategy.
1. Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards (Recommended)
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is the only bank partner of the Southwest Rapid Rewards program. While you might expect a co-branded Southwest credit card to be the best way to earn Rapid Rewards, you would be mistaken!
Hot Tip: Earning Ultimate Rewards points and transferring them to Southwest is actually a much better way to earn Rapid Rewards points.
Chase points are extremely valuable because you can transfer them to many different airline and hotel partners. This is a much better strategy than just collecting Southwest points; you’ll greatly increase your redemption options but can also redeem for Southwest flights as needed.
Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards often come with amazing sign-up bonuses that can earn you tons of transferable points that can be used to book travel with Southwest.
And don’t forget, Chase points are much easier to earn than Southwest points are when using one of Southwest’s credit cards.
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
|Credit Card||Benefits & Info|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred®|
(at Chase's secure site)
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy beneﬁts such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Good to Excellent (670-850)
- Annual Fee: $95
Must Reads: For more info on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, see our thoughts on its benefits and travel insurance coverage, which includes primary car rental insurance. Take a look at our full review to see why it’s one of our favorite cards.
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®|
(at Chase's secure site)
- 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 BackSM, 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 PassTM 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
- Excellent (740-850)
- Annual Fee: $550
Must Reads: For more on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, see our thoughts on its benefits, global airport lounge access, and travel insurance protection. Take a look here for our full review.
Business owner? See our list of the best Chase business credit cards.
Bottom Line: We highly recommend collecting Chase points and then transferring those to Southwest Airlines at a 1:1 ratio if you want to book Southwest award flights. They’re easy to earn, come with huge sign up bonuses — and you have so many more redemption options with all their transfer partners.
2. Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards
Southwest Airlines has partnered with Chase to offer Southwest Airlines credit cards.
Note that since April 5, 2018, you cannot get more than one Southwest consumer card at the same time. You also cannot get a second if you already have one of the cards or have received a new cardmember bonus on either card in the last 24 months. This rule does not apply to the Southwest business card.
Unfortunately, you cannot earn bonus Rapid Rewards points for adding authorized users to these cards.
We do not recommend signing up for a Southwest card if your goal is to earn Southwest points. There are much better cards out there that’ll earn Southwest points, see below to find out why.
(If you’re looking to get the Southwest companion pass, then that’s different and warrants looking at these cards and their benefits.
3. Chase Southwest Credit Card Referral Bonuses
Chase regularly allows current cardmembers to refer friends and family. To sweeten the deal, they provide referral bonuses when anyone is approved after using your referral.
Not all Chase cards participate in the referral program at all times, but you will often see the personal Chase Southwest credit cards and even some of the cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.
4. Chase Southwest Credit Card Cardmember Anniversary Bonus
Each of Southwest’s credit cards offers an annual cardmember anniversary points bonus. The number of points you’ll earn depends on the type of Southwest credit card you hold, but the highest anniversary bonus is offered by the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Card. This card awards 9,000 points for every cardmember anniversary date.
Do note that these bonus points aren’t free—when your cardmember anniversary rolls around, you will be assessed your card’s annual fee. With that in mind, do the math to see if the bonus points are worth your card’s annual fee.
5. Everyday Spending on Credit Cards
Unfortunately, there are no credit card category bonuses or big spend bonuses with the Southwest credit cards. When it comes to everyday spending, extra Rapid Rewards points can be earned only 2 ways:
- The Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
- The Rapid Rewards Dining Program
Getting the Southwest credit card might not be worth it if you don’t take advantage of the sign-up bonuses and the 1 point per dollar on purchases.
6. Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards Category Bonuses
Luckily, there are plenty of bonus categories on the 6 different Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. Remember, to transfer to Southwest you must have one of the premium travel rewards cards that are starred below (“*”).
|Category||Applicable Credit Cards||Bonus miles|
|Office Supply Stores||Ink Business Cash® Credit Card||5x|
|Cell Phones/Landlines||Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card*||3x|
| ||Ink Business Cash Card||5x|
|Internet/Cable||Ink Business Preferred Card*||3x|
| ||Ink Business Cash Card||5x|
|Shipping Purchases||Ink Business Preferred Card*||3x|
|Select Advertising||Ink Business Preferred Card*||3x|
|Gas Stations||Ink Business Cash Card||2x|
| ||Chase Freedom®||5x (during quarterly bonus)|
|Restaurants||Ink Business Cash Card||2x|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card*||3x|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card*||3x|
|Freedom||5x (during quarterly bonus)|
|Hotels||Ink Business Cash Card||2x|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card*||2x|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve Card*||10x if purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards|
3x on all other hotel purchases
|Ink Business Preferred Card*||3x|
|All Travel||Chase Sapphire Preferred Card*||2x|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve Card*||3x|
|Ink Business Preferred Card*||3x|
|Freedom Unlimited (Through Chase Ultimate Rewards)||5x|
|Quarterly Bonus Category||Freedom||5x|
|All Purchases||Chase Freedom Unlimited®||1.5x|
|All Other Purchases||All cards except the Freedom Unlimited||1x|
These category bonuses and flexible redemptions really make Chase Ultimate Rewards the go-to points currency when you need to book with Southwest.
Earn Rapid Rewards by Shopping and Dining Out
If you’re going to be shopping or dining out anyway, you might as well earn some extra Rapid Rewards points too!
7. Earn Points With the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
Credit cards aside, there are a lot of other ways to earn miles on everyday purchases through the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal.
There are over 1,000 online retailers you can shop from. Here’s a sample of just a few:
If you’re interested in viewing all retailers, click the link for “All Online Stores.”
To ensure you earn the bonuses for your purchases:
- Go to Rapid Rewards Shopping
- Sign up or sign in to your Rapid Rewards account
- Search for and select a product or store’s bonus points offer
A new browser window should open and look similar to this:
- Shop as you normally would through the store’s website
- When you proceed to checkout, ensure you’re still logged in to the Online Shopping Portal so you receive the bonus points for your purchase
Keep in mind that your purchase can be made with any credit card. However, if you use your Southwest credit card, you will be earning 1 point per dollar for your purchase in addition to the bonus points offered through the shopping portal. This is a great way to rack up points!
8. Earn Points With the Southwest Dining Program
Like several other airlines, Southwest participates in the Rewards Network dining platform. The Southwest Dining Program makes it easy for you to earn Rapid Rewards points when you eat out at restaurants all over the United States.
Membership is free; you simply register for an account, add any credit card, and start eating to earn. To sign up for the Southwest Dining Program:
- Go to Rapid Rewards Dining
- Click “Add A Card” on the right side and add any credit card you use at restaurants. It doesn’t have to be your Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card!
- Search for restaurants near you by using the search engine at the top of the page
- Simply eat at participating restaurants and use the registered credit card when you pay.
Usually, you will earn 3 points per dollar at participating restaurants, bars, and clubs after opting in to Southwest Dining email notifications. You’ll also earn 10 points for every review you complete after each dining experience.
Check out the “Bonuses” section of the site to find promotions that will earn you even more points. For new members, there are often several options for earning bonus points such as:
- Sign Up Bonus – Earn 1,000 bonus points for signing up, dining ($25 or more) at a participating restaurant within 30 days, and submitting a review for the restaurant.
- First Step Bonus – When you reach 1,500 points, you’ll be given an additional 500 points just because.
- Thank You Bonus – After you’ve earned the First Step Bonus, every time you earn another 1,000 points you’ll be rewarded an additional 300 points.
Bottom Line: Shopping online through the Rapid Rewards mall and dining out at participating Rapid Rewards Dining restaurants will help you earn tons of additional points.
Earn Southwest Points Through Travel
Finally, we arrive at the tried and true method of earning Rapid Rewards points: flying on Southwest Airlines.
9. Airfare & Airline Purchases
Luckily, with the Southwest Premier Card and Southwest Premier Business Card, you earn bonus points for every dollar spent on purchases with Southwest Airlines. This includes all flights, in-flight purchases, and Southwest gift cards purchased through Southwest Airlines.
However, you don’t need one of these cards to start earning on your travel purchases. Your Rapid Rewards membership will start earning you points on any Southwest flight you purchase regardless of the card you use to pay.
Since Southwest Airlines is an independent carrier, you can only earn Rapid Rewards points on Southwest flights.
Being limited to Southwest for earning points on airfare may seem like a major disadvantage, but you can actually earn a lot of Rapid Rewards points each time you fly with Southwest.
Hot Tip: Don’t think you are only stuck with “boring” domestic destinations either. Southwest flies to many international destinations too (including some that might surprise you)!
The points you will earn on Southwest flights are much more than many other airlines tend to offer. If you love flying Southwest, then this is wonderful news!
Of course, the number of points you earn will depend on the class of your seats.
Southwest uses fun names to define their low-cost, standard, and business class seats: they’re called “Wanna Get Away,” “Anytime,” and “Business Select,” respectively.
Points earned also depend on your status or “tier” as a Rapid Rewards member.
Tiers are reached in a variety of ways including flying on Southwest flights. Aside from the base or “general member” tier, the achievable tiers are “A-List” and “A-List Preferred.”
If you’re able to reach either of these tiers, you will have the chance to earn more points on each flight than a general member.
Along with other perks like priority boarding and security access, you receive bonus points with each tier:
- A-List — 25% bonus Rapid Rewards points
- A-List Preferred— 100% bonus Rapid Rewards points
This might seem like a lot to calculate, but it’s a pretty simple calculation. First, determine your fare class and base earning level:
- Business Select – 12 points per dollar
- Anytime – 10 points per dollar
- Wanna Get Away – 6 points per dollar
Once you have the info, you simply multiply by the base fare of your ticket. This is the price of your ticket minus the taxes and fees.
For example, if your base fare is $250, you could earn between 1,500 points and 6,000 points depending on your tier status and fare class.
That’s a solid number of points, especially compared to the points you would earn on flights with other airlines.
Bottom Line: A-List Preferred members in Business Select seats will earn the most points on Southwest flights.
Don’t forget to calculate how many points you would earn from using a credit card to purchase flights with Southwest Airlines. Many credit cards earn bonus points on travel purchases!
Hot Tip: While booking with the Southwest Plus Card is great for earning Southwest points, you can also earn 2x points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card…and you’ll have the flexibility to transfer points to other travel partners as well!
10. Car Rentals and Other Transportation
Need to rent a car? You can earn bonus points on your rentals by booking through Southwest.
Here’s how many points you can earn on your car rentals:
|Rental Company||Bonus Points Per Rental|
|Alamo||600 (1-2 day rentals), 1,200 (3+ day rentals)|
|Avis||600 (1-2 day rentals), 1,200 (3-6 day rentals), 2,400 (7+ day rentals)|
|Budget||600 (1-2 day rentals), 1,200 (3-7 day rentals), 2,400 (8+ day rentals)|
|Hertz||600 (1-2 day rentals), 1,200 (3-6 day rentals), 2,400 (7+ day rentals)|
|National||600 (1day rentals), 1,200 (2-3 day rentals), 1,800 (4-6 day rentals), 2,400 (7+ day rentals)|
You can also earn 200 Rapid Rewards points for a round-trip booking with SuperShuttle if you need a shuttle to get you to and from the airport.
This is a great option for big cities since taxis can get expensive and subways or other public transportation can take too long.
If you’re in New York and need a great way to get from LaGuardia (LGA) to Manhattan, using ExecuCar can earn you 150 points.
Hot Tip: Be sure to check the promotions section of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards website. Many of the partnering car rental companies will offer bonus points throughout the year that can earn even more points per rental.
For more details, check out our post dedicated to maximizing your Rapid Rewards points through car rentals.
11. Book Hotels With Southwest Hotels And Rocketmiles
SouthwestHotels.com gives you options to book at hotel partners. They often run specials giving you anywhere from 1,000-15,000 extra points per stay, making it a good alternative to booking hotels through Expedia, Orbitz, and other booking companies.
Further, Rocketmiles is also a partner of Southwest Rapid Rewards. Rocketmiles offers between 1,000 and 10,000 Rapid Rewards points per night when you book a stay through their website.
This is an incredible way to earn tons of points on a hotel stay without being limited to only certain hotels, so be sure to cross-reference Southwest Hotels and Rocketmiles.
One of our readers, Matt, told us that he just got the Southwest Companion Pass for 2017-2018 and 60k of his 110k points came from booking these hotels. Matt had six stays through that site that earned him an average of 10k each!
12. Hotel Partner Credit Cards
You can transfer hotel points you earn through co-branded credit cards, but it is a terrible use of points. If you are in a pinch and really need Rapid Rewards points, it might be a good move. Otherwise, use hotel points for hotel award stays to get much more value out of them.
13. Book Vacation Packages
Southwest offers some great vacation package deals, and you’ll earn Rapid Rewards points when you book them through Southwest Vacations.
The points earned on each vacation vary depending on the package you choose and your status as a Rapid Rewards member.
Hot Tip: If your booking includes MGM Resorts in Las Vegas, you’ll earn 600 extra points on top of the points you earn through purchasing the package.
Specialty Earnings Opportunities for Southwest Points
Southwest Airlines provides a few ways to earn Rapid Rewards that you might not expect.
14. Home Services Purchases
Southwest Rapid Rewards has partnered with a few energy companies that will earn you bonus miles for enrolling and remaining with them. These partnering companies offer special bonuses for Southwest Rapid Rewards members:
|Energy Plus||Enroll for at least 2 months and earn on the supply portion of your bill (only IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OH, or PA)||Sign-up: 5,000 points (7,500 for Southwest Airlines credit cardholders)|
|Earning: 2 points on each $1 billed (3 points on each $1 billed for Southwest Airlines credit cardholders)|
|NRG||Enroll for at least 2 months and earn on the supply portion of your bill (only IL, MA, MD, NJ, or PA)||Sign-up: 10,000 points (12,500 for Southwest Airlines credit cardholders)|
|2 points on each $1 billed (3 points on each $1 billed for Southwest Airlines credit cardholders)|
|Reliant||Sign up and then continue to earn each month (only TX)||Sign-up: 15,000 points|
|Earning: 500 each month|
Be wary of these offers! The bonus points earned may be hefty, but those bonus points may not outweigh the cost of the product or service.
You should always consider the cost of the services, as well as the terms and conditions, before diving in simply to earn extra points.
15. Buy Gas For Your Car
Southwest Rapid Rewards and Marathon gas stations recently teamed up to reward Marathon MakeItCount™ members with Rapid Rewards points at the pump.
To take earn Rapid Rewards points when filling up your car, simply sign up for a MakeItCount™ rewards account and link your Rapid Rewards account on Marathon’s website. Then, you’ll earn 1 Rapid Rewards point per gallon and bonus points on in-store purchases.
16. Fill Out Surveys for Rapid Rewards Points
Surveys take time and the points earned aren’t astronomical. If if you need a few more points for an award booking or need account activity to keep your points from expiring, taking a survey for points might make sense.
With that in mind, Southwest has partnered with e-Rewards and Rewards for Opinions. This means they know their customers are interested in participating in marketing research for points in return.
There is no public registration directly with e-Rewards. Instead, you’ll need to be invited through Southwest Rapid Rewards to participate. However, anyone can sign u for Rewards for Opinions.
|Company||Per survey currency or miles||Bonus Rapid Rewards Points|
|e-Rewards||$0.10-$25.00||500 points when completing first survey in 3 months|
|Rewards for Opinions||Varies||500 points when completing first survey in 3 months|
With e-Rewards, the currency becomes points after filling out surveys. The e-Rewards currency you receive upon completing a survey can be transferred into Rapid Rewards points in set increments.
Here is the breakdown of e-Rewards earnings:
- $15 e-Rewards Currency = 300 Rapid Rewards Points
- $25 e-Rewards Currency = 600 Rapid Rewards Points
- $50 e-Rewards Currency = 1,200 Rapid Rewards Points
- $100 e-Rewards Currency = 2,400 Rapid Rewards Points
You can transfer e-Rewards currency for as low as $15. This means 1 survey worth $15 could immediately translate into 300 Rapid Rewards points.
17. Transfer Points From Diners Club
You’re in luck if you’re a Diners Club International member. Southwest and Diners Club have partnered so you can easily convert your Diners Club rewards into Rapid Rewards Points.
The transfer rate is not great at 5:4. This means for every 5 Diners Club Points, you’ll only receive 4 Rapid Rewards points.
Ultimately, you’re losing 20% of your points, so this should only be done if you really need a few points to complete a booking.
Hot Tip: Transfering points from Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio is a much better deal.
Other Ways to Accumulate Southwest Points
Sometimes you need to top off your Rapid Rewards account for an award booking. Southwest provides a quick and easy way to do that.
18. Refer a Friend to the Rapid Rewards Program
Once in a while, Southwest will send emails to targeted Rapid Rewards members. These lucky members have the opportunity to earn 500 bonus points for every friend (up to 4) who joins the Rapid Rewards program.
New members who join from the referral will receive 250 points as a welcome bonus!
Since these are targeted offers, you may or may not be chosen to refer your friends. However, by signing up for a Rapid Rewards account, you’re eligible to receive the promotion.
Once you have signed up for a Rapid Rewards account, watch your inbox for the invitation to participate!
19. Buy Southwest Points
While buying Southwest points is generally a poor value proposition, occasionally a points sale can make it worth it if you need to top off an account. However, the general rule is to avoid buying points if at all possible.
Hot Tip: Got a stack of Rapid Rewards points but no travel on the horizon? Check out these unique ways to use SWA points that don’t involve flying.
While there are only 3 Rapid Rewards credit card options with limited ways to earn points, you can also utilize the Chase Ultimate Rewards program to transfer points to your Rapid Rewards account.
There are several cards that earn Ultimate Rewards including the Freedom Unlimited, Freedom, Ink Business Preferred Card, Ink Business Cash Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and of course, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Fortunately, there are many other ways to earn Rapid Rewards points through hotel and rental car partners. If you’re a few points short of an award flight, there are plenty of ways to earn those last few points and book your award flight.
For even more ideas on earning Southwest Airlines points, check out our other article dedicated to the ways you can earn without even flying!
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.