Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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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 fast can you earn tons of Rapid Rewards points? Ultimately, that’s up to you and the strategies you employ. Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to earn tons of Southwest Rapid Reward points.
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.
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program 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.
Using credit cards is by far the fastest way to earn Rapid Rewards, and you can earn tons of points with a simple strategy.
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!
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are extremely valuable because you can transfer them to many different Chase transfer partners. Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer 1:1 to Southwest Airlines, so any points you earn on Ultimate Rewards cards can turn into Southwest Rapid Rewards points almost instantly. This is a much better strategy than just collecting Southwest Rapid Rewards points; you’ll greatly increase your redemption options but can also redeem for Southwest flights as needed.
Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards 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 Ultimate Rewards points are much easier to earn than Southwest Rapid Rewards points are when using one of Southwest’s credit cards.
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.
The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options. Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.
Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!
Business Owner? Read our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.
Southwest Airlines has partnered with Chase to offer Southwest-branded credit cards.
You can only have 1 Southwest consumer card at the same time. This rule does not apply to the Southwest business cards.
This card focuses on the Southwest traveler with anniversary points, travel credit, upgrades, and money back on inflight purchases.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the most premium personal Southwest card offering from Chase. When you peel back the curtain, it is easy to see why.
Not only does the card offer multiple bonus categories to help you earn more Southwest Rapid Rewards points, but it is also loaded with benefits that are sure to offer quite a bit of value to Southwest flyers.
Here is a full overview of the card to help you decide if it is a good fit for your wallet.
Earn Southwest points on every purchase, plus anniversary points, Tier Qualifying Points, and points toward the Companion Pass!
Another week, another flight. Flying weekly can get tiring, but you know that every flight gets you closer to taking some great vacations with your significant other or your favorite travel buddy.
To save money on the flights, you like to use Southwest Airlines.
So why not get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card to help you earn extra Rapid Rewards points?
This card makes it easy to earn unlimited points and qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.
If you spend a lot of time in the air, it’s important to get a great deal on your plane tickets.
Southwest Airlines can help you get those deals.
One way to save is by using the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. This card helps you earn points for all your spending, and earning more reward points is always a good thing for a busy traveler!
Southwest frequent flyers will love the upgraded boarding positions, inflight Wi-Fi credits, and bonus points on each cardmember anniversary.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is a phenomenal option for business owners who are Southwest frequent flyers. It helps you earn more points on all of your business expenses, offers upgraded boarding certificates and Wi-Fi credits, and helps you reach higher levels of Southwest elite status.
Business owners who fly Southwest often can earn extra points for all of their spending, and add employee cards at no additional cost.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is built for business owners that regularly fly with Southwest and are looking for a card that helps them earn more points while providing benefits such as 25% back on inflight purchases and EarlyBird Check-In certificates.
Here’s a look at the bonus categories offered on the Southwest-branded credit cards:
|Category||Applicable Credit Cards||Points Earned|
|Southwest Purchases (including flights, in-flight purchases, and gift cards)||Southwest Plus card||2x|
|Southwest Premier card||3x|
|Southwest Priority card||3x|
|Southwest Premier Business card||3x|
|Southwest Performance Business card||4x|
|Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners||Southwest Plus card||2x|
|Southwest Premier card||2x|
|Southwest Priority card||2x|
|Southwest Premier Business card||2x|
|Southwest Performance Business card||3x|
|Local transit and commuting (rideshare, trains, buses, taxis, tolls, parking lots, garages)||All Southwest-branded cards||2x|
|Internet, cable, and phone||Southwest Priority card||2x|
|Southwest Premier card||2x|
|Southwest Plus card||2x|
|Southwest Performance Business card||3x|
|Select streaming services||Southwest Priority card||2x|
|Southwest Premier card||2x|
|Southwest Plus card||2x|
|Social media and search engine advertising||Southwest Performance Business card||2x|
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. The points are earned after each cardmember anniversary date:
Do note that these bonus points aren’t free — when your cardmember anniversary rolls around, you’ll need to pay the card’s annual fee. With that in mind, do the math to see if the bonus points are worth it.
Chase regularly allows current cardmembers to refer friends and family. To sweeten the deal, it provides 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.
You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points and transfer them to Southwest at a transfer rate of 3:1. For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that you transfer, you’ll receive a bonus of an extra 5,000 Rapid Rewards points.
A great option for Marriott hotel fans who want a no annual fee card and automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Casual travelers who like to frequent properties that are part of the Marriott Bonvoy collection of brands may want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.
The Marriott Bold card rewards cardholders for Marriott stays and gives them a boost towards Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Marriott loyalists will love this card's annual free night award, automatic elite status, and up to 17x points per $1 on Marriott hotel stays.
If you’re a frequent traveler and a Marriott loyalist, there’s a lot to love about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. The card comes packed with several great benefits like a free hotel night once a year, automatic Silver Elite status (with a fast-track to Gold Elite status), and multiple options for redeeming points.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.
If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, the latest mid-tier offering in the Marriott Bonvoy lineup of cards, offers cardholders automatic elite status and ways to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on each of their stays and daily purchases.
A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.
So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?
If you’re going to be shopping or dining out anyway, you might as well earn some extra Rapid Rewards points, too!
Credit cards aside, there are a lot of other ways to earn points on everyday purchases through the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping portal.
To ensure you earn the bonuses for your purchases:
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!
Like several other airlines, Southwest participates in the Rewards Network dining platform. Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining makes it easy for you to earn Rapid Rewards points when you eat out at restaurants all over the U.S.
Membership is free; you simply register for an account, add any credit card, and start eating to earn. To sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program:
Usually, you will earn 3 points per dollar at participating restaurants, bars, and clubs after opting into Southwest Rapid Rewards 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:
Southwest Airlines has a few specialty shopping partners that offer bonus Rapid Rewards points:
Finally, we arrive at the tried and true method of earning Rapid Rewards points: flying on Southwest Airlines.
Luckily, with Southwest-branded credit cards, you earn bonus points for every dollar spent on purchases with Southwest Airlines. This includes all flights, inflight 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 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 ticket you purchase.
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, you’ll receive bonus points with each tier:
This might seem like a lot to calculate, but it’s a pretty simple calculation. First, determine your base fare (without taxes and fees) and fare class.
Once you have the info, you simply multiply these numbers. Then add additional points if you have A-List or A-List Preferred status.
For example, if your base fare is $250, you would earn 1,500 points if it was a Wanna Get Away ticket (6x points). If you had A-List status, that flight would earn 1,875 points and if you had A-List Preferred status, it would earn 3,000 points.
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 points per rental|
|Avis||600 (1 to 2 day rentals), 1,200 (3 to 6 day rentals), 2,400 (7+ day rentals)|
|Budget||600 (1 to 2 day rentals), 1,200 (3 to 7 day rentals), 2,400 (8+ day rentals)|
|Dollar||600 (1 to 2 day rentals), 1,200 (3+ day rentals)|
|Hertz||600 (1 to 2 day rentals), 1,200 (3 to 6 day rentals), 2,400 (7+ day rentals)|
|National||600 points per rental|
|Payless||1,200 points per rental|
|Thrifty||600 (1 to 2 day rentals), 1,200 (3+ day rentals)|
Southwest Hotels gives you options to earn Rapid Rewards points for hotel bookings. The site often runs specials offering anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 extra points per stay, making it a good alternative to booking hotels through Expedia, Orbitz, and other booking companies.
In the absence of a promotion, you’ll earn an extra 1 point per $1 spent on hotels booked through Southwest Hotels.
Rocketmiles is another way to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards on hotel bookings. With Rocketmiles you can earn up to 10,000 Rapid Rewards points per night on hotel stays. While most stays probably won’t earn quite that much, it’s still a good way to earn extra Rapid Rewards points.
You can earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points by staying at select hotel chains. Just be sure to set your earning preference to Southwest in each hotel’s respective loyalty program.
|Hotel Partner||Earn Points|
|Best Western||600 points per stay|
|Hyatt||600 points per stay|
|Marriott Bonvoy||600 points per stay|
|MGM Resorts||600 points per stay|
|Radisson Rewards Americas||20 points per $1 spent|
Not all of a hotel partner’s brands may be included. Please click each partner’s link for more details.
You can transfer hotel points you earn through hotel co-branded credit cards and loyalty programs, 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.
|Hotel Partner||Point Transfer Ratio (Partner:Southwest)|
|Hyatt||5,000:2,400 (for every 50,000 points you transfer, you’ll get a 12,500-point bonus; 50,000:30,000)|
|Marriott Bonvoy||3:1 (for every 60,000 points you transfer, you’ll get a 5,000-point bonus; 60,000:25,000)|
|Radisson Rewards Americas||10:1|
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.
Southwest Airlines provides a few ways to earn Rapid Rewards that you might not expect.
Southwest Rapid Rewards has partnered with a few energy companies that will earn you bonus points for enrolling and remaining with them. These partnering companies offer special bonuses for Southwest Rapid Rewards members:
|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 after 2 months as an NRG customer|
|Earning: 2 points on each $1 billed|
|Reliant||Sign up and then continue to earn each month for 24 months (only TX)||Sign-up: 15,000 points|
|Earning: 500 each month (for up to 24 months)|
Be wary of these offers! You can definitely earn a lot of points, but those 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.
Southwest Rapid Rewards and Marathon gas stations have 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.
Surveys take time and the points earned aren’t astronomical, but if you need a few more points for an award booking, taking a survey for points might make sense.
With that in mind, Southwest has partnered with e-Rewards and Rewards for Opinions.
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 up for Rewards for Opinions.
|Company||Per Survey Currency or Points||Bonus Rapid Rewards Points|
|e-Rewards||$0.10 to $25||Varies|
|Rewards for Opinions||Varies||500 points when completing your 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:
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.
Emergency Assistance Plus provides medical and travel insurance services, including medical evacuation, medical assistance, companion assistance, and transportation home.
You’ll earn 1,200 Rapid Rewards points when you join and 1,200 points each year that you renew your membership.
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.
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!
While buying Southwest Rapid Rewards 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 Southwest Airlines points that don’t involve flying.
There are so many ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points!
In addition to Southwest-branded credit cards, several cards earn Ultimate Rewards points and Marriott Bonvoy points that can be transferred to Southwest.
There are also many other ways to earn Rapid Rewards points through hotel, shopping, 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 Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The value of Southwest Rapid Rewards points is more or less fixed. You’ll typically get ~1.3 cents per point in value.
Southwest Rapid Rewards points cannot be transferred to other airlines. They can, however, be redeemed for hotel stays and car rentals, but this is not a great use of points.
Rapid Rewards points should post to your account within 3 to 7 days.
Yes. Southwest considers all flights paid for with Rapid Rewards points fully refundable when canceled prior to departure.
Yes. Find the Manage section of your account and select Request Past Points. Enter the flight confirmation number and submit. In 3 to 5 days you should see the past flight appear in your account’s trip history and receive the missing points.
Southwest Rapid Rewards points don’t expire as long as an account is open.
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Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience.
Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class!
Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal). He runs Straight to the Points, an award-seat alert platform.
UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.