Earning enough Southwest points to make a rewards redemption can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help you earn miles and points faster at no additional cost. One of these methods involves signing up for an airline or hotel’s dining rewards program.
This article walks you through the Southwest dining program to show you how it works and the types of point bonuses you can expect.
How To Join/Log in & Basics of Using The Program
Rapid Rewards Dining requires you to enter basic information about yourself, register your Southwest Rapid Rewards number, and create a separate login for the reward program.
You will also need to link a credit card to your profile at the time of joining – don’t worry, you won’t be charged for anything!
Earning extra rewards works like this: whenever you use a card linked to your profile at a participating restaurant, you will earn bonus points based on the cost of your meal, including tax and tip. It won’t require registering your meal after the fact or keeping track of receipts – everything is automatic.
After your meal is over, you’ll have a chance to review your experience for 10 more Southwest points.
You can have a maximum of 6 credit cards linked to your profile, so anytime you use any of those cards for dining you will automatically earn rewards.
Southwest’s dining portal is a bit different than some other airlines’ because the number of bonus points earned doesn’t vary between restaurants. You’ll earn 3 bonus points per dollar spent at participating restaurants when you opt in to email notifications from Rapid Rewards Dining.
You’ll only earn 1 bonus Rapid Reward point per $2 spent if you don’t opt in to email notifications.
It’s often possible to earn an introductory bonus for joining the dining program and completing specific requirements within a specified time period.
The current bonus available is for up to 1000 bonus when visiting participating restaurants within 30 days of joining the program. You’ll earn 500 points for your first visit, 250 for your second visit and 250 for your third visit – all with minimum spends of $25 for each visit. You’ll also need to review your experience within 30 days of dining.
In the past, these bonuses have gone as high as 2,000 Rapid Rewards points! However, you’re probably better off joining now so you can earn 3 points for every dollar right away, instead of waiting for a sign-up bonus that may never return!
You will also get a first step bonus of 500 points after you reach your first 1,500 and a thank you bonus of 300 points each time you accrue 1,000 points. This is one of the most generous dining programs we’ve seen!
As mentioned above, the number of rewards earned doesn’t vary by dining experience. Grab a quick bite or dine at a fine establishment; all that matters is that the restaurant is participating in the program.
When I did a search for restaurants near Boulder, CO, the dining portal listed 107 participating restaurants within 30 miles. Most of the restaurants listed were smaller local restaurants rather than chain locations.
There were a few chain options listed, but in some cases, not every location participated. Here are a few examples:
- Buca di Beppo
- Burger King
- Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
The points you earn through the Southwest Dining program are all in addition to the regular credit card rewards you would earn.
If you are mainly interested in Southwest points, you should consider using a card that earns Southwest rewards directly or one that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio.
Below is a list of cards that earn these reward currencies.
Hot Tip: Using a card that earns 2x dining points is a great way to boost your earned miles and points even more!
Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
If you’re a business owner, see our list of the best Chase business credit cards.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Cards
Hot Tip: Check out the benefits of the best Southwest credit cards!
Joining Rapid Rewards Dining and linking your credit cards is a fast, easy, and convenient way to earn more Southwest points when you are dining out. You might also enjoy using the shopping portal as well to really maximize rewards.
Pair this with a credit card that earns a category bonus for spending at restaurants, and you’ll be ready to redeem your next Southwest award in no time!