Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Southwest is a favorite airline among many travelers because of its customer-friendly policies like free checked baggage, no change fees, and the Southwest Companion Pass. Its loyalty program, Southwest Rapid Rewards, is easy to use as well, making it a great airline for award travel.
Of course, we all know you can use Rapid Rewards points to purchase Southwest flights, but did you know that you can use your Southwest points for gift cards, merchandise, experiences, hotels, and more?
In this post we will show you all the unique ways you can use your Southwest Rapid Rewards points, and whether or not these options are a good use of your points.
You can use your Southwest Rapid Rewards points for things other than Southwest flights by visiting the Southwest More Rewards portal. To find all these options on southwest.com, you’ll need to navigate to the More Rewards portal. Here’s a quick step-by-step to get you there.
To shop for merchandise using your Southwest Rapid Rewards points, go to the More Rewards portal and select Shop All on the top menu bar.
From here you will be able to see all the items you can purchase using Rapid Rewards points. The main shopping categories are:
Each category has different subcategories. Click on one to see all of the items available.
This brings up a typical shopping page; you’ll see all the items available are listed in the main section with filtering options to the left of the screen. The only difference is that the prices are listed in Rapid Rewards points instead of dollars!
To purchase an item, click on the item then click the yellow Add to Shopping Bag button. You may be prompted to log in to your Rapid Rewards account if you aren’t already logged in.
Once you’re ready to check out, you’ll see the price for your item listed in Rapid Rewards points. As you move through the checkout process, you’ll see a slide bar that lets you pay for just part of your order in points. You’ll be able to pay for up to 25% of your item with a credit card.
Click the yellow Submit Order button to complete your order. Orders can not be canceled once placed, so be sure everything is correct before you submit your order!
If you prefer not to order online, you can also order over the phone. Call Southwest on 800-833-4861 Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST to place an order.
If you are unhappy with an item purchased through the More Rewards portal, you can return it within 30 days of the ship date.
To return an item, you must call Customer Service at 800-833-4861 for a Return Authorization (RA) number. This number must be included in your return. You’re responsible for return shipping charges and will be charged a 15% restocking fee. Gift cards can not be returned.
If you receive a damaged item, contact Customer Service at 800-833-4861 within 24 hours of receipt.
The value you will get for your Rapid Rewards points when shopping through the More Rewards portal varies. We searched lots of products, and the value varied anywhere between 0.2 to 0.7 cents per point. When you consider the fact that you will get 1.3 to 1.4 cents per point in value when using your points to purchase a Southwest flight, you see that these are not great deals.
Gift cards are another item you can purchase through the More Rewards portal using your Rapid Rewards points. Go to the More Rewards portal and select Gift Cards on the top menu bar.
You can search for specific stores or categories using the filtering options at the left, or just scroll through the available cards in the main section of your screen. The price for each gift card will be listed in points instead of dollars. Click on the card you would like to purchase to see details and finalize your transaction.
The price you’ll see will be lower for Rapid Rewards credit cardholders than it will for Rapid Rewards members.
|Gift Card Amount||Price for Rapid Rewards Credit CardHolders||Price for Rapid Rewards Members|
|$100 Gift Card||15,000 points||18,800 points|
|$50 Gift Card||7,500 points||9,400 points|
|$25 Gift Card||4,500 points||5,625 points|
|$15 Gift Card||3,500 points||4,375 points|
|$10 Gift Card||3,000 points||3,750 points|
Hot Tip: You only need to be a Rapid Rewards member to shop using points in the More Rewards portal, however, prices for gift cards are lower for anyone who holds a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card.
When using Rapid Rewards points to purchase airline tickets, you will get about 1.3 to 1.4 cents per point in value.
When you use Rapid Rewards points to purchase a gift card, you’ll get between 0.26 to 0.66 cents per point. Even at the top end of that range, it’s less than half the value you would get using your points to purchase a flight!
Generally, using your points to purchase gift cards is not a good deal. There could be a few occasions when it might make sense, but these times will be few and far between.
Hot Tip: The feature that allows you to use Rapid Rewards points for non-Southwest international flights has been temporarily suspended.
Your Rapid Rewards points can be used to purchase non-Southwest international flights through the More Rewards portal. Go to the More Rewards portal and select Travel on the top menu bar, then Airfare from the drop-down menu.
Input your search criteria including departure city, arrival city, dates, times, and the number of passengers. Then click the yellow Search button in the bottom right corner.
This search results page should look pretty familiar — the search results are in the middle with filtering options to the left. The main difference you may notice is that the price is listed in Southwest Rapid Rewards points instead of dollars.
If you don’t have enough points in your account to cover the cost, you will need to earn or buy more.
When purchasing non-Southwest International airfare with Southwest points, you’ll get a value of 0.79 cents per point if you don’t have a Southwest credit card and 0.98 cents per point if you do have a Southwest credit card. That’s significantly less than the 1.3 to 1.4 cents that Southwest points are worth, but it’s a much better value than using your Southwest points for merchandise or gift cards.
To search for hotels, go to the More Rewards portal and select Travel on the top menu bar, then select Hotel Stay from the drop-down menu.
Then enter your basic search criteria including destination, travel dates, number of rooms, and number of guests. Click the yellow Search button to continue.
Just as with flights, the price is listed in Southwest Rapid Rewards points instead of dollars. This price is for your entire stay, not just 1 night. If you don’t have enough points in your account to cover the cost, you will see a Payment Guidelines button that directs you to purchase more points.
If you have enough points in your Rapid Rewards account (and are logged in) you will see a yellow Select button. Click this to enter your info and complete the transaction.
Trying to find a hotel through Southwest More Rewards has some problems. First, be careful what you are choosing — hostels were listed right along with hotels. Also, many of the hotels listed were not actually available to book, but you don’t know until you click on the selection.
In all of our searches for hotels booked through the Southwest More Rewards portal, we got a point value of 0.6 to 0.7. That’s about half the value you get when you book a flight with your Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Plus, if you need to cancel or change a hotel reservation booked through Southwest, you’ll be on the hook for a $35 fee.
To search for a rental car, go to the More Rewards portal and select Travel on the top menu bar, then select Rental Car from the drop-down menu.
Input your search criteria including pick-up and drop-off location, times, dates, and the driver’s age. To include some more specific search criteria click on Advanced Search — you can specify car type, type of transmission, and whether or not the car will have air conditioning.
Click the yellow Search button to continue.
The main search results will be displayed in the middle of the page with filtering options to the left. The price will be shown in Rapid Rewards points. Click on See Details for more information, price breakdown, and any additional fees that might apply.
After selecting Travel on the More Rewards main menu, you can select Cruises from the drop-down menu. Then you will be prompted to call a Cruise Agent at 888-658-4826 to use your points.
Prices aren’t listed on the website so you’ll need to call to see if this is a good deal.
Hot Tip: Interested in a cruise? Check out these websites for great cruise deals.
You may be surprised to know that you can purchase TSA PreCheck using Southwest Rapid Rewards points. You’ll find it in the More Rewards portal by clicking Travel and then Travel Essentials.
TSA PreCheck usually costs $78 for 5 years. In the More Rewards portal, it costs 13,500 Rapid Rewards points if you’re a Rapid Rewards credit cardholder or 16,920 points if you aren’t. That will give you 0.5 to 0.6 cents in value, just under half of what points are worth when you use them for flights. However, if TSA PreCheck is something you want and you have no plans to use your Southwest points in other ways, it could be a decent option in some circumstances.
Before you use Southwest points to purchase TSA PreCheck, check your credit cards. Many credit cards come with complimentary Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. There’s even a Southwest credit card that includes this perk — the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card.
Keep in mind that TSA PreCheck is included with Global Entry, so if you’ve got a card that covers a Global Entry application fee, it’s usually better to do that since it also includes TSA PreCheck.
If you’re a Rapid Rewards credit cardholder, you can book special events, like concerts, using your Southwest points. Just go to the More Rewards portal and click on Get More, then Access Events.
Tickets are limited but if you can snag tickets to an event you really want to go to, this could be a great way to use your Rapid Rewards points.
If you’re interested in unique ways to use your Southwest points, check out the More Rewards portal and click on Shop All, then Experiences.
Here you’ll find unique experiences you can book with points, including things like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade experience or a travel package including tickets to “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”
You can purchase 1-Day tickets to Universal Orlando using Rapid Rewards points. You can find these in the More Rewards portal by clicking on Travel, then Seasonal.
According to Universal’s website, the cost for an adult ticket ranges from $164 to $217 and a child ticket ranges from $159 to $209.
That means you’ll get anywhere from 0.3 to 0.6 cents per point in value when you use Rapid Rewards points, which isn’t great.
|Universal Ticket Type||Cost for Rapid Rewards Credit Cardholders||Cost for Rapid Rewards Members|
|Universal Orlando Resort 1-Day Park to Park Anytime Access Adult Pass||36,000 points||45,120 points|
|Universal Orlando Resort 1-Day Park to Park Anytime Access Child Pass||35,250 points||44,180 points|
Southwest offers different ways to use your Rapid Rewards points through the More Rewards shopping portal. While the value you will get from your points through this portal is pretty bleak — about 0.4 to 0.7 cents per point on average — it’s always good to have lots of options when it comes to using your points.
If you find yourself with a stack of Rapid Rewards points and no Southwest travel on the horizon, it’s good to know you can exchange your points for something of value, even if it’s not as good of a deal as using them for Southwest flights.
Southwest More Rewards is a shopping portal in which you can use Rapid Rewards points to purchase merchandise, gift cards, flights, hotel rooms, rental cars, and more. Access the More Rewards portal by visiting southwest.com and selecting Rapid Rewards, then Redeem Points For Gift Cards & More.
Your point value will vary depending on what you are purchasing in the More Rewards portal and whether or not you’re a Rapid Rewards credit cardholder. You can expect to get between 0.4 to 0.7 cents per point in value on average.
If you are looking to maximize the value of your Rapid Rewards points, then no, the More Rewards portal isn’t a great deal. If you have extra Rapid Rewards points and you have no plans to fly, then the options in the More Rewards portal could be a good alternative.
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