How To Maximize Your Southwest Rapid Rewards Points Through Car Rentals

Car on highway

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If you are a frequent flyer of Southwest Airlines, you’ll want to know all the ways you can earn Rapid Rewards points! Earning points while doing something you have to do anyway is key to maximizing your earning potential!

Did you know you can earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points just for renting a car?

In this post, I’ll show you how to earn bonus Rapid Rewards points by renting a car through Southwest.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

If you aren’t familiar with Rapid Rewards, it is the loyalty program for Southwest Airlines. I love this program because it is so easy to use. If Southwest has a flight available to book with cash, you can book that flight with points with no blackout dates!

There are lots of easy ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards without flying, and renting a car is one of them. Each rental through Southwest will earn 600 to 2,400 Rapid Rewards points.

Benefits of Renting a Car Through Southwest

In addition to having a simple to navigate interface, renting a car on Southwest is risk-free.

There are no cancellation fees, and they offer a low-price guarantee. Plus, you earn Rapid Rewards points with each rental.

Hot Tip: The first 600 points you earn from each car rental WILL count toward A-List and A-List Preferred Status, as well as Companion Pass qualification.

How to Rent a Car Through Southwest

1. On Southwest’s home page, click on Car in the top search bar. Then select Book A Car in the drop-down menu.

How To Rent A Car On Southwest
Image courtesy of

2. Enter your pick up and drop off locations, dates, and times. Click on the drop-down menu at the bottom of the search box to access advanced search options including rental company and vehicle size. Then, click the yellow Search button to continue.

Southwest Car- Advanced Search
Click on the drop down to show advanced search options like the type of vehicle and car rental agency. Image courtesy of

3. Next, you will see a grid showing all of your options. Each car rental company is listed at the left side of the grid, and the types of cars available are listed across the top. The large number is the price per day, but you can also see the total price including taxes listed underneath.

Southwest Car Rentals
Southwest displays all of your car rental options in an easy to read grid. Image courtesy of

4. Click on each box for more information about the rental, including how many Rapid Rewards points you’ll earn. Once you’re happy with your selection, click the yellow Continue button.

Renting a car through Southwest
Image courtesy of

5. Now, you can review your selection and add extras like a car seat or ski rack.

6. Click the yellow Continue button, then enter your driver details. You will not have to enter payment details, as all car rentals booked through Southwest are paid once the car is returned.

Renting a car through Southwest
Image courtesy of

7. Then click the yellow Reserve button to complete your reservation.

Bottom Line: Remember, you won’t need to prepay for car rentals when booking through Southwest. Instead, you’ll pay when you return the car.

Car Rental Partners

Southwest partners with 8 different car rental agencies.

Car Rental Offers

You can earn 600 bonus Rapid Rewards points for each qualifying car rental booked through Southwest Airlines.

Your Rapid Rewards number must be tied to the reservation to earn points, and some partners have coupon codes or other requirements to earn points.

Hot Tip: Any amount of points over 600 per rental is considered bonus points. That means those points do NOT count toward A-List or A-List Preferred status or Companion Pass qualification.


You’ll earn 600 points on each car rental at participating locations worldwide (Blackout dates may apply.)

Your Rapid Rewards number must be provided at the time of booking or time of check-in and reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. If you happen to have multiple car rentals on the same or consecutive days in the same market, a flight within 24 hours of the rental is required to earn points.

Hot Tip: Booking your car rental with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card will earn 2x Ultimate Rewards points! These points can be easily transferred to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio.


You’ll earn 600 points on each car rental at participating locations worldwide (Blackout dates may apply.)

You’ll need to supply your Rapid Rewards number at the time of booking and a Frequent Flyer surcharge of up to $1 per day may apply.


You’ll earn 600 points on each car rental at participating locations worldwide (Blackout dates may apply.)

You’ll need to supply your Rapid Rewards number at the time of booking and a Frequent Flyer surcharge of up to $1 per day may apply.

Car rental through Southwest
It’s easy to earn bonus Rapid Rewards points when renting a car. Image courtesy of


You’ll earn 600 points on each car rental at participating locations worldwide (Blackout dates may apply). You need to supply your Rapid Rewards number at the time of rental.


You’ll earn 600 points on each car rental at participating locations worldwide (Blackout dates may apply). You need to supply your Rapid Rewards number at the time of rental.

Use discount code 205418 for these additional benefits:

  • Daily discount on U.S. rentals
  • Up to 30% discount on U.S. leisure Rates
  • 10% discount on Affordable Europe Rates (not pre-paid)
  • 10% discount on Canadian Leisure Rates
  • 10% discount on rates in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean

Hot Tip: When renting a car, be sure to pay with a credit card that has great rental insurance coverage like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This card provides primary rental insurance including up to $75,000 for theft or collision damage. Be sure to decline the rental company’s insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card to qualify. Plus, you will earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points when paying with this card!


You’ll earn 600 points on each car rental at participating locations worldwide by requesting Rapid Rewards points at the time of rental or reservation. (Blackout dates may apply).

Payless Car Rental

You’ll earn 600 points on each car rental at participating locations worldwide by requesting Rapid Rewards points at the time of rental or reservation. (Blackout dates may apply).

A Frequent Flyer surcharge of up to $1.50 per day (up to $7.50 per rental) may apply.


You’ll earn 600 points on each car rental at participating locations worldwide by requesting Rapid Rewards points at the time of check-in. (Blackout dates may apply).

Bottom Line: To view the most up-to-date rental car points offers or to book a rental car through Southwest, go here.

How do Southwest Car Rental Prices Compare?

While all these bonus Rapid Rewards points are great, does it make sense to book your rental car through Southwest?

I made some price comparisons to see where Southwest stacked up to other car rental websites. Keep in mind, Southwest Rapid Rewards points are valued right around 1.5 cents per point. That makes the 600 to 2,400 bonus points you can earn valued between $9 to $36.

I searched for a week-long economy-class rental on, Priceline, and all of the car rental agencies’ websites, and here’s what I found.

Car Rental AgencySouthwest.comPriceline.comCar Rental Agency’s Own Website – Pay LaterCar Rental Agency’s Own Website – Pay At Time Of Booking

*Payless Car Rental is not available in all areas and wasn’t available for the location of this search.

As you can see, Southwest car rental prices match those offered on Priceline and all but one of the car rental agency’s websites. (Avis is the only site that offered more discounts by booking direct.)

However, many car rental agencies offer a discount if you are willing to pay up front. Booking upfront means your rental would be non-refundable, but sometimes, the price savings can be worth the risk!

One thing to note is that Priceline offers Express Deals. These are opaque bookings in which the car rental agency is hidden until booking is complete. This type of booking can offer huge savings if you don’t care who you are renting from and don’t mind a pay-now reservation that can’t be changed. In the example above, the Priceline Express Deal for a week-long economy rental was $360.12.

Hot Tip: Not sure what credit card to use? Check out this list of the best credit cards for Southwest Airlines flyers.

Final Thoughts

Earning points through activities other than flying is key to really maximizing your earning potential.

Southwest offers bonus points for each qualified car rental you make with their 8 partners. Each booking you make through Southwest will earn 600 to 2,400 bonus Rapid Rewards points.

If you are looking for a rental with free cancellation, Southwest’s prices are on par with OTAs like Priceline and even the car rental agencies own websites, making Southwest car rentals a smart choice for anyone looking to earn lots of Southwest Rapid Rewards points!

Frequently asked questions

Can I use a Southwest gift card to pay for a car rental?

No, Southwest gift card and Southwest LUV vouchers can’t be used to pay for rental cars.

Can I use rapid rewards points to pay for my car rental?

Yes you can. Go to and click on Rapid Rewards>Redeem Points for Car Rentals.

Which car rental agencies can I use when I book through Southwest?

Southwest has 8 car rental partners: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar Car Rental, Hertz, National, Payless Car Rental, and Thrifty Car Rental.

How do I book A rental car through Southwest?

To book a rental car through Southwest, go to their website and click on Car in the upper right-hand menu or click here.

Do points earned from car rentals count towards A-List status or Companion Pass?

The first 600 points earned from each car rental booked through Southwest will count towards A-List and A-List Preferred status and Companion Pass qualification. Any points earned over 600 are considered bonus points and will not count towards any status.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. A word of caution: I have been renting cars through Southwest regularly (20X per year) for 4 years. I used to love the Alamo promos but last year the points stopped posting automatically (you have to email them), so I switched to Dollar. No issues with points posting, usually within 48 hours.


  2. Do I understand correctly that you can only get Chase Sapphire Reserve 3x travel points on rental cars if you book directly with the rental car companies? So, if I booked a car through SW, even with a CSR card, that rental would not qualify for 3x bonus points, correct?


  3. Nick Kostik August 25, 2019

    Read the fine print on SW vendor terms when you have selected a vehicle. Budget’s terms: Additional Fees: A frequent flyer surcharge of up to $1.00 per day applies to all rentals earning frequent flyer miles, points or credits.


  4. Jonathan Lloyd September 12, 2019

    You state to go through SouthWest’s web page yet on the Budget section you state it must be done through the link. Which is it?


  5. Kendra Parris September 21, 2019

    You state in this article that you can’t redeem Rapid Reward points for car rentals. This is wrong. You most certainly can redeem them for cars. Maybe this is a new thing, but the article should be updated.


    • Hi Kendra,
      Can you specify which article you are referring to? This post doesn’t say anything about using Rapid Rewards points for car rentals. Please let us know so we can make sure everything is up to date. Thanks!


      • I see the same thing located under the FAQ section, as stated:

        “Can I use Rapid Rewards points to pay for my car rental?

        No, you can’t pay for your rental car using Southwest Rapid Rewards points.”


        • Hi Ashley,

          Yes, you can’t use Rapid Rewards points to pay for car rentals, per Southwest’s terms and conditions.


          • Concerned Citizen November 6, 2019

            You can though.

            It costs 13k to 25k (depending on the car rental company) for a full size car, for example.

            Maybe you need to have the Southwest Credit Card, but you can use the points to book.

            Log-in to your account. On the upper right click Rapid Rewards -> Redeem points for Car Rental.

          • Hi,
            The post has been updated to reflect this change. Thanks for noticing!

    • Where can you redeem points for cars? I spent a good amount of time trying to figure this out. Can someone help me out?


  6. Can I earn Rapid rewards points for a car rental in Aruba? What is the point conversion? Will i receive the additional 600 points with certain car rental agencies? Most indicate it is US locations. thanks Karen


    • Hi Karen.
      Whether or not you’ll earn Rapid Rewards points on a car rental in Aruba and whether you’ll earn the 600 points is based on which car rental agency you use, so you’ll need to refer to the terms for your specific rental agency.


  7. Katie,
    How soon do the Southwest rapid rewards get posted to my account after a car rental. I am currently 500 points short for my companion pass ( I have 109,550 points). Since it’s already December 21, I was planning to rent a car through one of the Southwest partners. The first comment above from Chris suggested that with Dollar points are posted with 48 hours to the Southwest account. Is this correct or do I have to fly before 12/31. Thank you for your response. TY


  8. How does a car rental booked through Southwest post on your credit card statement? Does it post as a Southwest charge, the rental car company charge, or something else?


  9. Can you use Rapid Rewards points to book and pay for car rental in the United Kingdom using the Southwest partner agencies?


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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