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Southwest Rapid Rewards

Overall Score 4.5-stars
No. of Daily Flights More than 2,000
Geographic Coverage 3.0-stars
Ease of Earning Free Flight 5.0-stars
Free Flight Options 4.0-stars
Additional Benefits 3.0-stars
About these ratings

Program Review

Gold Badge

The Southwest Rapid Rewards program is most beneficial for travelers based in the southwest United States who frequently fly to major cities around the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Since merging with AirTran, Southwest offers more than 3,800 flights a day to 97 destinations. By becoming a Southwest Rapid Rewards member, you'll earn points for every dollar spent on Southwest or AirTran flights and with the airline's hotel, car rental and retail partners. If you have the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card from Chase Visa, you can also earn points by making everyday purchases. You can use your Rapid Rewards points to pay for the cost of air travel on any Southwest or AirTran flight, while Southwest credit card holders can also use rewards earned to pay for hotel stays, car rentals and gift cards.

Pros & Cons

  • No blackout dates
  • Rewards can be earned on flights and hotels
  • Miles can be used for any available seat on any Southwest or AirTran flight
  • Southwest's only flights outside the U.S. are to Mexico and the Caribbean
  • The number of points needed to redeem a free flight varies widely
  • Points and cash cannot be combined to cover flight costs


By enrolling in the Southwest Rapid Rewards program, you'll earn points for every dollar spent on Southwest flights. These points can be used to cover the cost of air travel on Southwest Airlines and can be converted to A+ rewards points for flights on AirTran until the airlines are fully merged at the end of 2014.

Can Points Expire? YES

Can Earn Points On...

  • Air Travel
  • Hotel Stays
  • Credit Card

Can Use Points On...

  • Booking Flights
  • Cabin Upgrades
  • Hotel Stays
How to Earn and Use Points»

Membership Levels

The Southwest Rapid Rewards program has four membership tiers: basic membership, A-List, A-List Preferred and Companion Pass.

How Membership Works»

The Fine Print

  • There is no age requirement to become a Rapid Rewards member.
  • Points will expire if your account remains inactive for two years.
  • You cannot earn points on additional expenses (such as extra checked baggage and the cost of flying with a pet), taxes or fees.
  • You cannot earn points for tickets purchased for other customers.
  • You cannot combine points and cash to cover the cost of a flight.
  • Special fares — like senior, infant, child, military and government fares — cannot be purchased with points. 
  • Because of Southwest's relationship with AirTran, members can convert their Rapid Rewards to A+ Rewards (and vice versa) until the airlines are fully integrated at the end of 2014.
  • You cannot use your points to book tickets through a travel agent or a third-party website.
  • You cannot combine your points with those of another Rapid Rewards member to achieve higher membership status or earn a free flight faster.
  • Bonus points cannot be used to achieve a higher membership status.

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