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 international flights operated by partner carriers like Delta Air Lines and British Airways. Additional redemption options, such as hotel stays, retail items, gift cards and car rentals, are available as well. What's more, members with a Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, a Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card or a Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card can use accrued points to pay for spa packages, golf trips and more.
The number of points you earn for flying Southwest depends on the type of fare you choose. You will earn 12 points per dollar spent on "Business Select" fares, 10 points per dollar spent on "Anytime" fares and six points per dollar spent on "Wanna Get Away" fares. Only tier qualifying points – those earned from Southwest flights or through the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards – will count toward a higher membership status. Bonus points (points offered through Southwest promotions) do not count toward your membership status. If you don't have the minimum amount of points needed to redeem a reward, you can buy points through the Southwest Airlines website. A maximum of 60,000 points can be purchased each day.
Southwest has partnerships with various hotel brands and car rental companies like Hyatt, Marriott, Alamo and Budget, as well as retailers participating in the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal and restaurants around the United States. Southwest also partners with Marathon, so you can earn one point per gallon of gas purchased at participating Marathon gas stations. Another way to accrue points is to participate in market research surveys. If you're a Southwest Rapid Rewards Chase Visa credit card holder, you can earn two points for every dollar spent on all Southwest flights and with Southwest's hotel and car rental partners. You'll also earn one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
To redeem points for a free flight on Southwest or a free international flight on one of 50-plus partner carriers, you must purchase your ticket through the Southwest Airlines website or over the phone with a customer service representative. The number of points needed to cover the cost of a flight varies by fare type, demand, destination, time and other factors. Below you'll find the minimum number of points needed (as of July 2019) to cover a round-trip flight on six of Southwest's most popular routes:
|Route||Lowest calculated round-trip cost (in points)|
|Houston - Dallas||14,612|
|Las Vegas - Los Angeles||8,154|
|Baltimore - San Diego||18,770|
|Hartford, Connecticut - Las Vegas||19,302|
|Houston - Las Vegas||19,544|
|St. Louis - Phoenix||20,074|
The calculated costs shown above are based on booking searches conducted by U.S. News in July 2019. We analyzed 12 of each airline's highly trafficked routes within three round-trip mileage categories: short domestic, medium domestic and long for three different round-trip dates between July and September.
Accrued points can also be cashed in for partner gift cards (think: Amazon and Best Buy) and merchandise sold on the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal. What's more, points can be used to cover car rentals and hotel stays. You can gift points to another member as well. If you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, you have access to additional redemption options, including experiences, such as cruises, wine tastings, golf trips and spa packages.
You Might Also Like
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.