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, plus retail items and gift cards. Additional redemption options, such as hotel stays and car rentals, are available to members with a Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card or a Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.
The number of points you earn for flying Southwest depends on the type of fare you choose. You will earn 12 points per dollar with "Business Select" fares, 10 points per dollar with "Anytime" fares and six points per dollar with "Wanna Get Away" fares. 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. Southwest has partnerships with various hotel brands and car rental companies like Best Western, 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. 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.
To redeem points for a free flight, 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 miles needed (as of July 2018) to cover a round-trip flight on six of Southwest's most popular routes:
|Route||Lowest calculated round-trip cost (in points)|
|Houston - Dallas||13,610|
|Las Vegas - Los Angeles||8,533|
|Baltimore - San Diego||16,544|
|Hartford, Connecticut - Las Vegas||25,016|
|Houston - Las Vegas||17,472|
|St. Louis - Phoenix||20,534|
The calculated costs shown above are based on booking searches conducted by U.S. News in July 2018. 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. If you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, you have access to additional redemption options, including hotel stays, car rentals, cruises and international flights on 50-plus carriers. Another option is to use your points for experiences, such as wine tastings, golf trips and spa packages.
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The Best Western Rewards program is geared toward budget-minded business and family travelers. Best Western Rewards members can earn and redeem points at 4,200 Best Western hotels in 100-plus countries, including the United States and Canada. Members can also earn points by using Best Western partner services (which range from car rentals to flower delivery) and by making everyday purchases using a Best Western Rewards MasterCard or by converting Diners Club Rewards to Best Western Rewards points. These points can be put toward future stays at Best Western hotels. As of June 2018, members can also redeem points for members-only experiences (such as a walking tour of Quebec and an aerial tour of the Grand Canyon) through the Experiences by Best Western Rewards program. And because Best Western is affiliated with airlines like Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, members can redeem points for miles.
FRONTIER Miles ...
The FRONTIER Miles program caters to travelers based in Denver and the Midwest who frequently fly within the United States. Frontier Airlines services major domestic airports – like those in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago – as well as smaller destinations like Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota; and Bozeman, Montana. Frontier also offers flights to various destinations throughout Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The FRONTIER Miles program awards miles based on the airport-to-airport air mileage distance flown. Miles earned can be used for free flights, car rentals and magazine subscriptions. FRONTIER Miles members can also earn miles when staying at certain hotels, purchasing services through partner merchants and charging everyday expenses to the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard credit card by Barclays.
JetBlue TrueBlue ...
The JetBlue TrueBlue program best serves travelers based in East Coast cities (like Boston, New York City and Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida) who primarily fly domestically and to the Caribbean. Members earn points for every dollar spent on JetBlue flights and JetBlue Vacations packages. You can also earn points on flights booked with seven partner airlines, as well as on hotel stays, car rentals and purchases with retail partners like Amazon and through the ShopTrue retail portal. Earn even more points by staying connected on social media and by making purchases with one of the JetBlue credit cards from MasterCard. You can use those points to cover the cost of future air travel on JetBlue or Hawaiian Airlines, as well as the cost of JetBlue Vacations packages.