Last updated on August 24th, 2023
Southwest Airlines is one of the most popular airlines in the United States. The appeal of Southwest is due in part to the airline’s low fares, no cancellation fees, free checked bags, and friendly faces. “Wanna Get Away?” First, make sure you check out our ULTIMATE guide to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Program!
What are Southwest Rapid Rewards?
The Southwest Rapid Rewards program is a loyalty program offered by Southwest Airlines. Members can earn points by booking flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and making purchases with select partners. These points can then be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, and more. Members can also earn status in the program, which comes with additional benefits such as priority boarding and bonus points. The program also features a Companion Pass, allowing a designated companion to fly for free (plus taxes and fees) on any flight the member purchases or redeems with points. Additionally, Southwest offers frequent promotions and bonuses for Rapid Rewards members.
Earning Rapid Rewards Points
Earning Points with Flights
The easiest way to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points is by booking flights with Southwest Airlines. The number of points Rapid Rewards members receive when flying with Southwest depends on the fare they purchase, as well as their current Rapid Rewards tier.
Earning Points Based on Fare
Rapid Rewards members earn the following points when purchasing the following Southwest fares:
|Wanna Get Away||Wanna Get Away is the basic – and lowest cost – fare Southwest offers. The basic, Wanna Get Away fare earns six Rapid Rewards points for every dollar spent with the carrier.|
|Wanna Get Away Plus||Wanna Get Away Plus is the next tier and earns 8X Rapid Rewards points for every dollar spent with the carrier. This fare offers all the features of the basic fare, plus same day stand-by, same day changes, and transferrable flight credits.|
|Anytime||Anytime is the next tier of Southwest fares and offers increased flexibility compared to Wanna Get Away tickets. Anytime fares allow for refunding of canceled trips for up to 12 months – and earn ten points per dollar spent.|
|Business Select||Business Select is the top fare level for Southwest Airlines. Business Select get priority boarding, priority security where available, and a complimentary drink on board, and 12 Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent.|
Earning Points with Southwest Airline Partners
Rapid Rewards members can also earn points when spending money with Southwest Airlines partners, including:
|Other||Rapid Rewards points are also earnable when making purchases through the dedicated Southwest Rapid Rewards shopping portal, where members earn points for making purchases with hundreds of leading brands.|
|Registering with Southwest lets Rapid Rewards members earn one point for every dollar spent when filling up their tank at Marathon gas stations.|
|Experiences booked with Southwest Experiences also earn Rapid Rewards points.|
Earn with Co-Branded Credit Cards
An easy way to earn additional Rapid Rewards points is through a Southwest Airlines credit card. Issued through Chase Bank, Southwest credit cards offer excellent introductory bonuses. These cards, like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card, also provide the opportunity to earn additional points – on top of the points earned through signup offers.
Southwest Personal Cards
Southwest Rapid Rewards currently offers three consumer credit cards through JP Morgan Chase Bank. These cards include:
Rapid Rewards® Plus
Rapid Rewards® Premier
Rapid Rewards® Priority
|Earn 2X pts. on Southwest purchases, 2X pts. on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming, and 1X on all other purchases||Earn 3X pts. on Southwest purchases, 2X pts. on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming, and 1X on all other purchases||Earn 3X pts. on Southwest purchases, 2X pts. on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming, and 1X on all other purchases|
|2 EarlyBird Check-In per year.||1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent||4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available|
|No annual fee||$99 annual fee||$149 annual fee|
Southwest Business Cards
Chase also issues two small business credit cards from the carrier. These cards offer impressive points, and travel perks businesses will love, including:
|Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Cards|
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
|Rewards rate||Earn 3X points on Southwest purchases; 2X on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental bookings, local transit and commuting including rideshare, plus social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services; and 1X on all other purchases||Earn 4X points on Southwest purchases; 3X on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals; 2X on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, plus social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services; and 1X on all other purchases|
|Best perk||2 EarlyBird Check-Ins per year||Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit|
|Annual fee||$99 annual fee||$199 annual fee|
Do Rapid Rewards Expire?
No! Rapid Rewards points do not expire. Please remember that closing your Rapid Rewards account without spending your points will result in the forfeiture of those points.
How to Redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
There are several redemption options for Rapid Rewards points:
Flights with Southwest Airlines
The easiest way to use points is through flight bookings directly with Southwest Airlines. To use points for flights, members need to book their flight at Southwest.com and choose to pay with points.
Flights with Southwest Airlines Partners
While Southwest does fly to several locations outside the United States, the geographical limitations of Southwest Airlines’ reach don’t mean you can’t use your Rapid Rewards points to get to your dream destination. Points may also be used for flights with over 50 carriers worldwide, traveling to a broad swath of destinations.
Rapid Rewards points are also redeemable towards hotel stays with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Southwest Hotels, Best Western, Radisson, Choice, Hyatt, Marriott, MGM, and SPG. Members must book through the Southwest travel portal to book hotel stays using Rapid Rewards points.
Points also apply towards rental car bookings made through the travel portal. Southwest rental car partners include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Payless, and Thrifty.
Other Ways to Redeem Points
Southwest points are also redeemable for gift cards or purchases made through the Southwest Rapid Rewards shopping portal.
What Are Rapid Rewards Points Worth?
Here are the latest valuations for leading frequent flyer loyalty programs:
|Air Canada (Aeroplan)||1.3|
|American Airlines (AAdvantage)||1.1|
|Alaska Airlines (Mileage Plan)||1.4|
|British Airways (Avios)||1.3|
|Delta Air Lines (SkyMiles)||1.2|
|Frontier (Frontier Miles)||1.4|
|Hawaiian Airlines (HawaiianMiles)||0.9|
|KLM/ Air France (Flying Blue)||1.2|
|Korean Air (SkyPass)||1.6|
|Lufthansa (Miles & More)||1.4|
|Southwest (Rapid Rewards)||1.5|
|Spirit Airlines (Free Spirit)||0.8|
|United Airlines (MileagePlus)||1.2|
|Virgin Atlantic (Flying Club)||1.5|
Southwest Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Status Levels
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Program currently offers four tiers of membership: Basic, A-List, A-List Preferred, and Companion Pass. Basic is the entry-level tier of Rapid Rewards membership and offers no perks beyond the ability to earn a higher rate of points for purchases.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the elite tiers in the Rapid Rewards program, along with an explanation:
|Southwest Rapid Rewards Tiers|
|Requirements||35,000 TQPs or 25 flights.||70,000 TQPs or 50 flights.||135,000 CPQPs or 100 flights.|
|Priority security & boarding||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Companion flies free||–||–||✔️|
A-List is the next membership tier, offering increased points-earning potential and perks. To reach A-List status, a Rapid Rewards member must earn 35,000 points within a calendar year or make 25 qualifying one-way flights in the same period. Other benefits include:
- 25% more points when booking flights
- Priority check-in, boarding, and security (where available)
- Free same-day standby
A-List Preferred is the elite tier of the Southwest Rapid Rewards program, offering the top level of earnings and perks for members.
Achieving A-List Preferred Status
To achieve A-List Preferred status, a Rapid Rewards member must earn 70,000 points within a calendar year or make 50 qualifying one-way flights in the same period.
A-List Preferred Perks
- 100% more points when booking flights
- Priority check-in, boarding, and security (where available)
- Free same-day standby
- Complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi
One of the biggest reasons that frequent flyers love the Rapid Rewards program so much is the Southwest Companion Pass. The Companion Pass allows a companion to fly with a traveler for just the cost of taxes and fees.
The Companion Pass is highly coveted and only achievable by making Southwest a regular part of your travel plans. Members must make at least 100 qualifying one-way trips with Southwest in a calendar year to earn a pass – no mean feat. The only other way to obtain this pass is by accumulating 110,000 points. The easiest way to achieve this lofty goal is through the signup bonuses with many of the Southwest Airlines credit cards.
Current Southwest Credit Cards
Chase issues the following Southwest Airlines small business and consumer credit cards:
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