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The Ultimate Southwest Rapid Rewards Program Guide

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!

southwest airlines

What is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Program?

Rapid Rewards is the frequent flyer loyalty program of Southwest Airlines – one of the largest carriers in the United States. The carrier offers services to an ever-expanding list of destinations throughout North and Central America, as well as the Caribbean.

Southwest Airlines Destinations

Southwest is a leading discount carrier in the United States, meaning the airline offers a huge array of flights throughout the continental U.S. and Hawaii. The carrier is also one of the larger regional carriers in the Western Hemisphere, with dozens of flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America.

United States

Southwest flies to over 70 destinations throughout the United States, including multiple locations in Hawaii.

For a complete listing of Southwest Airlines destinations in the United States, visit the Southwest Airlines website.

Locations Outside the United States.

Caribbean

Oranjestad, Aruba

Nassau, Bahamas

Bridgetown, Barbados

Georgetown, Cayman Islands

Camaguey, Cuba

Havana, Cuba

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Montego Bay, Jamaica

 

Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

Mexico

Cancun

Puerto Vallarta

Central America

Liberia, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica

Belize City, Belize

Earning Rapid Rewards Points

Earning Points with Flights

The easiest way to earn 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:

frequent flyer guide

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.

frequent flyer guide

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.

frequent flyer guide

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 Based on Rapid Rewards Status Tier

Rapid Rewards points are also gained based on a traveler’s status within the Rapid Rewards program. The following tiers earn the following points for their fares:

southwest airlines

Basic

Basic travelers earn no additional points boost other than what is listed above. Basic travelers earn 6 points for a Wanna Get Away fare, 10 points for an Anytime ticket, and 12 points for a Business Select fare.

southwest a list

A-List

All A-List members receive a 25% boost when earning rewards points, meaning they receive 7.5 points per dollar on a Wanna Get Away fare, 12.5 points on an Anytime fare, and 15 points on a Business Select fare

A-List Preferred

A-List Preferred is the top tier and hence gets the most bang for the buck. Travelers earn a 100% boost on points, meaning they earn 12X points per dollar on Wanna Get Away fare, 20X points on an Anytime and 24X points on Business Select

Earning Points with Southwest Airline Partners

Rapid Rewards members can also earn points when spending money with Southwest Airlines partners, including:

  • Hotels: Southwest partner hotels include Southwest Hotels, Best WesternRadissonChoiceHyattMarriottMGM, and SPG, as well as bookings made with Rocket Miles.
  • Rental Cars: Southwest rental car partners include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Payless, and Thrifty.
  • Ground Transportation: Members also earn points when booking with Turo or SuperShuttle Executive ground transportation services.
  • Shopping: 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.
  • Gas: Registering with Southwest lets Rapid Rewards members earn one point for every dollar spent when filling up their tank at Marathon gas stations.
  • Other: 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 also provide the opportunity to earn additional points – on top of the points earned through signup offers.

Current Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards

Transferring Rewards from Other Programs

Members of other rewards programs may be able to transfer their rewards club points to the Rapid Rewards program. Diners Club members, for instance, can transfer their points to Rapid Rewards at a lower rate, with a minimum transfer of 6,700 points to 5,000 Rapid Reward points. Chase Ultimate Rewards members can also transfer their rewards points to Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.

How Much Are Southwest Rapid Rewards Points Worth?

0
cents per point (September, 2020)

Redeeming 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.

Hotels

Rapid Rewards points are also redeemable towards hotel stays with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Southwest Hotels, Best WesternRadissonChoiceHyattMarriottMGM, and SPG. To book hotel stays using Rapid Rewards points, members must book through the Southwest travel portal.

Rental Cars

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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Status Levels

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Program currently offers three tiers of membership: Basic, A-List, and A-List Preferred:

Basic

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, as detailed above in the earning points section.

A-List

A-List is the next membership tier, offering increased points-earning potential and perks.

Achieving A-List Status

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.

A-List Perks

  • 25% more points when booking flights
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Express security lane (where applicable)
  • Free same-day standby

A-List Preferred

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
  • Priority boarding
  • Express security lane (where applicable)
  • Free same-day standby
  • Complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi

Southwest Companion Pass

southwest companion pass

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. To earn a pass, members must make at least 100 qualifying one-way trips with Southwest in a calendar year – 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. Once again, Southwest currently offers the following credit cards through Chase Bank:

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About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident rewards expert, covering all facets of the points game – especially travel, hotels, and airlines. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.