Earning Points

How to Earn Southwest Rapid Rewards: A Quick & Easy Guide

One of the best ways to make the most of your airline rewards for your family is by using Southwest Airlines. By maximizing their Rapid Rewards program, and earning a Southwest Companion Pass you can take nearly free award flights with your crew!  With this loyalty program, you can earn points on every trip you take which can be used for free flights, ticket upgrades, BOGO flights, and more! But did you know there are several different ways to earn these points beyond just flying? In this post, we’ll explore some of the best ways to earn Southwest Rapid Reward points quickly and easily.

Southwest is a US-based airline and doesn’t have a ton of international flights. Because of this, we love using our Southwest points for flights in the United States to places like Disneyland, Disney World, Hawaii, and flights to and from some Central America destinations.  

16 easy ways to earn southwest points to take your family to hawaii
Our favorite way to use our Southwest points is to fly our family to Hawaii at least once a year!

Table of Contents

16 Ways to Earn Southwest Rapid Reward Points! 

Earning Southwest Rapid Rewards is not as daunting as it may seem. We’re going to cover all of the best ways you can earn Southwest Rapid Reward points so you can make the most of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Program!

ways to earn southwest rapid reward points written by kamree price family travel expert
These sixteen ways will have you using your points to fly the friendly skies for less in no time!

1. Apply for Southwest Co-Branded Credit Cards and Earn the Welcome Bonus:

A strategic and rewarding method to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points is by applying for a co-branded Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card. Southwest offers both business credit cards and personal credit cards. These cards, offered in partnership with Chase, often come with generous sign-up bonuses that can substantially boost your points balance. In addition, cardholders earn points for every dollar spent on Southwest flights and partner purchases, and most of the Southwest co-branded cards will provide point bonuses on your cardmember anniversary. By integrating a Southwest credit card into your spending habits, you can earn points on your everyday purchases, transforming regular spending into potential travel.

Expert Tip: If you are new to earning points and miles and you aren’t sure how it works, check out our Points and Miles 101 Article here! 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Personal Credit Cards

There are three Southwest Rapid Reward personal cards you can choose from! I prefer either the either the Plus or Priority options.

2. Refer Your Spouse or Loved One to a Co-Branded Southwest Credit Card:

A quick and simple way to earn more Southwest Rapid Reward points fast is to go into “two-player mode” and refer your spouse or loved ones to their own Southwest co-branded cards. Southwest has a referral program that allows you to earn points for every eligible friend or family member who gets a card. This means that they’ll earn and you’ll earn as well! 

3. Check for the Retention Offers on Your Southwest Cards:

For longtime cardholders, don’t underestimate the power of a friendly request. Southwest credit cards occasionally provide retention offers to valued customers considering canceling their cards. These offers may include bonus points or waived annual fees for the upcoming year to incentivize cardholders to keep their account open. Proactively reaching out to customer service to inquire about possible retention offers could end up increasing your point total significantly.


4. Fly Southwest:

This one is a no-brainer. Every flight you take with Southwest earns you points. You’ll earn even more Southwest points if you use a co-branded Southwest credit card to book your flights!

5. Use Your Southwest Credit Card for Your Everyday Spending:

Gas, groceries, dining out – these everyday expenses can quickly turn into points with your Southwest Credit Card. To see what your exact category multipliers are you can log into your account and see where you can stack and earn more!

6. Transfer Your Chase Points to Southwest:

A fantastic option to get even more Southwest points is to transfer any Chase Ultimate Rewards points you have earned from a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred to your Southwest account. 

Expert Tip: Any Chase points transferred to Southwest will not count toward a Southwest Companion Pass (those points must be earned through a co-branded Southwest card and flights).  And once you transfer your points, you can’t transfer them back. So you’ll want to make sure you are aware of what those points will be going toward and how you will use them! 

Transferring is simple, you just need to add your Southwest Rapid Rewards member number to your Chase account online and start the transfer process. 

Our Favorite Chase Card for Beginners!

7. Build a Combined Southwest & Chase Strategy:

Because Chase Ultimate Rewards and Southwest Rapid Rewards work so well together you can maximize your point earnings by integrating your Chase and Southwest credit cards into a combined strategy. It could be smart to take advantage of each of the different category multipliers and then use those points together! 

8. Take Advantage of the Anniversary Gift Each Year on Your Southwest Credit Cards:

Your card’s anniversary can also be a bonus day for you! Most co-branded Southwest credit cards come with a decent anniversary bonus!

9. Use Southwest’s Rental Car Partners:

Planning a road trip? You can earn points when you rent a car from Southwest’s partners. 

You can check out their rental partners here!

10. Earn Southwest Rapid Reward Points Through the Rapid Rewards Dining Program:

Another fantastic way to accrue more points is through the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program. By dining out at participating restaurants, bars, or clubs, and paying with your linked credit or debit card, you can earn additional points to supplement your balance. The program is free to join, and points earned this way count toward Companion Pass status. You can even earn bonus points by writing reviews of the participating restaurants you visit, making it a flavorful and rewarding method to boost your Rapid Rewards points.

You can check out the Rapid Reward Dining program here!

11. Use Southwest’s Own Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal:

The Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal is another excellent avenue for accruing more points. By making purchases through this online platform, you can earn points on transactions with hundreds of participating online retailers. This platform includes a wide range of categories, such as fashion, electronics, and home goods. Simply log in with your Southwest Rapid Rewards account, navigate to the shopping portal, and start shopping from your favorite brands. It’s a simple and efficient way to accumulate points while making routine online purchases.

You can check out the Southwest Shopping Portal here!

southwest dining program

12. Book Vacations through Southwest Vacations:

Plan your vacations and book through Southwest Vacations and earn points on flights, hotels, car rentals, and more.

You can check out Southwest Vacations here!

Expert tip: It is important to compare costs when you do this because this may not always be the most cost-effective way to book your trips. So do a little comparative research before each booking!

13. Take Online Surveys to Earn a Little Extra:

An often overlooked but super easy way to build up your Southwest Rapid Rewards points is by taking online surveys. There are various online platforms like e-Rewards and Rewards for Opinions, which partner with Southwest. These platforms offer Rapid Rewards points in exchange for your time and feedback on a wide range of topics. This not only provides companies with valuable consumer insights but also rewards you with points that you can accumulate over time. Typically, after completing a survey, the points will be credited to your Rapid Rewards account within a few weeks. This method provides a convenient and straightforward way to incrementally boost your points balance.

14. Earn the Southwest Companion Pass and Turn One Point into Two:

By far, my most FAVORITE way to earn more Southwest Rapid Reward Points is by earning the Southwest Companion Pass. The Southwest Companion Pass is a highly coveted reward that enables a companion to fly with you for free (excluding taxes and fees) whenever you purchase or redeem points for a flight. By earning this pass, each point you earn effectively doubles in value as it’s not just covering your travel but also that of your companion. The Companion Pass can be obtained by earning 135,000 Rapid Rewards points or completing 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year. Once you’ve earned the Companion Pass, every trip you take is for two, thereby essentially turning one point earned into two. This is an outstanding way to maximize the potential of your Rapid Rewards points.

15. If You Have a Delayed Southwest Flight, Reach Out via Secure Message and Obtain a LUV Voucher:

If you experience a delayed Southwest flight (which knowing their track record it’s likely at some point that you will) it’s worth reaching out to their customer service via a secure message. In many instances, Southwest has been known to provide a LUV voucher as a gesture of goodwill to passengers who have had their plans disrupted due to flight delays. These vouchers can be used for future flight bookings or services within the company. Not only does this gesture help to maintain a positive customer relationship, but it also provides another method for you to accrue value towards your travel with Southwest. Additionally, these vouchers are eligible to earn Rapid Rewards points when used, further enhancing your points balance. Remember, it’s important to be courteous and understanding when reaching out, as the airline’s response is at their discretion.

16. Upgrade Your Boarding Position:

Another super easy and effective way to earn points is to consider upgrading to Business Select or EarlyBird Check-In and earn more points! (Remember this will require more spending but if you are short a few points and you want to have an earlier boarding position for an upcoming flight, this is an easy option)

Southwest Bonus Points and Offers

Additionally, Southwest Airlines offers occasional bonus points promotions throughout the year. Keep an eye out for special offers like these as they can be a great way to boost your Rapid Reward point total in one fell swoop. With a little bit of planning and strategizing, you can maximize the amount of points you earn and enjoy even more great rewards from Southwest.

And… One Tip I DON’T Suggest

Technically you CAN transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Southwest. I do not recommend doing this because it devalues your Marriott points DRASTICALLY and the return on Rapid Rewards is sooooo bad. If you have millions and millions of Marriott Bonvoy Points, then sure – go for it – but for the average family, I wouldn’t suggest it!

easy ways to earn southwest points

Earning Southwest Rapid Reward Points FAQs

Got Rapid Reward questions? We’ve got answers!

Here are some of the most common questions and answers about earning Southwest Rapid Rewards!

How do you get Rapid Reward points without flying? 

The easiest way to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards without flying is to use a co-branded Southwest Credit Card on your everyday spending and take advantage of Southwest’s Shopping Portal as well as their Rapid Reward Dining Program. 

What is the fastest way to earn Southwest points?

Meet the minimum spend on a co-branded Southwest credit card and get a giant welcome bonus! You can also create a strategy where you earn enough points that you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass which will help turn every point into two. 

What are Southwest points worth?

In general, the standard valuation for Southwest Rapid Reward Points is 1.5 cents per point. However, if you are smart with how you book (like using your FFH points and miles subscription) and book with the Southwest Companion Pass your point value can be worth a whole lot more!

Can you buy Southwest points?

Yes, you can buy Southwest points. However, these points don’t count toward the Southwest Companion pass and the math doesn’t always work out in your favor. Meaning that you could spend more money buying points than just buying a flight directly. One instance when it does make sense to buy some points is if you just need to “top off” your account so you can book reward flights. Always do the math and see if it makes sense for you! 

Do I earn Southwest points when using my points?

No, you will not earn Southwest points when you are taking flights that have been booked with your points. 

When will my Southwest points appear on my account?

When flying, your points should appear on your account within 72 hours of the completed trip. For minimum spend, shopping portal, and dining program earnings it can take up until the end of the statement close. 

Do Rapid Rewards expire?

Southwest Rapid Rewards DO NOT expire, even if you cancel a Southwest credit card or you are inactive in your account. 

Do taxes and fees earn Rapid Reward Points?

The government-imposed flight taxes and fees won’t earn you points but the carrier-imposed surcharges will! 

Best Ways to Earn Southwest Rapid Rewards Conclusion

Remember that with the right booking strategy, your Southwest Rapid Reward points can go a long way toward booking a dream vacation or treating yourself to something special. So if you’re trying to build up your Southwest point reserve, try to make the most of the opportunities discussed here. With a bit of effort and planning, you’ll be sure to see a great return on your loyalty rewards!

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