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Southwest Rapid Rewards guide: The best ways to earn and use Rapid Rewards points

Summary

Our guide give you a complete overview of the Southwest Rapid Rewards program: how to earn and redeem points, book a flight, gain elite status and more.

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For travelers weary of the hassles and hidden fees that often come with booking airline award tickets, the Southwest Rapid Rewards program is a welcome alternative. Southwest makes it extraordinarily easy to book its low-cost fares at a great value. 

What is Southwest Rapid Rewards?

Rapid Rewards is the loyalty program of Southwest Airlines – one of the largest domestic carriers in the U.S. Through Rapid Rewards you earn points on airline purchases, credit card purchases, purchases through Southwest partners and more, which you can redeem for a variety of awards, including flights on Southwest.

Though your flight options with the Rapid Rewards program are limited mainly to domestic flights (Southwest serves only 10 countries outside the U.S.), it’s a great option for economy travel within the U.S., as well for as families toting along several family members and a lot of extra luggage. Not only is it simple to find and book flights with your rewards, but you don’t have to worry about baggage fees or any other kind of hidden fees. Plus, Southwest booking policies are extremely flexible, allowing you to change and even cancel your ticket at the very last minute for free and with a full refund of your points.

Southwest Rapid Rewards program overview

Type of currencyMiles
Average point value1.6 cents
Credit cardsSouthwest Rapid Rewards Plus, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier, Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business,Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business
Redemption optionsFlights, gift cards, car rentals, merchandise, hotels, experiences
Minimum required to redeemNumber of points required to cover the cheapest available flight
Do rewards expire?Never
Airline partnersNone
Flight coverageFair. 3,600+ daily flights, 90+ destinations, 10+ countries
Booking restrictions
  • No blackout dates or capacity controls
  • One-way fares permitted
  • Open-jaw tickets permitted
  • Connections permitted
  • Stopovers not permitted
  • No booking fees
  • No change fees
  • Cancel up to 10 minutes before flight and get miles refunded for no fee
Best for
  • Frequent Southwest fliers
  • Domestic travelers
  • Economy travelers
  • Families
  • Travelers who want a simple, valuable airline rewards program
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards members

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Published: October 17, 2019

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: December 4th, 2019
Business
15.09%
Airline
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Cash Back
17.38%
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Student
18.58%

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