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How to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points

Fly, charge and dine your way to big point earnings.

Earn Southwest points a number of ways, including using cobranded cards, booking directly with Southwest or booking with partner hotels. Southwest even offers rewards for filling out a survey. This helpful guide will show you some of the most common and most efficient ways.

10 ways to earn Rapid Rewards points

Compare cards that earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points

Spending with cobranded or partnered credit cards is one of the fastest ways to earn points, even when you’re not spending on your next flight.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus 3x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year
2x points on Southwest and 1x points on all other purchases
$149
Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus 3x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year
2x points on Southwest and 1x points on all other purchases
$69
Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
100,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95

Up to $1,250 signup bonus

Earn a massive signup bonus of 100,000 points with this popular travel card. That's worth up to $1,250!
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What are Tier Qualifying Points?

Tier Qualifying Points are separate from standard Rapid Rewards points and are simply a measurement of how close you are to the next elite status tier. Tier Qualifying Points are earned through eligible credit card purchases and flights as follows:

  • Earning method TQPs earned
  • Southwest Credit Cards 1,500 TQPs for every $10,000 spent, up to 15,000 TQPs max annually
  • Wanna Get Away Fare s 6x TQPs per dollar
  • Anytime Fares 10x TQPs per dollar
  • Business Select Fares 12x TQPs per dollar

Earn Rapid Rewards elite status just with credit cards

Typically, Southwest places a cap on the number of tier qualifying points you can earn with a credit card. This cap was 15,000 TQPs a year, which made it impossible to earn a tier status through spending alone. You need 35,000 TQPs to reach the first elite status level, A-List, and 70,000 TQPs to reach A-List Preferred.

However, beginning in May, Southwest lifted this cap until your last billing cycle of December 2020. What’s more, Southwest cards currently earn an additional 3,000 TQPs for every $10,000 you spend on your card until then, instead of the standard 1,500 TQPs.

This means that, while it’s not easy, you could conceivably earn A-List purely through credit card purchases. To do so, you’d need to have spent $120,000 on your credit card between May and December. This would result in an earning of 36,000 TQPs.

Flying with Southwest Airlines

Aside from credit cards, booking Southwest flights is your other primary way to earn points. Your rates depend on your Rapid Rewards tier, and the exact points you’ll earn depend on the price of the airfare. Here’s an example of the points you can earn per dollar:

Membership TierBusiness SelectAnytimeWanna Get Away
Base12x points10x points6x points
A-List15x points12.5x points7.5x points
A-List Preferred24x points20x points12x points

Data obtained October 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

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Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining

Earn points with the Rapid Rewards Dining program by making purchases at participating restaurants. You’ll earn 3x points if you opt into their email program. Otherwise, get 1x points per 2 dollars spent and 10x points for each submitted restaurant review. You can also earn bonus points at certain point milestones: 500 bonus points after reaching your first 1,500 points through dining and reviews, and another 300 bonus points for every 1,000 points earned thereafter. Points earned this way can take up to 6 weeks to post to your account.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping

Shop online at participating stores to earn additional Rapid Rewards points. You’ll find participating retailers through Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal. Earning rates on purchases depend on the retailer, and rates tend to change frequently, so check back each month if you don’t see a deal that catches your eye.

Diners Club

Transfer points earned on your Diners Club card to your Rapid Rewards account in increments of 1,500 Diners Club points to 1,200 Rapid Rewards points. This is roughly a rate of 3 Diners Club points to 2.4 Rapid Rewards points.

Booking with partnered hotels

You can also earn Rapid Rewards points by booking stays with participating hotel chains.

Participating hotelPotential earnings
Southwest Hotel1x points per dollar
Best WesternVaries
Radisson RewardsPoints convert at a 10:1 ratio
Choice Hotels6,000 Choice points for 1,800 Rapid Rewards points
World of Hyatt600 points per qualifying stay; 5,000 World of Hyatt points for 2,400 Rapid Rewards points
Marriott Bonvoy600 points per stay; 9,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for 3,000 Rapid Rewards points
MGM Resorts International600 points per qualifying reservation
RocketmilesUp to 10,000 points per night

Data obtained October 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

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Car rentals and ground transportation

Renting a car with a participating car rental service can also earn you points on your Rapid Rewards account.

Rental car partnerPoints earned
Alamo600 points at time of rental
Avis600 points at time of rental
Budget600 points at time of rental
Dollar600 points at time of rental
Hertz600 points at time of rental
National600 points at time of rental
Payless600 points at time of rental
Thrifty600 points at time of rental

Data obtained October 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

You can also earn 100 points each way when you reserve an airport SuperShuttle shared-ride, or 150 points each way for reserving ExecuCar’s private sedan service.

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Using certain life services

If you choose NRG for your home electric needs, you can earn a bonus of 10,000 points after the first two months of service — along with 2 points for every dollar spent on the supply portion of your bill. This opportunity is only available for residents of Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Texans can earn a 15,000-point enrollment bonus for signing up with Reliant’s Reliant Secure 24 plan and 500 additional points each month for the next 24 months.

Finally, signing up for EA travel insurance will reward you with 1,200 Rapid Rewards points upon activation and for each year you renew your coverage.

Gas

Rapid Rewards members can sign up for Marathon’s MakeItCount program and select Rapid Rewards to earn 1 point for every gallon of fuel purchased at participating Marathon gas stations.

Surveys

For some quick and easy points, you can fill out Southwest’s Rewards for Opinions. Your first survey after signing up will earn you 500 points, with subsequent point earnings differing based on the survey. You can also fill out Southwest’s e-Rewards Opinion Panels for a currency that you can convert into Rapid Rewards points.

Conversion rate
e-Rewards$15 e-Rewards Currency to 300 points
$25 e-Rewards Currency to 600 points
$50 e-Rewards Currency to 1,200 points
$1,000 e-Rewards Currency to 2,400 points

Data obtained October 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

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Travel Experiences

Southwest offers a variety of travel experiences you can book through their Rapid Rewards portal. Each of these will earn you 1x Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on the activity.

Buy Rapid Rewards points

You can purchase Rapid Rewards points for 2.75 cents per point. This is generally not recommended since you’ll end up paying more than what the points can often receive in redemption value. However, if you need just a few more points to get you over the line for an award flight, you might consider paying for the point difference.

Bottom line

With strong credit card options in Chase and Southwest’s card offerings, you can make big point gains based on your purchasing preferences without sacrificing value. Learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards program for more information on this program’s perks and elite status levels. And once you’ve built your point collection, learn how to redeem the Rapid Rewards points you earn for maximum value.

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