Redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards for the best value

This customer-friendly program offers many strong redemption options.

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From travel, dining and more, Southwest Airlines’s Rapid Rewards makes it easy to earn and redeem points.

Awards chart

Here are a few samples illustrating the points you might need to book different flights through the Southwest Rapid Rewards program.

Flight routeBusiness Select FareAnytime FareWanna Get Away Fare
DC to Los Angeles43,512 points41,481 points32,579 points
DC to the Bahamas32,136 points29,952 points23,712 points
DC to Cancun34,086 points31,902 points22,074 points

Data obtained March 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

How to redeem points for maximum value

There are many ways you can redeem Rapid Rewards, but flights tend to be the best choice for maximizing your points’ value.

FarePoint Value
Wanna Get Away fares1.6 cents per point
Anytime fares1.1 cents per point
Business Select fares0.9 cents per point
International fares0.8 cents per point

Data obtained March 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Wanna Get Away fares

You’ll find some of the best bang for your buck when redeeming your Rapid Rewards points for additional travel through Southwest Airlines. Their Wanna Get Away fares in particular offer a great value with each point equaling about 1.6 cents on average.

You’ll get no cash refund on these flights, but Southwest will redeposit the points into your account if you paid entirely with points. These flights go fast so you’ll want to act quickly if you see them.

Anytime fares

Anytime fares are a close runner-up, providing 1.1 cents per point on average. Anytime fares run more expensive than Wanna Get Away fares, though they do allow for full refunds.

Business Select fares

In terms of points value, Business Select fares offer about 0.9 cent per point, placing it third behind Southwest’s other fares. Unfortunately, these fares are higher priced compared to the others, meaning you’ll need to review your options carefully to use your points effectively.

How to Redeem points with Southwest partners

Rapid Rewards points can be redeemed on merchandise sold by partnered retailers. However, the value gained from these redemptions is on average lower than the value gained on redemption for a flight.

Redemption optionPoint Value
Gift cards0.7 cents per point
Car rentals0.7 cents per point
Merchandise0.6 cents per point
Hotel0.2 cents per point
ExperiencesVariable

Data obtained March 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Southwest Experiences

Southwest Experiences is a redemption option with potentially high value if you find a good deal on the Southwest Experiences page. This category is a grab bag of activities, such as tours, admission to museums and tickets to amusement parks.

Airline transfer partners

Southwest Rapid Rewards

Southwest Airlines does not currently allow you to transfer your Rapid Rewards points to other airlines.

How to earn Rapid Rewards points

Rapid Rewards program members can earn points by booking flights through Southwest or by making purchases through partnered businesses.

It can be even easier to earn points using a cobranded credit card. These cards offer signup bonuses, accelerate basic membership rates and offer travel perks with Southwest Airlines. For a full rundown of how to best earn Southwest points, check out our complete guide.

What are Southwest’s reward tiers?

Booking a certain number of flights in a calendar year or earning a certain number of tier qualifying points can qualify you for Southwest’s A-List and A-List Preferred status. Being an A-List member earns you a percentage bonus on your Rapid Reward points earnings.

TierFlights requiredPercentage bonus
A-List
  • 25 one-way qualifying flights
  • 35,000 tier qualifying points
25% bonus points
A-List Preferred
  • 50 one-way qualifying flights
  • 70,000 tier qualifying points
100% bonus points

Our pick for a Southwest credit card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Signup bonus: 40,000 points after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.
  • 2x points on Southwest purchases, and with hotel and car rental partners.
  • $75 in Southwest travel credits every card year.
  • 7,500 bonus points after each cardmember anniversary.
  • Get reimbursed for up to four A1-A15 boarding passes each card year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
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Compare Southwest Airlines and other credit cards

Southwest Airlines cobranded cards earn Rapid Rewards points directly on your purchases, while also offering unique card perks such as Companion Pass access and annual bonus points on your cardmember anniversary.
Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals and 1x points on all other purchases
$149
Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.
40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on Southwest Airlines and 1x points on all other purchases
$99
Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on Southwest Airlines and 1x points on all other purchases
$69
Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
70,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on Southwest Airlines, 2x points on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable, and phone services and 1x points on all other purchases
$199
Earn 70,000 points when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
60,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months and 6,000 points after your card anniversary
2x points on Southwest Airlines and 1x points on all other purchases
$99
Earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months and 6,000 points after your card anniversary.

Compare up to 4 providers

If you want to build your Rapid Rewards points without committing to a Southwest Airlines card, Chase allows you to transfer its Ultimate Rewards points from premium cards to Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. In fact, depending on your spending and travel habits, you might find it easier to build Rapid Rewards points using a Chase card.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
$150 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
1.5% cash back on all purchases
$0
Earn a $150 signup bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months from account opening.
$200 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months

5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0
Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months from account opening.
80,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on the first $150,000 on travel and select business categories annually, then 1x after and on all other purchases
$95
80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

If you often fly Southwest Airlines, the Rapid Rewards program is an easy way to earn points toward airfare, hotels and more, especially if you’re an A-List member or in a higher tier.

With a cobranded card or a premium Chase card, you stand to earn even more rewards on your purchases. Review your options to find the Rapid Rewards card that best fits your spending and travel needs.

Frequently asked questions

Pictures: Getty Images

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