Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards points for the best value

Earn a Companion Pass to potentially double the value of your points.

With no blackout dates on flight redemptions, redeeming your Rapid Rewards points on Southwest travel is one of the most valuable ways to use your reward earnings. And if you earn a Southwest Companion Certificate, you can effectively double the value of your points when you travel with a partner. Here are a few examples of where these points can take you, along with a few other useful ways to use those points.

Awards chart

Here are a few samples illustrating the points needed to book flights through the Southwest Rapid Rewards program. These fares fluctuate throughout the year based on travel trends and when you book your flight. Especially notable are the “Wanna Get Away Fare” class tickets, which are a big value opportunity if you don’t mind their nonrefundable nature.

Flight routeBusiness Select FareAnytime FareWanna Get Away Fare
DC to Los Angeles48,897 points46,323 points18,360 points
DC to the Bahamas48,897 points46,323 points18,360 points
DC to Cancun44,148 points41,964 points21,606 points

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

How much are Southwest points worth?

Southwest points are worth between 0.5 and 1.7 cents per point, according to our valuation at the time of writing. The exact value depends on what you redeem them for.

Do Southwest points expire?

No, provided you maintain an active account by earning or redeeming points at least once every two years.

How to redeem points for maximum value

There are many ways you can redeem Rapid Rewards, but flights are the best choice for maximizing your points’ value. We did the math to break down how much a single point is worth depending on which fare you redeem it on.

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 December 2020. 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.

The value of the Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most coveted companion certificates on the market and for good reason: once you’ve earned it, you can use it for the remainder of the year and the entire following calendar year. By comparison, other airlines’ companion certificates typically last for just one flight.

This pass allows you to bring another passenger on your booked flights for just the cost of tax and fees. When we look at this through the lens of redeeming points, a companion pass essentially doubles the value of your Southwest points, which is a thunderous value play. And you can use this pass for an entire year at the least! The requirements to earn a Companion Pass are steep but well worth the effort if you and a partner travel often with Southwest.

Best ways to redeem points with Southwest partners

If you’re a Southwest credit cardholder, you can redeem your Rapid Rewards points on more than just travel through a program called “More Rewards.” This program includes standard redemption options such as merchandise and gift cards through partnered retailers, as well as hotel bookings or international flights. However, Southwest has paused the More Rewards program as of December 2020, citing COVID-19-related challenges.

It’s a bummer to lose out on redemption options, but it’s not a huge loss: most of the redemption options through this program were worth far lower on average 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 December 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Airline transfer partners

Unfortunately, Southwest Airlines isn’t part of an airline alliance. This means you can only redeem your Southwest points on flights with Southwest Airlines, unlike some other airline loyalty programs.

How to earn Rapid Rewards points

Rapid Rewards program members can earn Southwest points by booking flights through Southwest or making purchases with an eligible credit card or through the Southwest shopping portal. Credit cards are your best bet for quickly earning points and can play a big part in helping you earn a Companion Pass. You can check out our full earning guide for more earning tips and information.

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

Compare cards that earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points

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.

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
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on up to $1,000 on groceries until April 30, 2021, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a signup bonus worth $1,000 plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries with this popular travel card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $900 through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $900 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards with Chase’s premier card.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
$0
Now earning 5% on Chase Travel Portal purchases, this card has become a worthy travel card pick. Also get up to 5% on other everyday purchases.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

If you often fly Southwest Airlines, the Rapid Rewards program is a straightforward 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.

Pictures: Getty Images

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site