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Guide to Southwest Rapid Rewards program

Strong credit card choices and a coveted Companion Pass program.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked

Our pick for earning Southwest points: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card logo

40,000-point

Signup bonus after spending $1,000 in first 3 months

  • Enjoy $75 in Southwest travel credits annually
  • Earn 2x points on Southwest, hotels and rental cars
  • Get 7,500 points each card anniversary
See offer
Whether you’re out on business or family trips, Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards program offers great value for a wide variety of travelers. Just by signing up for the program and making eligible purchases, you can earn points that you can redeem for flights, hotel stays or car rentals. And if you decide to get a cobranded Southwest Airlines credit card, you’ll get to earn rewards points faster.

Southwest COVID-19 updates

Southwest has made several adjustments to the Rapid Rewards program in response to travel difficulties brought on by COVID-19. A few of the biggest changes include:

  • Expiration date extensions. A-List members and Companion Pass holders set to expire on December 31, 2020 will have their expiration dates extended to December 31, 2021 and June 30, 2021 respectively.
  • Complimentary points. Any member who opened a Rapid Rewards account by April 1, 2020 will receive 15,000 tier qualifying points, 10 qualifying one-way flight segments, 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points, and 25 qualifying flight segments toward a Companion Pass.
  • Other changes include extensions to travel fund expiration dates and the option to covert said funds into Rapid Rewards points. You can check out all of the requirements and details of these updates at the Southwest COVID-19 resources page.

Other rewards

Points are worth1.5 cents
Transfer partnersN/A
Earn points byEligible credit card spending, Southwest flights, Book at partner hotels, Eligible car rentals, Dine at eligible restaurants, Shopping at partner stores, Marathon gas stations
Redeem points onSouthwest flights, Gift cards, Merchandise, Hotel stays, Car rentals

What is the Southwest Rapid Rewards program?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards program is Southwest Airlines’ loyalty program. By booking flights and earning points, you can redeem your earnings on flights, gift cards and more. Like other airline loyalty programs, you can also earn some additional travel perks if you progress through the program’s status levels.

How do you earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points?

There are many ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points. For most members, the biggest sources of points will come from flying with Southwest Airlines and spending with eligible credit cards. However, there are other options, including dining with dining partners or shopping at partnered retailers. For a full breakdown of your options and earning strategies, check out our full Southwest Rapid Rewards earning guide.

Do Southwest points expire?

No, so long as you maintain an active Southwest Rapid Rewards account. You can keep your account active by earning or redeeming points at least once every two years. Credit card purchases that earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points count toward this activity.

Compare Southwest Airlines credit cards

Southwest’s cobranded credit cards not only improve your regular point earnings, but help you build tier qualifying points toward A-List and A-List Preferred status. Earning a status improves your baseline Rapid Rewards point rate, making a cobranded card a great choice if Southwest is your preferred airline.

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
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.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
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.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
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.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See terms
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
70,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus 30,000 points after spending $25,000 in the first 6 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. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
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How to redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards points

Once you earn enough points, you can redeem them by logging in to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account. If you want to know which redemption options give you the best value for your points through a Southwest award chart, check out our Southwest redemption guide.

Loyalty program elite levels

Rapid Rewards members can earn two status levels: A-List and A-List Preferred. Earning either offers a great earning bonus on your points, along with a few handy travel perks.

Upgrading your status

To earn an A-List or A-List Preferred status, you’ll need to meet certain requirements on flights or tier qualifying points (TQP).

StatusRequirements
A-List25 one-way qualifying flights
OR
35,000 TQP
A-List Preferred50 one-way qualifying flights
OR
70,000 TQP

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

Companion Pass

Though not a status level, flying 100 qualifying one-way flights or earning 125,000 TQPs will earn you a Companion Pass.

Companion Passes are a popular and sought after benefit in loyalty programs as they allow you to choose one person to fly with you for just the cost of taxes and fees. The Southwest Rapid Rewards companion pass is especially valuable compared to other airlines, as it includes all flights purchased for the remainder of the year you earned the Companion Pass, and the following full calendar year.

Elite member benefits

A-List or A-List Preferred members get several new benefits on their Rapid Rewards account.

A-ListA-List Preferred
Point earning bonus25% earning bonus100% earning bonus
Free inflight Wi-FiNoYes
Priority boardingYesYes
Priority check-inYesYes
Same-day standbyYesYes
Dedicated customer service phone lineYesYes

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

Other cards that can earn Southwest Airlines points

The Chase Ultimate Rewards series allow you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to your Rapid Rewards account at a 1:1 ratio. Since they’re not specifically designed for travel, these cards can open up your earning options.

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
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
$0
This solid 1.5% cashback card gets even better with the addition of up to 5% back in categories like travel, drug stores and dining.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
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
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
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Bottom line

With a good selection of credit cards for earning points and solid redemption options, Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program can fit the needs of everyone from die-hard Southwest fliers to those who just want to cash in on a great flight opportunity. But the Southwest Companion Pass is the real end-game and well worth the effort if you often fly Southwest. Choose the credit card that best fits your travel and spending styles to start earning.

Frequently asked questions

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