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Southwest has long been a traveler favorite for its fare sales, lack of change and cancellation fees and two free checked bags policy. To make the most of Southwest flights, you’ll want to join the Rapid Rewards program. Earn points with each flight to redeem for flights anywhere Southwest travels.
» Learn more: Southwest Rapid Rewards program: The complete guide
Earning with flights
For each Southwest flight you take, you’ll earn points based on the fare type and the cost. For Wanna Get Away fares, you’ll earn 6 points per $1 spent. For Business Select, you’ll earn twice that.
These multipliers increase as you earn elite status with Southwest. As an A-List member, you’ll earn 7.5 points per $1 for Wanna Get Away fares. A-List Preferred elites earn 12 points per $1 on these fares. Below is a breakdown of Southwest Rapid Rewards point earnings by fare and elite level:
Co-branded reward-earning credit cards galore
In addition to earning with your travel, true Southwest devotees will want to look into one of the co-branded credit card options and their accompanying welcome and annual bonuses.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
With a $69 annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers unlimited point-earning potential. Cardholders earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Every year, on your card member anniversary, you’ll also receive 3,000 bonus points.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has a $99 annual fee. The card also offers 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines and 1 point per $1 on everyday purchases. Cardholders earn 6,000 points every year on their card member anniversary.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card comes with a higher annual fee of $149. The point-earning rate is the same: 2 points per $1 on Southwest and 1 point per $1 on everyday purchases. You’ll earn more points with 7,500 points every year on your card anniversary.
This card comes with travel perks, such as four upgraded boardings per year, a $75 Southwest travel credit and 20% rebate on in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi purchased with this card. Considering the extra perks and the fact that the $75 Southwest travel credit brings the annual fee down to $74, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card seems like a no-brainer decision if you fly Southwest at least once per year.
» Learn more: Southwest Priority Card review: Pay more, get more
In addition to earning points on flights and with branded credit cards, you can earn Rapid Rewards points through a number of other partnerships. These include hotels, rental cars, shopping and dining partners and more. These opportunities range from receiving an additional 600 points for Avis car rentals to earning Rapid Rewards on hotel stays with select hotel partners.
In some geographic areas, you can earn Rapid Rewards through your electricity provider or your home security company. For example, you can earn bonus points with SimpliSafe, medical-related Emergency Assistance Plus and various online survey partners. On your road trips, earn 1 Rapid Rewards point per gallon of fuel purchased at Marathon gas stations.
In addition to an online shopping portal, retail points-earning opportunities include 1-800-Flowers, Harry & David, and Laithwaites wine delivery. You will likely not earn enough Rapid Rewards for a free flight with flowers and gourmet pears, but if you’re purchasing these items anyway, it might be worth it to spend a couple of extra seconds to click through the portal and earn some extra Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
Rapid Rewards Dining
Foodies will love the welcome bonus through Rapid Rewards Dining. As a Rapid Rewards Dining member, you can earn 3 points per $1 spent at participating restaurants. For a limited time, you can earn 1,000 bonus points simply by joining the Rapid Rewards Dining program, eating at a participating location within 30 days of joining and completing an online review.
Rapid Rewards Dining also includes a number of continued bonus point opportunities. For example, you will receive 500 bonus points after earning your first 1,500 points. Then, you’ll earn a 300-point bonus every time you earn 1,000 points. Finally, you’ll earn 10 points for every post-dining review.
Once you’ve earned all those Southwest Rapid Rewards, check out our guide for the best ways to spend them.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:
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