The Rapid Rewards program offers members the ability to earn lots of points when flying Southwest. This includes earning points on the base fare of the ticket along with earning bonus points based on elite status and Southwest credit card usage.
Getting Started & Things To Note
Southwest Rapid Rewards Points are primarily earned flying Southwest and using credit cards. Points earned with Southwest are best used for award flights with their airline. Before you start to build your miles, you'll need to have a Southwest account and learn about ways to book your flight.
Signing Up For A Southwest Rapid Rewards Account
In order to earn Southwest Points, you will need a Rapid Rewards account. Signing up for an account is free and it only requires a few pieces of information. Below are the steps to do so.
- Head to Southwest.com.
- Click on Enroll at the top of the screen.
- Enter your personal information (name & address).
- Create a user name and come up with a strong password.
- Click Create Account.
Once you create your account, you will be given a Southwest Rapid Rewards membership number. Be sure to write this down as you will need it in the future when referencing your account.
Book Direct With Southwest
Airlines are a lot more relaxed that hotels when it comes to how you book your flight. Booking flights through some online travel agencies can still earn you miles, but it depends on the site and sometimes the type of flight booked. If you want to 100% guarantee that you'll receive your Southwest Points, I recommend booking direct. When it comes to Southwest, their fares are generally cheap anyway and they offer lots of benefits. Plus, in order to receive elite status with Southwest as well as work your way towards their Companion Pass, you'll benefit more from direct bookings.
How To Calculate Southwest Points
Southwest is not part of any major alliance and they do not have partner with any other airlines. This means you will only earn points flying Southwest Airlines. When flying, you will earn Southwest Points based on the fare purchased, your elite status tier within the Southwest Rapid Rewards program, and Southwest credit card spend.
Southwest Fare Points
Southwest Rapid Rewards members will be able to choose from three fares when booking their Southwest Flight. Those fares are:
- Wanna Get Away? Fare
- Anytime Fare
- Business Select Fare
Wanna Get Away? fares are the cheapest available and the most basic. You will receive 2 free checked bags, you will not be charged a change fee (you'll still have to pay the difference), and if you have to cancel your ticket, 100% of your ticket can be applied to future travel for up to 12 months.
The Anytime Fare is the middle ground for Southwest. It comes with the benefits of the Wanna Get Away? fare along with a few extra perks such as a 100% refundable ticket, same-day change, and same-day standby.
Business Select is of course Southwest's highest class. It offers even more benefits on top of the Anytime Fare which includes priority boarding, Fly By priority security lane, and a complimentary premium drink.
Depending on which fare you choose, you will earn a certain multiplier.
|Southwest Fare Multiplier Table|
|Wanna Get Away||6x|
Southwest Points earned on flights are based on the base cost of your flight. This is the cost before taxes/fees are added.
You'll be able to see the price per passenger price when viewing the trip and price details, but Southwest will show you how many points you will earn when choosing your flights and fares.
You can calculate the total amount of Southwest Points earned by multiplying the fare multiplier by the base cost of your ticket. So if you purchase an Anytime Fare ticket at $200 before taxes and fees, you will earn 2,000 Southwest Points (10x Anytime Fare Multiplier * $200). Below are a few examples on using the fares.
|Southwest Fare Multiplier Examples|
|Ticket Price||Fare||Points Earned|
|$120||Wanna Get Away||720 Points|
|$225||Wanna Get Away||1,350 Points|
|$120||Business Select||1,440 Points|
|$225||Business Select||2,700 Points|
Southwest Elite Status Points
Southwest members with elite status will earn a certain percentage of bonus points in addition to the base points earned on the flight. Elite status is based on the amount of Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) you earn during the calendar year. TQPs are earned from revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, Southwest's hotel, car, and ground transportation partners, and using Southwest Credit Cards. TQPs are not be confused with Southwest Points which are used for award redemptions such as free flights with Southwest.
The amount of bonus points you receive will be based on your tier in the Southwest Rapid Rewards program.
|Southwest Elite Status Qualifications|
|Tier||How To Qualify||Bonus|
|Member||Signing Up||No Bonus|
|A-List||25 One-Way Flights or 35,000 TQPs||25% Bonus|
|A-List Preferred||50 One-Way Flights or 70,000 TQPs||100% Bonus|
|Southwest Companion Pass||100 One-Way Flights or 110,000 TQPs||100% Bonus|
Bonuses earned from elite status can be applied to the multiplier exactly. So an A-List member buying an Anytime Fare ticket would receive a 25% bonus on their multiplier. This means they would earn and additional 2.5 points per $1 spent (10x multiplier * 0.25) for a total of 12.5x. The table below shows you how much each tier will earn on the base rate of tickets and provides an example for a $300 in base ticket spend across all fares.
|Southwest Elite Earning Rates Example|
|Wanna Get Away||6x Per $1||1,800 Points|
|Anytime||10x Per $1||3,000 Points|
|Business Select||12x Per $1||3,600 Points|
|Wanna Get Away||7.5x Per $1||2,250 Points|
|Anytime||12.5x Per $1||3,750 Points|
|Business Select||15x Per $1||4,500 Points|
|Wanna Get Away||12x Per $1||3,600 Points|
|Anytime||20x Per $1||6,000 Points|
|Business Select||24x Per $1||7,200 Points|
As you can see, there is a big difference in point earning between buying fares as a member versus buying fares as an elite member.
Southwest Credit Card Points
In addition to the points earn with ticket purchases and elite status, you can also earn Southwest Points using Southwest credit cards. The Southwest Performance Business Card will earn you 3 Southwest Points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases while the remaining four cards will earn you 2 points per $1 spent. All Southwest credit cards are offered by Chase and subjected to Chase's 5/24 rule.
Points earned with Southwest credit cards are added to your Rapid Rewards account after the statement has ended on your Southwest credit card(s). So take note that these points are not added to your account immediately.
When using a Southwest credit card, you will earn points on the entire Southwest ticket purchase including taxes and fee. This is because credit cards earn rewards per $1 spent and not on just a section of spend. So if your total flight costs $300 after taxes/fees, using your Southwest credit card will earn you 600 to 900 additional points depending on which card you use.
While you can generally earn more Southwest Points transferring points earned from partner credit cards, the benefit of Southwest credit cards is that you can easily earn elite status using them. Southwest's sign up bonuses will push you close (if not to) elite status and the ability to earn Tier Qualifying Points on spend will also lend a hand towards status. If you fly Southwest, I highly consider you take a look at the cards they have available. You can use our Southwest Credit Card Point Calculators to calculate how many points you can earn based on your monthly/yearly spend and to see if any are worth the annual fee.
Calculate Southwest Points
Want to calculate how many points you will earn on your next flight? You can use the Southwest Points Calculator below to estimate how many points you will earn on your next flight. If you have the base cost of your flight, you can estimate your earnings by fare purchased, elite tier, and credit card usage. The last two columns are split up by 2x and 3x Southwest credit cards. The Southwest Performance Business Card (SWP Biz) earns 3x on Southwest purchases while the remaining cards earn 2x on Southwest purchases. Do note that you'll earn credit card points on the taxes/fees which is not reflected in this calculator.
Southwest's Rapid Rewards Program is easy to understand when it comes to building points. With the ability to earn up to 27x points per $1 spent between elite status and Southwest credit cards (and even more with some partner credit cards), you will easily find yourself swimming in points and earning award flights faster.
If you're looking for more ways to earn lots of Southwest Points outside of flying and using Southwest credit cards, I recommend checking out Southwest's earning partners as well as reading up on Southwest's transfer partners.