Southwest Airlines is well-known in the travel community as a low-cost carrier with free checked bags. This allow their company to grab a lot of travelers attention. Their Rapid Rewards Program also make a good impression of their consumers with their lack of blackout dates on award redemptions and Companion Pass benefit.
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If you are a new member to Southwest, or to the points and miles world, then we are here to help. Read below to learn more about important redemption details and the best ways to use your Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Redemption Quick Facts
|Best Redemptions||Southwest flights|
|Point Valuation||$0.015 per point|
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
In addition, you'll earn 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary each year.
• Earn 3X points on Southwest purchases.
• Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
• Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
You're able to redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events and more.
This card does carry a $99 annual fee, but there are no foreign transaction fee.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Important Redemption Details
Before we inform you on the many beneficial ways to use your Rapid Rewards points, let us review some important redemption details:
Free award ticket changes and cancellations
- One of Southwest’s best features is its flexible change and cancellation policies.
- There are no fees to change your Southwest award flight. All you have to pay is the points difference.
- If the cost of an award flight goes down, you can cancel your original ticket, rebook your award at the lower rate and receive a points refund.
- You can also flat-out cancel your flight, for any reason, without penalty.
No blackout dates
- You can use your Rapid Rewards points to book any Southwest ticket for sale.
- If the flight has one open seat left, it is yours via cash or points.
Lack of partners
- One of the things we dislike about Rapid Rewards is its lack of domestic and international airline partners.
- Therefore, you limited to Southwest award flights, including from the United States to Central America and the Caribbean.
- However, if you want to travel to Europe, Asia, South America or Africa on Southwest points, you do not have any really good options that are currently available.
Taxes and fees
- You will have to pay taxes and fees of at least $5.60 per one-way award trip.
- The exact amount depends on your arrival and departure destination.
Similar to the JetBlue TrueBlue program, Southwest prices its awards based on how much the ticket is in cash. Therefore, more a paid flight costs, the more points it costs. As we mentioned before, there are no blackout dates.
Best Ways To Redeem With Southwest
Learn more about our favorite ways to use Rapid Rewards points below:
We recommend redeeming only for Wanna Get Away fares, as opposed to Anytime and Business Select fares. This is because their redemption value tends to be higher. Expect to get $0.015 per point or more with Wanna Get Away awards.
This holds true not only for domestic flights, but for Central American and Caribbean destinations as well. Including:
- Belize City
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- Grand Cayman
- Puerto Rico
- Turks and Caicos
Prices do increase as the cheapest fares are booked, so the cost of an award will also increase as Wanna Get Away tickets sell out. Therefore, if you want the best deals to popular destinations, you should book your flight as soon as Southwest opens up their schedule.
If your plans change, it is not a big deal to change or cancel your award ticket. As we mentioned before, Southwest lets you do either for free.
Southwest has regular fare sales that you can book using Rapid Rewards points.
If a flight you already booked drops in price during a sale, cancel it and rebook at the lower price.
There are no penalty to change or cancel an award ticket.
- Southwest has a very generous policy when traveling with an infant less than two years old. On all domestic flights, you’re allowed one lap infant for free with each adult (12+ years old).
- Because Southwest doesn’t assign seats, you have a good chance of scoring an empty seat next to yours which the baby could use.
- On Southwest’s international flights, you can also bring a lap infant.
- You will have to pay the cost of taxes and fees for the international segment.
- That is still a great deal considering other carriers charge at least 10% of the adult fare, even on award flights.
- To qualify, you will need to bring some sort of identification for the baby – a birth certificate or passport – to prove the child’s age.
The Southwest Companion Pass is the most generous feature of any frequent flyer program.
It lets you bring along a travel companion on any paid or award Southwest flight for just the cost of taxes and fees. The Companion Pass essentially doubles the value of your Rapid Rewards points.
However, it is pretty hard to earn the Companion Pass benefit.
- You either have to earn 125,000 qualifying points or complete 100 one-way Southwest flights in one calendar year.
Once you earn it, the Companion Pass is valid for the rest of the year until the end of the following calendar year.
Southwest Rapid Rewards is a solid and popular frequent flyer program if you are looking for the flexibility to book any available ticket on an extensive domestic network. You will also enjoy two free checked bags and fee-free changes on all award tickets.
There are not a lot of ways to stretch your Southwest points. But after reading this post, hopefully, you learned and know where to look.