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Rapid Rewards is a rewards program from Southwest Airlines that is available on several cards, including the aptly named Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card. The main ways to earn points are by using your card, flying on Southwest flights, and making purchases from their partners. They have some decent partners, including a long list of hotels (but a pretty shabby list of “retail” partners). Most Rapid Rewards users miss out on a lot of points by not paying attention, but if you watch out for Rapid Rewards partners, you can earn a lot of extra points.
Using Your Southwest Airlines Credit Card
This is the most basic of all ways to rack up credit card rewards points. With your Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, you will receive 1 point per dollar on all regular purchases. If this is your only credit card, it makes sense to make most of your purchases using this card and just pay off the balance every month, but if you have other rewards cards that earn more than 1% cash back, you may want to save this card for purchasing plane tickets and using at Rapid Rewards partners.
To earn Rapid Rewards points, the person whose name is on the card must be on the flight. If your name is on the card, you can’t purchase a ticket for your friend and receive points for his/her flight. Even if you accompany your friend, you can only receive rewards for your ticket. You also must provide your rewards number when you book the flight or when you check in, and you must finish the flight to get points. If you don’t fly your whole ticket, make sure to get a refund or use it toward part of another ticket.
Maximizing Point Value With Rapid Rewards Partners
Using Southwest’s Rapid Rewards partners is one of the best ways to get points, since you get points for purchases you already would have made. The only catch is that you have to request the points, and many people don’t think to do that. To be a savvy Rapid Rewards customer, keep track of what retailers Rapid Rewards is partnered with and request your points at the time of purchase. You will need to provide your Rapid Rewards account number.
If you’re a frequent flier, you probably stay at hotels a lot. Rapid Rewards has tons of hotel partners, many of them well-known chains that everyone has heard of. If you can find one at your intended destination, you can earn double points. Here are some of the Rapid Rewards hotel partners:
- Wyndham (Ramada, Super 8, Days Inn)
- Hilton (Hampton, Waldorf Astoria)
- Choice (Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites)
- Many more
Frequent fliers also need to rent cars sometimes, and Rapid Rewards offers double points on car rentals too. It’s not too hard to get those points, as they are partnered with companies that you probably already use. Here are the Rapid Rewards rental car partners:
- Dollar Rent A Car
Did you stay at one of these hotel partners or rent from one of these rental companies recently? It’s not too late to get your points. You can get rewards points after the fact by mailing your rental agreement and account number to the rental company, or by calling the hotel and providing your name, the hotel you stayed at, dates of your stay, and your account number. You can find the addresses to the rental companies here and hotel contact information here.
The final way to earn extra points that doesn’t require staying at hotels or renting cars is by joining Rapid Reward’s dining program. This program is great because you can receive 3 points per dollar at participating restaurants and bars. Check out what restaurants qualify near you and sign up for the program at www.rapidrewardsdining.com/.
As long as you are a member of this dining program, you don’t have to request your rewards at the time of purchase; they will be automatically applied as long as you use your card. Make sure to spend at least $25 at a participating restaurant and complete a restaurant review within 60 days of enrollment for an extra 300 points.
Rapid Rewards also boasts a “Retail” section, but this only includes two items: a website where you take surveys to earn points, and www.teleflora.com, where you can purchase flowers. Maybe useful for some, but this section is not nearly as impressive as the other partner categories.
Other Ways to Maximize Your Points
Although you may think 1 point per dollar is 1% cash back, it isn’t always. Some rewards programs are terrible about this, only offering a few rewards that give you a penny for each point. Southwest’s is actually pretty good. As long as you are redeeming at least 5,000 points, you can usually get a penny per point with gift cards.
Southwest’s Wanna Get Away flights are a great way to redeem points, too. They have limited availability, but you can get more than a penny per point with these flights, so if you find the date and time you need, snatch these tickets up.
Every now and then, check the Rapid Rewards promotions page for special deals. You can find great offers for extra points and % off gift cards, car rentals, hotel stays, and flights. If you check it right before you travel, you may be able to find a deal that will help you save some money on your trip, or at least earn you some extra points towards your next vacation. Happy travels!
- Credit RequiredExcellent Credit
- Rewards ProgramEarn unlimited Free Flights - 2 Points per $1 Spent on Southwest Purchases and 1 Point per $1 Spent on everything else.
- Signup BonusTwo Free Flightsafter your first purchase.