How Much Are Southwest Points Worth?

ByDoug Milnes, CFA

Updated: April 8, 2024

Edited byBenjamar Gabawa
Reviewed byBrett Holzhauer, CPFC
ByDoug Milnes, CFA

Updated: April 8, 2024

Edited byBenjamar Gabawa
Reviewed byBrett Holzhauer, CPFC

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

With the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program, you can maximize your spending. As a budget carrier not affiliated with any alliance, Southwest offers specific ways to earn and redeem points.

Earn points by flying with Southwest, using their co-branded credit cards, or through select travel and dining partners. Redeem these points primarily for Southwest flight tickets, which usually provide the best value.

If you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, you can also use points for gift cards, merchandise, experiences and events. Additionally, the program offers three membership tiers, with A-List and A-List Preferred members enjoying bonus points on flights and other perks.

MoneyGeek’s Takeaways

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Get 1.3 cents to 1.5 cents per Rapid Rewards point when you redeem them for flight tickets.

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Co-branded Rapid Rewards credit card members have several other ways to redeem their points.

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It’s possible to transfer points from some popular hotel loyalty programs to Southwest’s rewards program.

How Much Are Southwest Points Worth?

How much Southwest points are worth depends on your selected redemption method. When redeemed for flights, the value of Southwest points typically varies from 1.3 cents to 1.5 cents. The points you earn depends on the actual cost of a ticket and not the distance your flight covers. If you use them to book flight tickets, their value also depends on the route you wish to fly and the fare type.

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HOW TO COMPUTE SOUTHWEST POINTS VALUE

You may find out how much value you stand to receive by dividing the points you need for a free flight by the actual cost of the ticket. For instance, if a ticket that costs $230 requires 15,000 points for redemption, you get a value of around 1.53 cents per point (230/15000= $0.0153).

Ticket Cost / Equivalent Points = Points Value

How Southwest Points Compare to Other Airlines

The Southwest Rapid Rewards program offers fairly average value compared to frequent flyer programs other popular airlines offer.

Southwest vs. Other Frequent Flyer Programs
Airlines
Valuation

Southwest Rapid Rewards

1.3 cents to 1.5 cents per point

American Airlines AAdvantage

1.5 cents to 1.7 cents per mile

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

1.4 cents to 1.5 cents per mile

Jet Blue TrueBlue

1.3 cents to 1.6 cents per point

United Airlines

1.2 cents to 1.6 cents per mile

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

1.2 cents to 1.8 cents per mile

Air Canada Aeroplan

1.5 cents to 1.9 cents per mile

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

1.2 cents to 1.4 cents per mile

British Airways Avios

0.8 cents to 1.5 cents per point

Emirates Skywards

1 cent to 1.4 cents per mile

Frontier Miles

0.9 cents to 1.1 cents per mile

Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

0.9 cents to 1 cent per mile

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

1.1 cents to 1.3 cents per mile

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

1.1 cents to 1.5 cents per point

How to Earn Points From Southwest Airlines

You earn Rapid Rewards points on qualifying Southwest Airlines flights paid entirely with cash and on cash purchases of Southwest LUV Vouchers, travel funds and gift cards. You may also earn points when you spend with any of the program's partner merchants.

Sign-Up for Southwest Rapid Rewards

Joining the Southwest rewards program is relatively simple — it’s free and available online. You must enroll for an account with your first and last name, date of birth, mailing address and email address.

As a member, you earn rewards points on qualifying Southwest Airlines flights that you pay for using cash. The number of points you earn depends on how much your ticket costs and the fare type. Currently, Southwest offers four fares:

  • Wanna Get Away fare comes with 6X points per dollar.
  • Wanna Get Away+ fare will let you earn 8X points to a dollar.
  • Anytime fare comes with 10X Rapid Reward points per dollar.
  • Business Select fare comes with 12X points per dollar.

You get more than 25% earning bonus points if you’re an A-List member. A-List Preferred members earn 100% more bonus points.

Once you move up the membership ladder, you earn bonus points. Other tier-specific benefits you may enjoy include free in-flight Wi-Fi, priority boarding and same-day changes.

Earning Points Using Southwest Airlines Co-Branded Credit Cards

To earn Southwest points, you have several options, including co-branded credit cards and a transfer partner. Southwest offers multiple credit cards tailored for personal and business use. These cards come with varying annual fees and rewards structures, including points on Southwest purchases, hotel and rental car partners, and other categories like local transit, internet and cable services. Here's a quick summary of each card

In Addition, the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program allows for direct point transfers to Southwest at a 1-to-1 ratio, providing a straightforward way to convert credit card rewards into Southwest points.

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Earn Miles Through Southwest Partners and Affiliates

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program allows members to earn points by spending with its partner merchants from across categories.

  • Rapid Rewards Dining. Members earn 3X points per dollar if they opt-in for email communication. Otherwise, they can earn 1X point per $2 spent. Earning bonus points is also possible in other ways.
  • Rapid Rewards Shopping. Earn points when you use the Rapid Rewards Shopping platform to make purchases through more than 800 stores, such as Staples, Sephora and Macy's.
  • Other Shopping Partners. Earn Rapid Rewards points when you shop with partner merchants such as 1-800-Flowers.com, Laithwaites, Harry & David and Home Chef.
  • Southwest Hotel Partners. Rapid Rewards points can be earned by booking eligible stays through partner hotels such as Marriott, Hyatt, MGM, Best Western and Choice Hotels. You may also earn points when you book through Southwest Hotels and Rocketmiles. You can also convert hotel rewards points to Southwest points.
  • Southwest Vacations. Earn points when booking vacations via Southwest Vacations.
  • Car Rentals. Earn 600 points per qualifying car rental through Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Payless and Thrifty at participating locations.
  • Other. Rapid Rewards points can be earned through NRG Home, Reliant, Rewards for Opinions, e-Rewards and Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+).

Buying Points From Southwest Airlines

You may buy Southwest Airlines points by logging into your Rapid Rewards account. You must purchase at least 2,000 points and may purchase at most 60,000 points daily. Buying 2,000 points costs $60. This means you pay 3 cents per point, considerably less than the average value you receive when redeeming them.

Watch out for special deals that offer bigger discounts. Buying points at regular prices is not always a great deal, but grabbing them during a sale can be smart, especially if you need more than the points you need for your next flight.

Transfer Points to Southwest Rapid Rewards

Transferring points from various rewards programs to the Southwest Rapid Rewards program is possible. The transfer rate varies from one partner to the next.

  • World of Hyatt: Get 2,400 Rapid Rewards points for 5,000 World of Hyatt points or 24,000 Rapid Rewards points for 50,000 World of Hyatt points.
  • Marriott Bonvoy: Get 3,000 Rapid Rewards points for 9,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or 10,000 Rapid Rewards points for 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
  • Best Western Rewards: Get 1,200 Rapid Rewards points for 5,000 Best Western Rewards points.
  • Radisson Rewards Americas: Get 200 Rapid Rewards points for 2,000 Radisson Rewards points or 5,000 Rapid Rewards points for 50,000 Radisson Rewards points.
  • Choice Privileges: Get 1,800 Rapid Rewards points for 6,000 Choice Privileges points.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: Get 1,000 Rapid Rewards points for 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Diners Club: Get 1,200 Rapid Rewards Points for 1,500 Diners Club Rewards points.

Given the poor transfer ratios in most cases, transferring points from other rewards programs to the Rapid Rewards program might not be in your best interest unless you see no use for them in the programs to which they belong. For example, you might be better off booking a Southwest flight through the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform instead of transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to the Rapid Rewards program and then using them for a Southwest flight.

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WANT MORE FROM YOUR TRAVELS?

If you're looking for rewards beyond Southwest, check out our list of the Best Airline Credit Cards. We also ranked the Best Travel Credit Cards to help you find cards that offer rewards on travel-related perks and rewards.

How to Redeem Rapid Rewards

If you're wondering how to use Rapid Rewards points, know that you can easily redeem them for flight tickets. However, since Southwest Airlines is not a part of any alliance and does not have any airline partners, you are limited to using your points for flying with Southwest. Co-branded Rapid Rewards credit cardholders may redeem them for other rewards too.

Log in to your Rapid Rewards account to book airline tickets. Then, look for flights based on your travel dates and fares. View how much different alternatives cost in points and make a selection. Remember that you'll need to pay fees and taxes in cash.

If you have a co-branded Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card, you may redeem your points through the More Rewards platform for international flights with global airlines, rental cars, hotel stays, events and more.

  • Gift cards: Get gift cards from popular names like Apple, Best Buy, Lowe's and Target. When redeeming your points for gift cards, you may expect to get a value of 0.25 cents to 0.65 cents per point.
  • Merchandise: Choose from an array of merchandise through various categories. In this case, you may expect a value of 0.2 cents to 0.7 cents per point.
  • Experiences: Purchase experiences, such as cruises, biking, rafting, spa packages and jeep tours. These offer below-average value, too.

When Best to Redeem Southwest Points

Southwest does not have a fixed redemption chart. The number of points you require to book a flight ticket depends on its actual cash price. As a result, booking a ticket when prices are low will require fewer points.

Using your points to purchase flight tickets during Southwest sales might work well because there’s a direct link between the number of points you need and actual ticket prices. In addition, Southwest Airlines doesn’t have any cancellation fees, so you can re-book your ticket if prices drop.

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EXPERT TIP

"Southwest Airlines is an excellent value for American travelers who mainly fly within the U.S. However, it’s just as important to spend your miles as you would spend your cash — strategically.

Additionally, don’t use your miles for low-value redemptions like magazine subscriptions or merchandise. Your miles are best saved for flights."

Brett Holzhauer, contributing expert for MoneyGeek

How to Get the Southwest Rapid Rewards A-List Status

Once you join the Rapid Rewards program, you start at base-level membership. You can increase your tier level — A-List, A-List Preferred or Companion Pass — by earning points with purchases and flights.

Getting to the Southwest Rapid Rewards A-List status requires taking 25 qualifying one-way flights or earning 35,000 TQPs during a calendar year. You may achieve A-List Preferred status by taking 50 qualifying one-way flights or earning 70,000 TQPs during a calendar year. Both membership levels let you earn bonus points, and you get access to other benefits as well.

1
A-List

You earn 25% bonus points on all qualifying flights. Other benefits include priority boarding, priority and express lanes, same-day changes, same-day standby, and a dedicated phone line for customer support.

2
A-List Preferred

This tier offers all the benefits that you receive as an A-List member. In addition, you earn 100% bonus points instead of 25% and free access to in-flight Wi-Fi.

3
Companion Pass

Qualifying for a Companion Pass allows you to earn up to double the value of your Rapid Rewards points. This is because once you receive a companion pass, you may get another person to travel with you for free (not including fees and taxes) when you redeem your points for a flight ticket.

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HOW WE DETERMINED THE VALUE OF SOUTHWEST POINTS

MoneyGeek experts have accounted for how the worth of Southwest Rapid Rewards points changes depending on different redemption methods to arrive at their average value. They have also analyzed the market closely.

FAQ: How Much Are Southwest Points Worth?

Learn more about Southwest points to dollars value to determine which redemption method might work best for you through these commonly asked questions.

Can I use my Rapid Rewards points for someone else?
Can I transfer my Rapid Rewards points to a different rewards program?
Can I convert my Southwest Rapid Rewards points to dollars?
How many Southwest points do I need to get free flights?
Is it worth buying Rapid Reward points?
Can I use my points to buy $49, $69 and other low-fare flights?

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


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