How Much Are Southwest Points Worth?

Southwest points' value varies from 1.3 cents to 1.5 cents. In most cases, you get better value when redeeming your points for short flights and affordable fares instead of longer flights or more expensive fares.

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The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program gives passengers the means to capitalize on spending. However, remember that Southwest is a budget carrier and isn’t part of any alliance. This limits how you can earn and use reward points.

You can earn Rapid Rewards points when you fly with Southwest Airlines, using co-branded Southwest Airlines credit cards and spending through its travel and dining partners. You can redeem your points by booking Southwest Airlines flight tickets. Members with co-branded Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards may also use their points to pay for gift cards, merchandise, experiences and events.

Redeeming Southwest Airlines points for flight tickets tends to offer the best value. This rewards program comes with three membership tiers. A-List and A-List Preferred members receive bonus points on qualifying flights, among other benefits.

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

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HOW TO COMPUTE SOUTHWEST POINTS VALUE

Ticket Cost / Equivalent Points = Points Value

How Southwest Points Compare to Other Airlines

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

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 Many Southwest Points to Get Free Flights?

How many points you need for a free flight on Southwest depends on the route, the date you wish to fly and the desired fare type. For example, a Wanna Get Away fare from New York to Chicago during the first week of February 2023 would require around 5,500 points plus $5.60 in fees and taxes. For a Business Select seat on the same flight, you’ll need to use about 15,000 points plus $5.60.

If you opt for a Wanna Get Away fare from New York to Cancun, Mexico, you may get a ticket for as little as around 13,500 points plus $37.46. On the other hand, a Business Select fare could require upward of 47,000 points plus $37.46.

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 will need to 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. For example, a Wanna Get Away fare comes with 6X points per dollar, and you get 12X points per dollar on Southwest Business Select fares.

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

Chase provides co-branded Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards for individuals and businesses. The cards offer spend-based welcome bonuses that let you earn points faster. They also offer bonus points through category-based spending.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card tops the list for earning points on Southwest purchases by offering 4X points per dollar. Depending on which card you get, you may also earn bonus points on each account anniversary.

Southwest Co-Branded Credit Cards at a Glance

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card comes with a $69 annual fee. New cardholders also earn bonus points by meeting a spend-based requirement. Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card offers additional member benefits.

  • 2X points per dollar on Rapid Rewards purchases, including car rental and hotel partners, local commuting and transit and phone, cable, internet and some streaming services
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Receive 3,000 bonus points every account anniversary
  • Check two bags for free
  • Pay for Southwest in-flight purchases and receive 25% back
  • Two EarlyBird check-ins per year

It’s important to note that using this card outside of the U.S. will incur a foreign transaction fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card charges a $149 annual fee. Meeting a spend-based requirement allows you to earn bonus points as part of an ongoing welcome offer. Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card members can earn various other benefits.

  • 3X points per dollar on Southwest purchases
  • 2X points per dollar on Rapid Rewards purchases, including car rental and hotel partners, local commuting and transit and phone, cable, internet and some streaming services
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Receive 7,500 bonus points every account anniversary
  • Get 25% back when you use this card to make Southwest in-flight purchases
  • Two free checked bags
  • $75 annual travel credit toward Southwest purchases
  • Four availability-based upgraded boardings each year
  • Earn an unlimited number of tier qualifying points (TQPs)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Getting the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card requires a $99 annual fee. Like other Southwest credit cards, this comes with a spend-based welcome bonus. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card offers additional member benefits.

  • 3X points per dollar for Southwest purchases
  • 2X points per dollar on Rapid Rewards purchases, including car rental and hotel partners, local commuting and transit, and phone, cable, internet and some streaming services
  • 1X points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 6,000 bonus points on each account anniversary
  • 25% back for Southwest in-flight purchases
  • Two bags checked for free on Southwest flights
  • Two EarlyBird check-ins
  • Unlimited TQPs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card charges a $199 annual fee. New cardholders may earn bonus points by meeting a spend-based requirement. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card offers members various other benefits.

  • 4X points per dollar for Southwest purchases
  • 3X points per dollar on Rapid Rewards purchases, including car rental and hotel partners, local commuting and transit and phone, cable, internet services and social media search advertising
  • 1X points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 9,000 bonus points after every account anniversary
  • Four availability-based upgraded boardings each year
  • Up to 365 Southwest in-flight Wi-Fi credits each year
  • $100 fee credit every four years for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • Earn unlimited TQPs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card comes with a $99 annual fee. You may earn bonus points by meeting the card's spend-based welcome offer requirement. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card offers its members various benefits.

  • 3X points per dollar for Southwest purchases
  • 2X points per dollar on Rapid Rewards purchases, including car rental and hotel, local commuting and transit
  • 1X points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 6,000 bonus points after each account anniversary
  • 25% back on Southwest in-flight purchases
  • Two EarlyBird check-ins every year
  • Unlimited TQPs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Earn Miles Through Southwest Partners and Affiliates

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

Earn Rapid Rewards Points Through Partner Merchants
  • Partners
    How to Earn Rapid Rewards Points
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Rapid Rewards points can be earned by booking eligible stays at partner hotels such as Marriott, Hyatt, MGM, Best Western, Radisson and Choice Hotels. You may also earn points when you book through Southwest Hotels and Rocketmiles.

    Hotel rewards programs that let you convert points to Southwest points include World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, Best Western Rewards, Radisson Rewards Americas and Choice Privileges.

  • Earn points when booking vacations via Southwest Vacations. You can earn 10,000 more points when you stay at AMR Collection resorts.

  • Earn 600 points per qualifying car rental through Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Payless and Thrifty at participating locations.

  • Earn 1X points per dollar at participating Marathon gas stations by enrolling in the MakeItCount Rewards program. Eligible in-store purchases earn points too. MakeItCount members also get 10 cents off per gallon on their first four visits, followed by 5 cents off per gallon.

  • Other

    Rapid Rewards points can be earned through NRG Home, Reliant, Rewards for Opinions, e-Rewards and Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+). For example, if you remain an active NRG Home customer for two months, you get to earn an enrollment bonus of 10,000 points.

    You also get 2X points per dollar on your energy bill’s supply portion.

Buying Points From Southwest Airlines

You may buy Southwest Airlines points by logging into your Rapid Rewards account. You would need to purchase at least 2,000 points and may purchase no more than 60,000 points daily. Buying 2,000 costs $60. This means you pay 3 cents per point, considerably less than the average value you receive when redeeming them.

The cost of each point decreases a bit if you buy a larger number of points. For example, if you buy 5,000 points, you end up paying 2.75 cents per point. However, this is as good as it gets if you purchase points without promotional offers.

The Rapid Rewards program runs promotional offers from time to time, letting members buy points at discounted prices. During such offers, you may look forward to savings of up to 40%, although this is not always the case.

Buying points during non-promotional periods might not make sense, given that you need to pay 2.75 cents to 3 cents per point. However, if the cost per point drops to 2 cents or less through a promotional offer, buying them might be worth your while if you wish to top up your existing points balance to redeem for your next flight.

Transfer Points to Southwest Rapid Rewards

It's possible to transfer points from various rewards programs to the Southwest Rapid Rewards program. 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.

How to Redeem Rapid Rewards

If you're wondering how to use Rapid Rewards points, know that you may redeem them for flight tickets rather easily. However, since Southwest Airlines is not a part of any alliance and it 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 such as 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.
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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

Unlike other popular airlines such as Delta, United and American Airlines, Southwest is not a part of an alliance and doesn’t have airline partners. So, you may want to consider alternatives if you prefer flying with other airlines, domestic or international.

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.

Consider this example. A Wanna Get Away fare from New York to Los Angeles in the first week of February 2023 would require 9,604 points plus $5.60. The cash price of this ticket is $148. So, you part with 9,604 points to cover $142.40, which fetches you a value of around 1.48 cents per point.

A Business Select fare on the same flight would need 19,641 points plus $5.60, the cash price of which is $278. In this case, you get a value of around 1.39 cents per point.

If you were to fly the same route in December 2022, you would need $383 (or 27,748 points plus $5.60) for a Wanna Get Away fare and $513 (or 37,785 points plus $5.60) for a Business Select ticket.

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.

For example, you may get a Companion Pass if you take 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 125,000 Companion Pass qualifying points during 2022. From 2023, you’ll need to earn 135,000 Companion Pass qualifying points, although the number of flights will remain the same. A Companion Pass remains valid through the course of the year in which you earn it as well as the following calendar year.

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.

Other Questions You May Have About Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

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

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