Step-by-Step Guide: How to Redeem Rapid Rewards Points for Award Flights

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Rapid Rewards is a frequent-flyer program of Southwest Airlines. Although not the largest by fleet or the number of destinations served, Southwest carried about 1.5 million passengers in 2016, which makes it the third most popular carrier in North America.

Southwest doesn’t belong to an airline alliance, and Rapid Rewards points can be redeemed for free flights operated by Southwest only.

Southwest utilizes a revenue-based rewards program, which means the number of points earned or redeemed is based on the ticket cost in dollars. The more expensive the flight is, the more points it requires to book an award. The nice part is that there are no blackout dates, and as long as there’s an empty seat on a plane, it can be booked with points.

Below is a step-by-step guide to redeeming Rapid Rewards points.

You can log in to your Rapid Rewards account by entering your Rapid Rewards number or a username and a password. You can redeem your points for a one-way flight as well as a round-trip ticket.

Southwest recently launched daily service from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Grand Cayman, so let’s use that as our award-booking example. Enter your departure and arrival airport codes, date(s) of travel, choose the number of passengers and select “Points,” then click “Search.”

The results will bring up three types of fares: Wanna Get Away, Anytime and Business Select. Nine times out of 10, you want to select a Wanna Get Away fare, which is the lowest. If you’re flexible with travel dates, I recommend looking for the lowest fares on the Low Fare Calendar. It looks like most of July has pretty low redemption rates.

Fill out passenger information and complete the booking by entering your credit card number to cover the taxes. Southwest allows redeeming Rapid Rewards points for other people, so you can book award flights for your family members, friends and whoever else you think deserves your generosity.

Select your preferred departure date and click “Continue.” Then select your fare and continue again. Look over the itinerary you chose, make sure everything is correct and click “Continue” again.

Need more Rapid Rewards points? You’re in luck! Both personal co-branded Southwest credit cards from Chase are offering elevated welcome offers. Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card ($69 annual fee) and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card ($99 annual fee) are each offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases within three months of card membership. If you shop Southwest sales frequently, these miles can take you pretty far!

It is also possible to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a 1-to-1 radio. You can earn Ultimate Rewards points with credit cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

Anya Kartashova

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Annual Fee:
    $95 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees:
    No
  • Card Type: Bank

Apply Now
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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


First 3 months

50,000

$4,000


Travel Purchases

2.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1


Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1


Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Annual Fee:
    $95 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees:
    No
  • Card Type: Bank


Apply Now
Add to Favorites
FTG Review Reward Breakdown Points Breakdown
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


First 3 months

50,000

$4,000


Travel Purchases

2.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1


Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1


Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Apply Now

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