$11 Flights and Other Advantages of Southwest Rapid Rewards
I've always been a huge fan of Southwest Airlines. From the great customer service to awesome flight deals to no baggage fees or cancellation fees, Southwest ranks at the top of my favorite U.S. based airlines. A few years ago, I decided to join Southwest's Rapid Rewards Program to start earning points on my flights. I didn't fly often, but figured that the few points I did earn per flight would be better than not earning any at all. After a few months, I started researching more about Southwest's Rapid Rewards and learned about the benefits of this rewards program. You can use your Rapid Rewards points to redeem flights and only pay the taxes..which for domestic flights total $11.20 Since I've signed up, I've traveled to San Diego, Denver, Puerto Rico and New York City on $11.20 flights!
Below are some advantages to Southwest Rapid Rewards and info on why you should sign up for this program.
Free to Join
Like other airline rewards programs, Southwest Rapid Rewards is free to join. During promotions, you may even receive 500 points just for joining and signing up to receive their newsletter.
No Change or Cancellation Fees
Most airlines now charge a ridiculous $200 fee to change or cancel your flight. With Southwest, you can change or cancel your flight at any time with no charge. When you change the flight, you only pay the difference. If your new flight costs less than what you paid, you receive the difference in the form of a flight credit. If you cancel the flight, you don't get your money back, but you can use the money to go towards your next flight. The same rule applies to your points. For example, I recently used 3,000 points for a one-way flight to Denver. The day before the flight, the price dropped and the flight was now being offered for 1,750 points. I was able to cancel my flight, get my points back, and rebook at the lower price!
Low Point Redemption
Southwest often has super low redemptions for flights using your Rapid Rewards Points. . For example: a flight using Rapid Rewards points from Dallas to Denver in February is as low as 3,448 points. That same flight using American Airlines Advantage points is 25,000 points!
Or check out this one to Mexico. This Rapid Rewards redemption is the cheapest I've ever seen! The Rapids Rewards flight is only 6,336 points! Meanwhile, the same flight using American Airlines Advantage points is 30,000 points.
No Blackout Dates
Many airlines only let you book flights with your rewards points during certain time periods. They also reserve a certain number of seats on the flight for rewards tickets. Not Southwest! As long as there are open seats, you can use your points to book travel.
Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
If you shop online, the Rapid Rewards shopping portal is a great way to earn points towards your flight without actually flying. You simply have to sign up for Rapid Rewards and then you have access to hundreds of stores where you can earn points for things you were going to buy anyway. Christmas, birthdays, weddings, back to school,...90% of my shopping is done through the portal so that I can earn points towards my flights. Each store offers a certain number of points per dollar spent. For example, Macy's may offer 3 points per dollar and Sephora may offer 2 points per dollar. The amounts may seem small, but the points add up! You can access the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal here.
Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest Companion Pass is probably the most lucrative, but sort of complicated to earn perk of the Rapid Rewards program. The Southwest Companion Pass allows a companion to fly free with you when you fly on Southwest. Yep. For FREE! Every single time you fly for as long as the pass is valid. There are so many awesome things about the Companion Pass that I had to write a separate post about the amazing benefits and ways you can earn one. Read it here!
Rapid Rewards Credit Card
In order to earn flights faster, you can apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card. The introductory offer for this card usually requires you to spend $2,000 in 3 months and you receive 50,000 bonus points. If you refer back to the section about the redemption rates, you'll see how you can easily get a few free flights with this bonus! There is a low annual fee, but you also receive 6,000 points every year on your card anniversary that offsets the fee and is often enough for a free flight. You can apply for your card here! * Make sure you use any credit card responsibly.*
If you fly Southwest but have not joined Rapid Rewards, make sure you sign up to start receiving these awesome perks!