Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card – 2 Free Flights

January 19, 2011

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Card

The Southwest airlines credit card is one of the highlights of the new Rapid Rewards program from Southwest. I flew Southwest this week and learned that the new Rapid Rewards program will be based on points instead of miles and the Southwest rewards card offers ways, other than flying, to earn those points.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

Apparently one of the benefits of Southwest using a rewards points system is that it’ll be easier for the rewards program to add more partners into its network.  The points make it simpler than the system of credits to work with partners to offer travel rewards.

While there’s been a mixed reaction to the new rewards program, the ability to earn more points with the Southwest card has been one of the areas that Southwest customers are most pleased with.  You earn two points for every dollar spent on Southwest tickets or with Southwest Rapid Rewards partners.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Partners

The primary Rapid Rewards partners right now are the hotel chains and car rental companies below:

  • Rental Cars (Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Thrifty)
  • Hotels – Best Western, Hilton Honors, Hyatt, La Quinta, Marriott, Starwood Preferred Guest, Wyndham, Choice Hotels International

These partners all earn double points and you’ll also earn an additional 600 points per stay at Rapid Rewards hotel partners.  Some of these hotels, like Marriott and Starwood, have their own rewards cards but people that fly Southwest frequently will likely prefer the Southwest rewards.

One of the changes in the new Southwest rewards program is that points don’t expire like they used to.  As long as you fly every 2 years or use one of these partners every 2 years your rewards points don’t expire. 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining

You can also earn rewards in the rapid rewards dining program.  To participate in dining rewards program you register your card on the Rapid Rewards Dining site and earn points when you eat out at restaurants or bars in the dining rewards network.  You can search for local restaurants by zip or address on their site. 

The card you register doesn’t actually have to be the Southwest credit card; it can be any American Express, Discover, MasterCard, VISA credit card or even a debit card. Once you’ve accumulated enough points in your rewards dining account they transfer it over to your rapid rewards account.

Southwest Credit Card

If you do use the Southwest credit card from Chase then you’ll get an additional point per dollar spent.  Earning one point for each dollar you spend is the standard rewards rate for purchases not made from Southwest partners.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Bonus

The Southwest Rapid Rewards card does have an annual fee ($69 Signature/ $99   Premier ) but you get 2 free flights when you sign up for the card and use it the first time. 

I stopped by the signup booth to check out the card features on our return flight. I was able to ask a bunch of questions about the card and Rapid Rewards program but then our flight started to board so then all I had time for was this picture of the Southwest counter. 

It’s probably easier to just check it out on the web anyhow. To read more about the details of the rewards and the card – check it out here.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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