If you fly regularly, or even infrequently on Southwest Airlines, it makes sense to understand and enroll in Southwest Rapid Rewards program.
Understanding the Southwest Rapid Rewards Program
The Southwest Rapid Rewards program at the very basic level is a revenue-based program. Because of that, reward space is pretty much unlimited, as long as you have enough miles. Southwest has no black out dates, and your points don’t expire as long as you have some level of activity every 2 years. Essentially, even if you fly once a year on Southwest, your points are good.
Really, Southwest is a great value for folks that fly anywhere from infrequently to frequently.
The value of Rapid Rewards Points
Because the Southwest Rapid Rewards program is a revenue-based program, you earn and redeem points based on the fare you buy. There is a multiplier, so its not a 1-for-1 calculation.
For earning, you can see the multiplier based on the type of fare you buy:
The redemption rate is a bit more complicated. I think the “floor” is somewhere in the 1.47 cent range, however on this example of Washington-Dulles to Orlando, the value per point is significantly higher:
The Golden Southwest Ticket
There are a few really awesome aspects of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. First is A-List status, which you can earn after 25 one-way flights or 35,000 qualifying points, the benefits aren’t amazing, but for so little flying, they are pretty good.
Next is A-List Preferred, which notably provides free in-flight wi-fi, which can be an important perk for regular fliers.
The real benefit though, if you fly or otherwise generate 110,00 qualifying rapid rewards points, is the Companion Pass. I will note, earning rapid rewards points via shopping portals still counts toward the companion pass. In fact, this is how I first earned my companion pass.
Its an amazing benefit, really, where you get the companion pass for the year earned, as well as the entire following year. What this means, is that you can nominate a companion–and you can change that companion a couple times each year–who flies free whenever you fly, only paying the September 11th fee of $5.60 per one-way. It is important to mention that the revenue flyer can even burn Southwest points, so effectively 2 people can fly for very little out of pocket.
Overall, Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program is a really great program. It doesn’t have the greatest elite status recognition, with respect to upgraded seats, since, well, Southwest flies only economy class 737’s. But, if you can look past the lack of First Class, I think the Rapid Rewards Program is a true winner. I regularly fly Southwest on sub-3 hour flights, and find the free In Flight Entertainment via Dish Network. When you consider the value you can get from redeeming Rapid Rewards Points, it seems like a no brainer.
Are you a fan of Southwest?