What are Southwest Rapid Rewards Points Worth?

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How much are Southwest Rapid Rewards Points worth? You can currently redeem Southwest points at a value of 1.43 cents per point for Wanna Get Away fare.

In a nutshell:

  • Value: 1.43 cents per point
  • Expiration: 24 months of earning inactivity

We value Southwest points at 1.43 cents each. We’ll break down the best (and worst) ways to earn Southwest Points, as well as list a few ways to earn.

What are Southwest Points worth?

Category Redemption Option Points per $1 Cents per Point Rating
Flights Wanna Get Away fare 70 1.43 Good
Anytime 100 1.00 Standard
Business 120 0.83 Standard
AirTran credits 1,200 for 1 credit Depends Depends
International travel 100 1.00 Standard
Other travel Hotels 100 1.00 Standard
Car rentals 100 1.00 Standard
Other Gift cards 100 1.00 Standard
Merchandise Varies Less than 1.00 Bad

Redeem for airfare

Your best bet is to redeem for Wanna Get Away fare at a value of 1.43 cents per point. Non-Southwest options include switching your Rapid Rewards Points to AirTran A+ credits at a rate of 1,200 points to 1 A+ credit (you need 16 credits for a roundtrip award flight) and using your points to book international travel through Chase’s Kayak-like booking tool. We’ve found that the prices on the tool pretty much align with Kayak’s, so you aren’t getting screwed over there.

Redeem for hotels or rental cars

You can also redeem for hotel or rental car bookings, again through Chase’s Kayak-like tool at a rate of one cent per point. 

Redeem for gift cards

Surprisingly, you can get a good value redeeming Southwest points for gift cards. If you save up and cash in 5,000 points, you can get a $50 gift card to Amazon, Express, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Zappos and more. This yields a value of one cent per point. Redeeming 3,000 points typically nets you a $25 gift card, or just 0.83 cents per point. Still, contrast this with the love-to-hate Citi ThankYou Points: If you want full value, you have to save up 10,000 points.

Redeeming for merchandise or experiences

While redemption values vary, you’re usually best off avoiding using points to buy merch. Instead, get a gift card to a store selling whatever you want, and purchase that way.

Best ways to earn Southwest points

Other than flying the airline, obviously, you can quickly rack up Southwest points with the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. It earns 2 points per $1 on the airline and its partners, and one point per $1 elsewhere. It also comes with a signup bonus to get things started: Get 25,000 points for 1 Roundtrip Flight after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $12 not included.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now

on Chase's
secure website

starstarstarstarhalfstar
  • Get 25,000 points for 1 Roundtrip Flight after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $12 not included.
  • Get 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and AirTran® Airways purchases made directly with the airlines and on Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Redeem points for gift cards, car rentals, cruises, hotel stays, and international flights to over 800 Destinations on 50+ global carriers.
  • No foreign transaction fees
thumbsupPros
  • High rewards rate
  • No foreign transaction fee
thumbsdownCons
  • Has annual fee
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$99 Get 25,000 points for 1 Roundtrip Flight after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $12 not included. 15.99% (Variable) Purchase: None
Transfer: None

You can also earn rewards faster with:

  • Southwest’s hotel and rental car partners, including Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood and Best Western; as well as Alamo, Avis and Budget
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping, an online mall that lets you earn extra points just by clicking through on your way to a retailer’s website
  • The Rapid Rewards Dining Program, where you earn 3 points per $1 with participating restaurants
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  • Trish

    I don’t think you can redeem your points on anything other than airfare if you don’t have their credit card. :/

  • Matt Romero

    I just got the rapid rewards card and want to earn the companion pass. Is buying business class and then redeeming them on wanna get away fares the best way to maximize the point system? Verses buying wanna get away and redeeming wanna get away.

  • joeboosauce

    Hi Anisha, thanks for this great info! I don’t see the date of this article so just want to know if the above info is current as I was told by another cardholder that SW changed their conversion rate a few months ago.

  • sfosri123

    I was looking at a round trip fare from Sacramento to Las Vegas. The wanna getaway fare was around 250 for a round trip and needed 15000 points. This gives you almost a 1.7 cents per miles. One of the best ways to use your points is to use the Chase Sapphire card since you can book a ticket using your points on any airline (sadly Southwest excluded) or transfer your points to Southwest and use them. Using points on the anytime fares on southwest is not a good value.

  • Pat Smith

    If anybody is interested..
    I
    have an offer from Southwest for the Plus Credit Card. You will get 50000 bonus
    points. The annual fee is $69.00. There is no blackout dates and you can use
    the points to book someone else a flight if you want. This offer is good till
    Sept 30, 2014. Please email me at
    patomaha@yahoo.com
    and I will email you the
    offer. 50k is good for two round trip tickets to most places.

  • Bill

    Another way to generat points it to pay your Gas and Electric, Cell Phone and Cable Bills with the Card each month on Auto Pay. Then just remember to pay your card off each month.

  • iamright

    The quoted value shown above for Wanna Get Away fares is incorrect. Southwest applies this factor against the ‘fare’ – however the total expense is ‘fare’ plus taxes. By reducing the ‘fare’ the tax portion which is a proportion of the fare is also reduced. I did some sample calculations from the website and saw that the actual ratio is about 1.7.