What Is the Value of Southwest Rapid Rewards Points?

Since the program doesn't have an award chart, Southwest points are worth about the same redemption to redemption.
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Nerdy takeaways
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth about 1.5 cents each.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth more than United Airlines and Alaska Airlines miles.

  • Since there is no award chart, the value of Rapid Rewards points is pegged to a specific cash amount.

Nerdy takeaways
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth about 1.5 cents each.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth more than United Airlines and Alaska Airlines miles.

  • Since there is no award chart, the value of Rapid Rewards points is pegged to a specific cash amount.

Southwest Airlines has some of the most dedicated fans in the airline business. If you’re one of them and you’re sitting on a bunch of hard-earned Rapid Rewards points, you might be wondering how much those points are worth.

Based on our analysis, the short answer is this: the Southwest points value is about 1.5 cents each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data (see below) on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1.5 cents or more in value from your Southwest points.

What does the Southwest points value mean?

Our value of 1.5 cents per Southwest point is an average, baseline value that can help determine whether a given redemption is "worth it." The value is based on real-world data (see below) and is effectively what you can expect to get from your Rapids Rewards points if you use them for a random redemption.

The value of Southwest is relatively constant. Since there is no award chart, the value of Rapid Rewards points is pegged to a specific cash amount. If the price of a flight increases, the number of points needed to book it will increase accordingly. Southwest offers few “sweet spots.”

Also, the airline’s points can’t be used to book with partner airlines. For most people, this makes it easy to decide to book flights with points because you'll get essentially the same value for your points every time.

Southwest points to dollars (Calculator)

Use this Southwest points calculator to determine the cash value of any number of Rapid Rewards points. This is useful when determining the value of a promotion, or when trying to decide whether to use cash or miles to book a flight.

Southwest now also gives travelers the option of booking with a combination of cash and points at checkout, allowing flyers to offset the cash price of the flight with points. Note, however, that this option is not available when searching for flights through the points booking flow.

How flexible are Southwest points?

To put it frankly: Rapids Rewards points aren't very flexible. Sure, you might be able to use them for non-flight options through the "More Rewards" portal for stuff like merchandise and gift cards, but these redemptions rarely match or exceed the value of using them to purchase Southwest flights.

In fact, NerdWallet conducted a comprehensive analysis of the Southwest More Rewards program and found that — based on those same airline miles valuations — items are marked up by more than 100% on average. In general, use Southwest Rapids Rewards points to book flights, but that's about it.

The good news: Rapid Rewards points don't expire. The only way you'll lose your points is if you close your account.

Southwest credit cards

One of the easiest ways to amass Southwest points is to get a Southwest credit card and earn its sign-up bonus. Here are some popular options.

Credit cards that earn Southwest points
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
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Apply now

on Chase's website

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card"
Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
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on Chase's website

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$149.

$99.

$69.

Earning rates

• 3 points per $1 on Southwest purchases.

• 2 points per $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases, on local transit and commuting (including rideshare) and on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming.

• 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

• 3 points per $1 on Southwest purchases.

• 2 points per $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases and on local transit and commuting (including rideshare).

• 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

• 2 points per $1 on Southwest purchases.

• 2 points per $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases, local transit and commuting (including rideshare), and on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming.

• 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

Other benefits

• Reimbursement for 4 upgraded boardings, when available, each anniversary year.

• $75 Southwest travel credit each year.

• 7,500-point anniversary bonus each year.

Bonus offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

• Reimbursement for 2 EarlyBird check-ins each anniversary year.

• 6,000-point anniversary bonus each year.

Bonus offer: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening and an additional 60,000 points when you spend $15,000 in 9 months.

• Reimbursement for 2 EarlyBird check-ins each anniversary year.

• 3,000-point anniversary bonus each year.

Bonus offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

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How do Southwest points compare to other airline loyalty miles?

Per our analysis, Southwest Rapid Rewards points are some of the most valuable airline awards available. See the table below for how they stack up with other programs.

Program

Mile value

1.4 cents.

1.7 cents.

1.2 cents.

1.1 cents.

1.2 cents.

1.5 cents.

1.5 cents.

1.2 cents.

Despite their relatively high value, if you’re looking for more adventurous, high-value flight redemptions, like booking international first-class suites, you’re better off looking to other programs that enable partner redemptions.

Southwest Rapid Rewards points offer plenty of consistent value, but less razzle-dazzle.

Get up to 80,000 bonus points with our favorite Southwest cards
Check out our nerdy picks for the best Southwest credit cards and find the right card for you.

How has the value of Southwest points changed?

Southwest used to lead the pack in terms of airline point and mile valuations, but not anymore. Part of this is due to a slight downtick in the value of Southwest points, but much more is due to other program miles becoming more valuable.

How did we determine the value of Southwest Rapid Rewards points?

We collected hundreds of data points comparing the cash value to award (point) value for the same routes and dates. That is, we compared the cost of a given ticket in either cash or points across many tickets.

This method differs from many others in that it looks at real-world redemptions rather than hypothetical, maximized redemptions. The advantage of this approach is that it provides an actual, real-world indication of how much these points are worth on average. That said, it doesn’t take into account the high-value redemptions that points enthusiasts seek.

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Frequently asked questions

10,000 Southwest points are worth about $150.

25,000 Southwest points are worth about $375.

50,000 Southwest points are worth about $750.

80,000 Southwest points are worth about $1,200.

100,000 Southwest points are worth about $1,500.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

New Card Spotlight

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

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Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Credit Card
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4.5

Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s $600 toward your next trip.

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