Want to get away? Southwest Airlines and its rewards system is a good place to start.
According to NerdWallet's latest research, Rapid Rewards are valued at 1.4 cents per point. Furthermore, we rank Southwest's loyalty program to be one of the strongest amongst the domestic carriers. Want to know more? Check out our Travel Loyalty Program Review page.
But that’s just one reason to start earning Rapid Rewards points. Here are four others.
Long live the points
One downside to earning airline miles or points is that sometimes you miss the chance to redeem them, and end up leaving free money on the table. To that end, Southwest's Rapid Rewards are a standout.
» Learn more: The complete guide to Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
As of October 2019, Rapid Rewards points no longer expire. (Previously, you were required to make one qualified purchase every two years.)
Credit card power
If you're a fan of racking up points through credit card use, Southwest Airlines has some great offers. The airline has four co-branded credit cards through Chase.
Specifically, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is worth a look. Cardholders get 2 points per $1 spent with Southwest Airlines and its hotel and car rental partners and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
» Learn more: NerdWallet’s top travel credit cards
There is a $99 annual fee with this card, but the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card packs enough other benefits to make it worthwhile. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. And you get 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
Diners Club and Chase Sapphire® Card cardholders can get an added boost by transferring their rewards points to Rapid Rewards. Diners Club Rewards points transfer at a rate of 1.34 points to one Rapid Rewards point, while Chase Ultimate Rewards® points transfer at a rate of one-to-one.
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
Plenty of options
Southwest Airlines offers plenty of ways to earn Rapid Rewards other than using branded credit cards. You can earn rewards with hotels partners, car rentals, filling up at Marathon gas stations, using NRG Home or Reliant as your home's energy provider and more.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card