May 27, 2020

Guide to Southwest Transfers and Partnerships

By GaryKrass

To get the most out of your Rapid Rewards membership, you want to not only maximize your points accrual and earnings, but also be able to redeem them for more than just flights.

Lucky for you, Southwest’s list of non-airline partnerships is robust. They benefit travelers because these partnerships open up a variety of complementary travel experiences beyond Southwest flights — not to mention give Rapid Rewards members diverse opportunities to earn and redeem points via those partners.

Let’s dive into Southwest’s many opportunities for points accrual and redemption through their partnerships.

Southwest doesn’t have any airline partners

Southwest is one of only a handful of airlines that do not have active lateral airline partnerships. Since Southwest is likewise not a part of any airline alliance, it is unfortunately not possible to earn equivalent Rapid Rewards points and points when booking with another airline.

If you purchase a non-Southwest flight using one of the many Rapid Rewards credit cards available, you will simply earn points at a rate of 1 point per 1 dollar spent, rather than 6-12 points per dollar spent when you purchase a Southwest flight.

Earning points with non-airline partners

You can still earn Rapid Rewards points when you make qualifying purchases with Southwest Rapid Rewards partners.

Nerd tip: If you book one of Southwest partners via their online portal, and make your purchase with your Rapid Rewards credit card, you are eligible to earn 2 points per $1 spent. These all qualify as Southwest Airlines purchases.

Keep in mind that points can be earned only by the individual whose name appears in the Rapid Rewards account and who actually utilizes the purchase. For example, your spouse could book a rental car, but they would not earn points if you picked it up on their behalf.

Travel

Hotels

Southwest’s hotel partnerships span far and wide. You can earn Rapid Rewards points for staying in popular hotel chains like:

  • Best Western.

  • The Radisson.

  • Choice Hotels.

  • World of Hyatt.

  • Marriott Bonvoy.

  • MGM Resorts International.

You can find even more eligible stays via Southwest’s dedicated hotel search engine, or maximize your points earnings by booking your stay utilizing their Rocketmiles program. Note that Rocketmiles doesn’t guarantee points accrual for travel booked on their platform.

Rental Cars

Renting a car can help you top off your Rapid Rewards points bank when you book with one of Southwest’s rental car partners.

  • Enterprise.

Your points earning rates will vary between partners, but you can typically expect to earn at least 600 Rapid Rewards points after returning your rental car.

Experiences

Southwest has partnered with a third-party company, PlacePass, that specializes in finding thousands of tours and activities globally. Rapid Rewards members can earn points if they book tours and activities via the portal.

Shop & Dine

General Partners

Beyond Southwest’s extensive Shopping and Dining partnership network, you can also earn automatic Rapid Rewards points when you make purchases from 1-800-Flowers.com, Laithwaites and Harry & David.

Shopping

Rapid Rewards Shopping is an exclusive site for Rapid Rewards members that allows them to earn points on everyday online purchases from over 800 popular brands like Groupon, Macy’s and Staples. Or, a more timely option, like TurboTax.

Simply bookmark the shopping portal and start your online shopping from there to get access to unique points deals. Rapid Rewards members who use Chrome as a browser can also download Southwest’s dedicated extension, the Button, to activate even more points earnings opportunities as you browse the web and do your normal online shopping.

Dining

The Rapid Rewards Dining program is a little tricky, but once you get it set up, you unlock potential earnings of 3 points per $1 spent at participating restaurants. To maximize dining-based earnings, Southwest requires that you stay on their email list — otherwise, you will earn the much less impressive 1 point per $2 spent at participating restaurants. Additionally, you can register up to 12 major credit cards to track your purchases.

New dining members can enjoy additional point bonuses when they 1) dine at a participating restaurant and spend at least $25 within 30 days of enrollment and 2) complete a restaurant review within 30 days after your first dine.

The points earning possibilities for Rapid Rewards dining members keep coming like a seven-course meal: Earn 500 bonus points after earning 1,500 points through any combination of dines and reviews, plus a subsequent 300 bonus points for every following 1,000 points earned through any combination of dines and reviews.

Visit rapidrewardsdining.com to find participating establishments in your community or upcoming travel destination.

Home and Lifestyle

If you’re interested in securing your home, powering your home in a new way or earning additional points every time you fill up your gas tank, you’re in luck. You can earn Rapid Rewards points from Southwest partners like Nrg, Reliant, and Make it Count.

Specialty

Southwest’s specialty Rapid Rewards points earnings opportunities will round out our guide to Southwest’s transfers and partnerships. Leave reviews in exchange for points through their Rewards for Opinions program or the e-Rewards® Opinion Panel. You can likewise collect bonus points when you sign up for Medical Emergency Assistance through Southwest’s partner EA+.

How to redeem your Rapid Rewards points

Rapid Rewards members can redeem their points by booking Southwest flights, rental cars and hotel stays on its website. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can browse the dozens of other purchases you can make with Rapid Rewards points, like gift cards and merchandise, on Southwest’s More Rewards platform. You can even redeem your points for international flights to non-Southwest serving destinations.

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