How Rapid Rewards Works

In early 2011, Southwest Airlines redesigned their already excellent Rapid Rewards program.  Their new program is geared towards allowing customer’s to get more value out of their points redemption,  while increasing the rewards given to their more frequent and higher-statused customers.

The primary change with this program is that the Rapid Rewards now give more points for their more expensive flights.  That means their Business Select customers now receive 12 points per dollar for their flights, while Anytime flight customer’s earn 10 points per dollar, and Wanna Get Away customers earn 6 points per dollar. As the flight and seat-level go up, so do the number of points that are earned.

This is a huge departure from their earlier plan that only provided 1200 points for each flight, no matter what the level or how much was spent.

This same benefit is extended to the redemption side.  Business Select customers can book their flights using 120 points per dollar, while Anytime flights can be booked for 100 points per dollar and Wanna Get Away fares only need 60 points per dollar to book.

Ideally, this allows someone to take company-paid flights on Business Select, and then use their points to fly more Wanna Get Away fares  But this system also works well with customers that use their Southwest Credit Card to earn to points, as well as helping their large base of family-oriented customers get flights for a fraction of the points that used to be needed.

The other major benefit is that the points earned are now good for 24 months with limited expiration.  Additionally, those points can be refreshed by adding more points.  So as long as customer’s fly at least once every 2 years, their points will not expire   In the past, customers had to fly 6, round trip flights in 2 years in order to earn a free flight before their points expired.

Finally, for the frequent flier, the Rapid Rewards program now has its own credit card that can allow customer’s to earn 1 point per dollar spent on their everyday purchases. This is just an added benefit to the already excellent new Rapid Rewards program, and Southwest’s tradition of excellent customer service.