There are a lot of reasons to love Southwest Airlines’ Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Unlike its competitors, the airline lets you redeem points for any flight. The value of one point is generally worth about 1.5 cents no matter how many of them you redeem, so you don’t have to worry about whether you’re getting good value for your redemption. And when it comes to ease of changing or canceling an award ticket, Southwest can’t be beat.
If you’ve been lucky enough to rack up some Rapid Rewards points of you’re own, you’re in good shape—as long as your trove doesn’t vanish overnight. Read on to learn how to make sure it won’t!
HOW TO KEEP SOUTHWEST MILES FROM EXPIRING
DO SOUTHWEST MILES EXPIRE?
Unlike frequent flier miles from airlines such as Delta and JetBlue, which don’t have expiration dates, Southwest Rapid Rewards points do have a use-’em-or-lose-’em deadline. For most other airlines, miles will expire between 12 to 24 months after the last account activity, which includes actions like adding miles to your account or using miles for a flight.
Not Southwest, though. The airline doesn’t restart the clock if you’re redeeming points, meaning you have to add Rapid Rewards points to your account to keep your stash alive.
Luckily, since so many different things count as qualifying activities, extending the expiration date on your points is incredibly easy to do, as I’ll outline below!
HOW TO FIND YOUR SOUTHWEST MILES EXPIRATION DATE
First thing’s first: To make sure your Rapid Rewards points don’t expire, it’s important to watch the clock. When you log into your Rapid Rewards account, look to the right side of your account homepage. There, below your name and Rapid Rewards number, you should see a line that says, “Last Activity,” along with a corresponding date. Whatever that date is, you have 24 months from it to add points to your account if you want to avoid losing the whole stash.
22 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARDS MILES FROM EXPIRING
1. TAKE A PAID SOUTHWEST FLIGHT
This is probably the most obvious way to earn Southwest points, if among the more expensive. You’ll earn points every time you fly on a flight you paid for, thus renewing your two-year window to keep your points alive. The exact number of points you’ll earn on each flight will vary based on a few factors; to learn more, check out this guide to how airline miles work.
2. HOLD A SOUTHWEST CREDIT CARD
If you have a Southwest credit card, you’ll have no problem keeping your account thriving. Every purchase you make will count as account activity, since you’ll earn Rapid Rewards points with every swipe.
But notice I said all you have to do is “hold a Southwest credit card,” rather than spend on one. That’s because with each of Southwest’s personal and business credit cards, you’ll receive a deposit of “anniversary points” after your card member anniversary each year. So as long as you keep your card open and pay your annual fee, you’ll won’t have to worry.
If you don’t have a Southwest credit card yet, you can also keep your points from expiring by taking advantage of one of its current credit card offers. The lineup includes three personal credit cards—the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card—and three business credit card options—the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Business Card —to choose from.
3. TRANSFER CHASE ULTIMATE REWARDS POINTS
Southwest is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, meaning that if you have a Chase card with transferable points (such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred), you can convert points into Southwest Rapid Rewards. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio and do so nearly instantly, making transferring points a great option for resetting the expiration clock if you’re short on time.
4. TRANSFER HOTEL POINTS
If you have points with the loyalty programs from Hyatt, Marriott, Best Western, Radisson or Choice Privileges, you can convert them into Rapid Rewards points. Exact exchange rates vary, so you’ll want to visit the individual pages for each partner program for more information.
5. MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH SOUTHWEST’S SHOPPING PORTAL
Here’s another easy-as-can-be way to make sure your Southwest account doesn’t bite the dust: Rapid Rewards Shopping. Southwest and many of its fellow airlines use what are called “shopping portals” to award users for shopping through their online malls. Just head to Rapid Rewards Shopping site, click on the store you want to make a purchase from, and you’ll be redirected to the store’s site. Place an order then and there, and you’ll net Rapid Rewards points for every dollar you spend.
6. JOIN SOUTHWEST’S DINING PROGRAM
The Rapid Rewards Dining program offers you the opportunity to earn bonus miles just for dining out—on top of whatever you’ll earn if you pay the bill with a travel rewards credit card. When you enroll, just register any credit cards you use at restaurants, and if you use one of those cards to dine at a venue that participates in the program, you’ll automatically earn. Exactly how many points you’ll rack up depends on whether you stay opted in for emails from the program; those who do will earn three points per dollar, while those who don’t will earn one point for every two dollars.
7. BOOK A HOTEL, VACATION HOME OR APARTMENT
If you need to book accommodations and want to earn Rapid Rewards points in the process, consider using the portal that Southwest operates in conjunction with Booking.com. Search through hotels, homes and apartments and earn points for every reservation you make.
8. CREDIT A HOTEL STAY TO SOUTHWEST
Some of Southwest’s hotel partners will let you credit your stay to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points instead of the traditional hotel points you would otherwise earn. Best Western, Radisson, Hyatt, Marriott and MGM all offer this option.
9. RENT A CAR
Attach your Rapid Rewards number to a reservation with any of Southwest’s car rental partners—including Hertz, Avis, Thrifty and Alamo—and earn 600 points per rental.
10. BOOK A TOUR OR ACTIVITY
If you’re considering a tour or excursion as part of a trip, check to see if it’s bookable through Southwest. The airline operates a marketplace in conjunction with PlacePass that offers activities in thousands of destinations, and you can earn Rapid Rewards points by booking this way. Bike tours, sunset cruises and museum visits are just a few of the options on offer.
11. TAKE AN AIRPORT SHUTTLE OR PRIVATE SEDAN
Rapid Rewards members can score 100 points each way for reserving SuperShuttle‘s shared-ride airport shuttle or 150 points each way for reserving ExecuCar’s private sedan service.
12. BUY A GIFT FROM HARRY & DAVID
For each order of $29.99 or more (excluding taxes and fees) you make from Harry & David, you can earn 1,000 Rapid Rewards points.
13. JOIN A WINE CLUB
You can earn 2,000 Rapid Rewards points on an introductory wine-club case from the 4 Seasons wine club from Laithwaite’s Wine. Beyond that, you’ll earn 1,000 points on each future club case you purchase and three points per dollar on non-club purchases.
14. ORDER FLOWERS
You can earn 1,000 Rapid Rewards points for each 1800Flowers order of $29.99 or more.
15. TAKE A SURVEY
Earn 500 Rapid Rewards points when you complete your first survey with Rewards for Opinions within three months of enrolling. From there on out, you can earn additional points for every survey you take.
16. SHARE YOUR OPINIONS
You can also earn points by sharing your opinions with the e-Rewards Opinion Panel. By participating in market research surveys, you can rack up e-Rewards Currency, and you can cash that in for Rapid Rewards points at the following rates:
- $15 e-Rewards Currency = 300 Rapid Rewards Points
- $25 e-Rewards Currency = 600 Rapid Rewards Points
- $50 e-Rewards Currency = 1,200 Rapid Rewards Points
- $100 e-Rewards Currency = 2,400 Rapid Rewards Points
17. REFINANCE A LOAN
You’ll earn one Rapid Rewards point for every $2 of student loans you refinance with SoFi, up to 50,000 points.
18. ENROLL IN NRG HOME
If you live in Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, you can earn Rapid Rewards points for using NRG Home as your electric supplier. Two months after you enroll as a customer, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus points, and you’ll earn two points per dollar you spend on the supply portion of your energy bill. Southwest credit card holders can earn even more thanks to a special offer.
19. SWITCH TO RELIANT
If you switch to Reliant for your electricity, on the other hand, you can earn 15,000 points for enrolling in the Reliant Secure 24 plan as well as 500 additional points each month for the next 24 months.
20. GET GAS AT MARATHON
Through Marathon’s MakeItCount program, you can earn Southwest points at the pump. Rapid Rewards members who join the program will earn one point for every gallon of fuel they purchase, plus additional points on select in-store purchases.
21. CONVERT DINERS CLUB CLUB REWARDS
Those who earn Diners Club Club Rewards can convert the points they earn into Rapid Rewards points. When using a Diners Club card, you’ll earn one Club Rewards point per dollar you spend, and you can transfer those to Southwest at a rate of 1,500 Club Rewards points to 1,200 Rapid Rewards points.
22. BUY RAPID REWARDS POINTS
I’m putting this option last because in my opinion, if you can avoid it, you shouldn’t buy Southwest points. The airline charges up to 3 cents per points, which is far above the value you’ll get when you actually go to use them. The smallest increment you can buy is 2,000, which will set you back $60. There are plenty of ways on this list to spend less and achieve the same result!
Hope this post gave you some good ideas about how to keep Southwest miles from expiring! Do you fly Southwest? Let me know in the comments! >>
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