Southwest’s frequent flier program, Rapid Rewards is a simple and useful program. To earn a free round trip, one has to only fly 16 segments in a two year period. That is eight round trip flights, or less if you have a multi destination trip (I had a recent trip from Denver – San Antonio – Birmingham – Denver so that counted as three). You can also get extra credits for business select flights, up to 3 credits for a single flight if cross country.
How you can earn credits
You can also earn credits in other ways. If you get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa through Chase bank, you will get free credits (they often run promotions where you get 16 credits – or one free round trip the first time you use the card). You can also get credits for purchases from partner companies, from the obvious like hotels and rental cars to flower deliveries made through the website. These also sometimes have promotions such as double credits or sometimes even double credits for a flight.
Redeeming your rewards for goodies
When redeeming these rewards you have an excellent selection of flights, if you do it in advance you should not have a problem getting a seat on any route. You must still pay the security charge. And as always it is first come, first serve seating so you aren’t penalized for using a reward.
There are also other minor benefits. When you receive an award Southwest will send you free drink coupons. There are upgraded options for highly frequent fliers, such as companion passes and A-List membership which gives preferred boarding.
Overall the Southwest Rapid Rewards program is one of the easiest programs to understand in the industry. If you are flying anyway it can also be a great money saver.