Southwest Rapid Rewards Value Guide [2021]

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Southwest Airlines is one of the most cost-efficient ways to get around the US and even to several international locations.

But how much are Southwest Rapid Rewards really worth and are there ways to get more value by choosing certain types of tickets over others?

In the article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about the value of Southwest Rapid Rewards.

I’ll present you valuations based on recent research that looked at over 70 data points so you’ll have concrete figures to base your decisions on.

How much are Southwest Rapid Rewards worth?

Based on over 70 data points, Southwest Rapid Rewards are worth 1.46 cents per point.

Broken down by class, here are the averages we arrived at after analyzing the data points:

  • Wanna Get Away: 1.63
  • Anytime: 1.37
  • Business Select: 1.37

If you’re not familiar, Wanna-Get-Away fares are the cheapest type of fare you can purchase. Your ticket is nonrefundable but you can always get issued travel funds if you need to cancel your flight.

Anytime fares are the middle-tier fare and they allow you to receive a full refund so long as you cancel with enough time.

And finally, Business Select tickets are the most expensive type and they come with additional perks which include things like:

Because you earn so many Rapid Rewards, booking these tickets often allows you to achieve elite status with Southwest much quicker.

How to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards

It is extremely easy to build up a large balance of Southwest Rapid Rewards if you play your cards right. That’s because there are multiple personal and business credit cards for Southwest.

Here is a rundown of the different cards you can choose from.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

  • $99 Annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 6,000 anniversary points
  • Earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in purchases, up to 15,000 Tier-Qualifying Points each calendar year

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card

  • $69 Annual fee
  • 3,000 anniversary points

Southwest Airlines Priority Card

  • Bonus spending:
    • 2X Rapid Rewards on Southwest purchases
    • 2X Rapid Rewards on hotel and car rental partner purchases.
    • 1X Rapid Rewards on all other purchases
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 7,500 anniversary points each year
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn tier qualifying points towards A-list Status
  • $149 annual fee applied to your first billing statement

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card

  • $99 Annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 6,000 anniversary points
  • Earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in purchases, up to 15,000 Tier-Qualifying Points each calendar year

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card

  • $199 Annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 9,000 anniversary points
  • 4 upgrades per year
  • in-flight wifi credits
  • Earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in purchases, up to 15,000 Tier-Qualifying Points each calendar year
  • Best sign-up bonus ever: 80,000 Rapid Rewards
  • Full review here

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Business Card was discontinued in prior years.

The welcome bonuses for these cards changes all the time so the key is to wait until you come across a great welcome bonus. Typically, I would generally wait to find a bonus on a Southwest card at 50,000 miles or higher.

One of the biggest considerations when seeking out these credit cards is whether or not you want to pursue the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.

The Companion Pass will allow an individual to fly for free with you for up to two calendar years.

They can fly for free with you when you are paying cash for your ticket or when using points so it’s an extremely valuable travel perk that’s also very flexible.

Typically, you would want to time up your application so that you are earning the welcome bonuses at the beginning of the year.

So be on the lookout for when these cards are offering great bonuses at the end of the calendar year so that you can maximize the time that you and a companion can fly for free.

Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can optimize your credit card spend by seeing the best card to use! You can also track credits, annual fees, and get notifications when you’re eligible for the best cards!

Getting the most value

Because Southwest utilizes dynamic pricing that is tied to the revenue of the ticket, you don’t really have opportunities to get outsized value like you do with other programs.

For example, a Delta mile might be worth 1.62 cents per mile with standard redemptions but if you were to utilize your miles for a business class flight from the US to the UK, you could get over 10 cents per mile in value!

That is a very dramatic difference but that is not the case with Southwest. Instead, the value is not going to fluctuate nearly as much.

With that said, you can tell based on the data that we supplied that the best value comes from Wanna Get Away fares.

We even found a redemption worth 1.9 cents per point flying Dallas (DAL) to New York (LGA) and 1.8 cents per point flying Punta Cana (PUJ) to Baltimore (BWI).

So if you are primarily concerned with optimizing the value of your Rapid Rewards consider booking those fares.

Related: 28 Tips for Flying Southwest Airlines

Data points

We always make sure that we back up our valuation claims with hard data so we analyzed over 70 data points involving Rapid Rewards redemptions in the US and abroad.

We did different redemptions for Wanna Get Away, Anytime, and Business Select.

You can check out all of the cash price and award prices that we found below. We also have a chart that breaks down the cents per point per route.

US

Dallas (DAL) to Las Vegas (LAS)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $121
  • Award price: 7,733
  • Cents per point: 1.6

Anytime

  • Cash price: $578
  • Award price: 40,893
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $610
  • Award price: 43,215
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Tucson (TUS) to Chicago (MDW)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $132
  • Award price: 8,532
  • Cents per point: 1.5

Anytime

  • Cash price: $649
  • Award price: 46,045
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $681
  • Award price: 48,366
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Phoenix (PHX) to Orlando (MCO)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $143
  • Award price: 9,330
  • Cents per point: 1.5

Anytime

  • Cash price: $612
  • Award price: 43,360
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $644
  • Award price: 45,682
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Salt Lake City (SLC) to Nashville (BNA)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $141
  • Award price: 8,546
  • Cents per point: 1.7

Anytime

  • Cash price: $633
  • Award price: 44,230
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $663
  • Award price: 46,407
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Albuquerque (ABQ) to Baltimore (BWI)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $143
  • Award price: 9,330
  • Cents per point: 1.5

Anytime

  • Cash price: $676
  • Award price: 48,003
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $707
  • Award price: 50,253
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Austin (AUS) to Indianapolis (IND)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $110
  • Award price: 6,935
  • Cents per point: 1.6

Anytime

  • Cash price: $471
  • Award price: 33,129
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $495
  • Award price: 34,870
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Birmingham (BHM) to Denver (DEN)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $102
  • Award price: 6,355
  • Cents per point: 1.6

Anytime

  • Cash price: $555
  • Award price: 39,224
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $585
  • Award price: 41,401
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Boise (BOI) to San Diego (SAN)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $69
  • Award price: 3,961
  • Cents per point: 1.7

Anytime

  • Cash price: $444
  • Award price: 31,170
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $465
  • Award price: 32,693
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Cleveland (CLE) to Houston (HOU)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $126
  • Award price: 7,748
  • Cents per point: 1.6

Anytime

  • Cash price: $643
  • Award price: 45,246
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $673
  • Award price: 47,423
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Colorado Springs (COS) to Chicago (MDW)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $89
  • Award price: 5,412
  • Cents per point: 1.6

Anytime

  • Cash price: $466
  • Award price: 32,766
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $492
  • Award price: 34,653
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Dallas (DAL) to New York (LGA)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $56
  • Award price: 3,018
  • Cents per point: 1.9

Anytime

  • Cash price: $592
  • Award price: 41,908
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $627
  • Award price: 44,448
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Des Moines (DSM) to Phoenix (PHX)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $130
  • Award price: 7,748
  • Cents per point: 1.7

Anytime

  • Cash price: $524
  • Award price: 36,322
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $548
  • Award price: 38,063
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Hartford (BDL) to Tampa (TPA)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $121
  • Award price: 7,733
  • Cents per point: 1.6

Anytime

  • Cash price: $557
  • Award price: 39,369
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $589
  • Award price: 41,691
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Columbus (CMH) to Las Vegas (LAS)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $152
  • Award price: 9,345
  • Cents per point: 1.6

Anytime

  • Cash price: $675
  • Award price: 47,278
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $705
  • Award price: 49,455
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Washington (DCA) to New Orleans (MSY)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $110
  • Award price: 6,935
  • Cents per point: 1.6

Anytime

  • Cash price: $564
  • Award price: 39,877
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $589
  • Award price: 41,691
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Hawaii

Honolulu (HNL) to Oakland (OAK)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $99
  • Award price: 5,848
  • Cents per point: 1.7

Anytime

  • Cash price: $624
  • Award price: 46,782
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Business Select

  • Cash price: $652
  • Award price: 48,965
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Honolulu (HNL) to San Diego (SAN)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $99
  • Award price: 5,849
  • Cents per point: 1.7

Anytime

  • Cash price: $624
  • Award price: 46,786
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Business Select

  • Cash price: $652
  • Award price: 48,970
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Kahului (OGG) to Sacramento (SMF)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $99
  • Award price: 5,848
  • Cents per point: 1.7

Anytime

  • Cash price: $624
  • Award price: 46,782
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Business Select

  • Cash price: $652
  • Award price: 48,965
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Kona (KOA) to San Jose (SJC)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $99
  • Award price: 5,848
  • Cents per point: 1.7

Anytime

  • Cash price: $624
  • Award price: 46,782
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Business Select

  • Cash price: $652
  • Award price: 48,965
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Honolulu (HNL) to Long Beach (LGB)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $99
  • Award price: 5,849
  • Cents per point: 1.7

Anytime

  • Cash price: $624
  • Award price: 46,786
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Business Select

  • Cash price: $652
  • Award price: 48,970
  • Cents per point: 1.3

International

Aruba (AUA) to Baltimore (BWI)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $207
  • Award price: 9,204 + $69.45
  • Cents per point: 1.5

Anytime

  • Cash price: $522
  • Award price: 33,774 + $69.45
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Business Select

  • Cash price: $550
  • Award price: 35,958 + $69.45
  • Cents per point: 1.3

Cancun (CUN) to Columbus (CMH)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $190
  • Award price: 8,190 + $56.38
  • Cents per point: 1.6

Anytime

  • Cash price: $562
  • Award price: 36,114 + $56.38
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $591
  • Award price: 38,298 + $56.38
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Montego Bay (MBJ) to St. Louis (STL)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $209
  • Award price: 6,552 + $96.99
  • Cents per point: 1.7

Anytime

  • Cash price: $578
  • Award price: 35,334 + $96.99
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $606
  • Award price: 37,518 + $96.99
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Los Cabos (SJD) to Austin (AUS)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $200
  • Award price: 7,410 + $76.66
  • Cents per point: 1.7

Anytime

  • Cash price: $567
  • Award price: 34,944 + $76.66
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Business Select

  • Cash price: $596
  • Award price: 37,128 + $76.66
  • Cents per point: 1.4

Punta Cana (PUJ) to Baltimore (BWI)

Wanna Get Away

  • Cash price: $191
  • Award price: 6,786 + $68.25
  • Cents per point: 1.8

Anytime

  • Cash price: $587
  • Award price: 32,994 + $68.25
  • Cents per point: 1.6

Business Select

  • Cash price: $620
  • Award price: 35,178 + $68.25
  • Cents per point: 1.6
RouteWanna Get AwayAnytimeBusiness Select
Dallas (DAL) to Las Vegas (LAS)1.61.41.4
Tucson (TUS) to Chicago (MDW)1.51.41.4
Phoenix (PHX) to Orlando (MCO)1.51.41.4
Salt Lake City (SLC) to Nashville (BNA)1.71.41.4
Albuquerque (ABQ) to Baltimore (BWI)1.51.41.4
Austin (AUS) to Indianapolis (IND)1.61.41.4
Birmingham (BHM) to Denver (DEN)1.61.41.4
Boise (BOI) to San Diego (SAN)1.71.41.4
Cleveland (CLE) to Houston (HOU)1.61.41.4
Colorado Springs (COS) to Chicago (MDW)1.61.41.4
Dallas (DAL) to New York (LGA)1.91.41.4
Des Moines (DSM) to Phoenix (PHX)1.71.41.4
Hartford (BDL) to Tampa (TPA)1.61.41.4
Columbus (CMH) to Las Vegas (LAS)1.61.41.4
Washington (DCA) to New Orleans (MSY)1.61.41.4
Honolulu (HNL) to Oakland (OAK)1.71.31.3
Honolulu (HNL) to San Diego (SAN)1.71.31.3
Kahului (OGG) to Sacramento (SMF)1.71.31.3
Kona (KOA) to San Jose (SJC)1.71.31.3
Honolulu (HNL) to Long Beach (LGB)1.71.31.3
Aruba (AUA) to Baltimore (BWI)1.51.31.3
Cancun (CUN) to Columbus (CMH)1.61.41.4
Montego Bay (MBJ) to St. Louis (STL)1.71.41.4
Los Cabos (SJD) to Austin (AUS)1.71.41.4
Punta Cana (PUJ) to Baltimore (BWI)1.81.61.6
1.631.371.37

Southwest Rapid Rewards FAQ

What type of Southwest ticket offers the best value for your Rapid Rewards?

Wanna Get Away fares offer the most value for your Rapid Rewards at 1.63 cents per mile. In some outlier cases, you might be able to get as much is 1.9 cents per mile.

What credit cards can I get Rapid Rewards with?

– Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card
– Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card
– Southwest Airlines Priority Card
– Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card
– Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card

How much are 50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards worth?

Based on the research we did that looked at over 70 data points, 50,000 points used toward flights would be worth $815.

How much are 80,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards worth?

Based on the research we did that looked at over 70 data points, 80,000 points used toward flights would be worth $1,304.

How many Southwest Rapid Rewards are needed for a free flight?

The amount of Southwest Rapid Rewards needed for a free flight will depend on the route and the type of ticket purchased. Check out the data points above for over 70 different prices.

Can I redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards for cash?

No, but if you are a Southwest credit card member you can redeem your points for various items such as gift cards. You will get much less value when redeeming for gift cards (such as .6 or .5 cents per point).

Final word

Typically, Southwest Rapid Rewards offers you a pretty consistent amount of value right around 1.46 cents per point. You can get the most value by using your points to fly Wanna Get Away fares and in some limited cases you might get value up to 1.9 cents per point!

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