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The Southwest shopping portal is one of the best ways to rack up Southwest points. But there are a few things that you should know about the portal to make sure that you’re maximizing your earnings and not missing out on any points.
This article will walk you through everything you need to know about the portal including how to utilize the new shopping button.
What is the Southwest shopping portal?
The Southwest shopping portal is an online portal that allows you to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards when you make online purchases of all sorts.
There are over 800 stores to choose from and here are only a few examples:
- Sam’s Club
- Under Armour
- Neiman Marcus
- And many, many more…
You simply log-in to the portal, click through to your relevant store, and then check out as you normally would. You’re able to shop for the same products and the same prices as you normally would but the only difference is that you’ll earn bonus Rapid Rewards for your purchase.
The amount earned depends on the rate (discussed more below), but this is an easy to way to build up those Rapid Rewards in a hurry.
How do you sign-up for the Southwest shopping portal?
You’ll need a valid Rapid Rewards account number to shop and earn Rapid Rewards points with Rapid Rewards Shopping.
You can click here to enroll in the Rapid Rewards Program.
Make sure you take down your Rapid Rewards account number so that you’ll be able to log-in.
How do you use the shopping portal?
Once you have a Rapid Rewards account, simply sign in to the portal.
On the front page, you should see “Top Stores” which are some of the top-earning stores at the moment.
You’ll also see “Featured Offers” which are a number of offers that in addition to points, will grant you discounts like an extra 20% off, free shipping, etc.
Search by categories
You can also use the toolbar to search the stores by categories.
Some of the categories include:
- Apparel and accessories
- Babies, kids and toys
- Beauty and Health
- Books, music, and movies
- Computers and electronics
- Department stores
- Flowers, foods, and gifts
- Home, garden, and auto
- Office and school
- And others
The great thing about these shopping portals is that you can find just about anything you’d need so you rarely have to ever go out of your way to earn points.
Click on the retailer
Once you’ve located your store you want to shop at then you simply click on the button to take you to the store.
You should see a screen notifying you that you’re being taken to the online retailer. You can disable this screen but I like to keep it active since it allows me to confirm the earning rate at that store and also gives me a little added assurance that the portal is working properly.
Make sure that you’re aware that you won’t earn points for shopping in-store at these retailers. You must utilize the online shopping portal in order to earn the points.
The Rapid Rewards Shopping Button
If you have Google Chrome then you can activate the Rapid Rewards Shopping Button which will allow you to instantly activate point earnings at some stores and allow you to see what the current earning rates are.
I highly recommend the Button for those serious about earning Rapid Rewards.
This is a browser extension though and sometimes those can cause privacy and/or functionality concerns for some people so that’s something to consider.
Preparing to use the portal
Before you ever even access the shopping portal, there are a few things you should consider doing to decrease the odds of your purchase not tracking properly.
Clear your shopping cart
If you’ve already been browsing online with the merchant and dropping items into your shopping cart here and there, you might want to remove those items first. (After you click through the portal and get back on the merchant’s website later on, you can add those items back.)
Turn ad blockers off
Make sure your ad blocker is off before you access the Southwest shopping portal. This could prevent necessary pop-ups from showing or interfere with your tracking.
Also, you might want to disable your browser toolbars so that they don’t interfere with your tracking.
Other coupon codes don’t work
If you received coupon codes from other sources and you use them with your purchase, you will most likely forfeit your Rapid Rewards earnings. So only use those other coupons if it’s a better deal.
How many points do you earn with the Southwest shopping portal?
The amount of points that you’ll earn for your shopping will depend on the current rate being offered. These earning rates often fluctuate depending on the season and whether or not special offers are being offered.
For example, right now in July 2018 there’s a “Summer Deals” promo and you can see the increased earning rates below:
Note that you won’t earn points on taxes, special handling charges, returns, freight or shipping costs.
Comparing the best rates
Something that you should always do is compare your earning rate to other online shopping portals.
My number one website for doing this is Cash Back Monitor. Simply go that website and enter in the online store you’re planning on shopping at and you’ll be able to see the rates offered for various portals as shown below.
If you have a Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards then be sure to consider going through the Chase shopping portal just in case the earnings are better since you can always transfer your Ultimate Rewards to Southwest.
Sign-up bonuses & spend bonuses
Before you sign-up for the shopping portal, you might want to hold off until a lucrative sign-up offer rolls around.
At various times in the year, Southwest will offer special spending incentives targeted at new members so sometimes it’s a good idea to hold off until one of those come around.
If you miss out on such an offer, don’t worry, other spending incentives will come back around usually for back-to-school, Christmas, and other times of the year.
For example one recent bonus offered the following tiered bonus.
- Spend $150 earn 500 bonus miles
- Spend $500 earn 1,000 bonus miles
- Spend $1,000 earn 3,000 bonus miles
The Rapid Rewards portal allows you to sign-up to receive emails when your favorite stores offer extra points. This is an easy way to save you time and allow you to maximize your Rapid Rewards earnings.
The Southwest Companion Pass
Points earned from the Southwest shopping portal count towards the coveted Southwest Companion Pass, which allows a partner to fly for free with you for up to two calendar years.
This is excellent news because so many people find themselves only a few hundred points short of the Companion Pass.
However, it’s worth noting that the points earned through special spending offers don’t typically count towards the Companion Pass.
When do the Southwest miles show up?
Rapid Rewards points will typically be posted to your account within six to eight weeks from purchase date.
Be sure to track your purchases and follow up if your points have been delivered or not. It’s always a great idea to keep track of details like purchase date, purchase amount, order number, etc., so that if and when anything goes wrong, you are ready to handle it.
If you click on “My Account” on the shopping portal’s homepage you’ll be able to view for your prior store visits and transactions so you can always check that your clicks are tracking properly.
If the points don’t show up then use the automated customer service tools located in the Contact Us section of their website.
Only one card with each shopping program
All of the major airline shopping portals are connected and they only allow you to earn points with one airline program per credit card. So make sure that you don’t have your credit card linked to any other airline shopping programs.
Keep Southwest miles from expiring
One of the best uses for the shopping portal is that it’s a great way to keep your Southwest points from expiring. Simply make a purchase and wait for your points to hit, and the clock should be reset for an additional 24 months.
Can I redeem Rapid Rewards for shopping?
No, Rapid Rewards points can only be redeemed at southwest.com for flights; you can’t redeem your Rapid Rewards for shopping through the portal.
Is there a limit to the points earned?
No, there is no limit to the amount of Rapid Rewards that you can earn through the shopping portal.
The Southwest Dining portal
Don’t forget that Southwest also has the Dining portal where you can earn additional points at local restaurants. You absolutely want to take advantage of that portal too if you’re trying to maximize your point earnings.
Additional tips for Southwest
If you’re looking for more tips on flying Southwest then I recommend you read my article here.
The Southwest shopping portal is a great way for anybody who likes flying on Southwest to earn extra Rapid Rewards. It can also be very useful in earning the Southwest Companion Pass or reseting the clock on your points’ expiration. With the new Google Chrome extension, it’s also easier than ever to utilize the portal and compare earnings between online merchants.
H-Town based Attorney turned credit card rewards expert. Founder of UponArriving.com.