21 ways to keep Southwest Rapid Rewards points from expiring

Sep 13, 2019

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One of the dangers of earning miles and points in various programs is that it can be hard to keep up with them all. This is especially true for the points that are in programs that you don’t use on a regular basis or that are in your children’s accounts, which may not get frequent use. AwardWallet can help tremendously with tracking expiration dates for various programs but, even with that reminder, you still have to take action in order to keep points from expiring in several frequent flyer programs.
While points and miles never expire in a few programs (JetBlue, Delta and, now, United), most others require some account activity at least every 12–24 months. This usually means you need to earn (or sometimes use) points to keep them safely in your accounts. One program that requires you to earn points at least every 24 months is Southwest Rapid Rewards.

Related: Guide to choosing the best Southwest credit card

The good news is it is very, very easy to keep points alive in most programs thanks to the myriad ways to earn points.

21 ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points

  1. Fly on a points earning Southwest Airlines flight.
  2. Use Southwest Airlines cobranded credit cards.
  3. Shop through the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal.
  4. Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest.
  5. Transfer points from Thanks Again to Southwest.
  6. Convert your Diners Club Rewards points in to Southwest Rapid Rewards.
  7. Transfer via a Southwest Rapid Rewards Hotel partner (examples include World of Hyatt, Best Western, Choice Hotels and more).
  8. Purchase flowers through 1-800-Flowers for $29.99+ and use code RR22.
  9. Order wine from Laithwaite’s Wine.
  10. Place an order from Harry & David’s for $29.99+ and use code SW44.
  11. Buy Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
  12. Book a hotel through Southwest’s hotel booking portal.
  13. Book a hotel through Rocketmiles and credit your points earned to Southwest.
  14. Credit a partner hotel stay to Southwest (instead of earning traditional hotel points).
  15. Credit a partner car rental reservation to Southwest.
  16. Book a SuperShuttle.
  17. Link your credit card to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining Program and dine at a partner restaurant.
  18. Purchase gas at Marathon gas stations.
  19. Book a tour or activity via Southwest.
  20. Take a survey through Rewards for Opinions.
  21. Take surveys through e-Rewards and redeem the currency earned for Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

One thing to note with Southwest, that differs from some other loyalty programs, is that redeeming points does not count when it comes to refreshing your account and extending the expiration of the points you have. You must actually earn new points. So, even if you have a ton of points and fly Southwest often on an award ticket, you still have to pay attention to the 24-month expiration marker and pick up at least 1 point somewhere along the way.
Southwest also will not allow you to book a flight post your current expiration date, so knowing your expiration date is important. You’ll easily see your last activity date on your account snapshot page. Just add another two years to it, and that is your current expiration date. Do not let your expiration date get too close or you could be blocked out of making future award reservations.

Easiest ways to keep your account active

While there are many ways to keep your points active, as described above, some are easier than others. In my opinion, the easiest way is through the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal. My assumption is that almost everyone makes a purchase online at least once every two years and since there are a ton of merchant partners, going through the portal is one of the easiest methods. It takes an extra minute — at most — to purchase your online order this way, but do know that the points could take up to eight weeks to hit your account. Because of this timing, be sure to make the purchase well in advance.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining Program is also a simple way to continue to keep your points active. It will take you a few minutes to set up your account and link your credit card, but you might be pleasantly surprised to see points deposited into your account every so often without even realizing it. If you live in a more urban area, you are bound to find participating restaurants nearby.

If you are pressed for time and notice that your expiration date is approaching within the next few days, your best two options are making a transfer from your Chase Ultimate Rewards account or purchasing points.
You can transfer just 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points that will immediately be deposited into your Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Of course, you still receive Southwest points in exchange (1,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points), although TPG values Chase Ultimate Rewards points more than the valuation of Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
The cost to purchase points is $60 for 2,000 points. While this is quite an expensive purchase, if it is ultimately your only last-minute option, the high cost might pay off versus the alternative of losing all of your points.
At the end of the day though, holding a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card is the only way where you can do nothing more than use the card for periodic purchases and always ensure that your points are kept active. With all five of its credit cards, including the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, you earn points for everyday spend and bonus points on each account anniversary. This automatic activity counts as Rapid Rewards credit card spend and will reset your expiration date another 24-months. 

Bottom line

Since you have two years to do a variety of things, keeping your Southwest account active should not be challenging, although you do need to pay attention. With so many ways to keep your account active, hopefully you will never be faced with points expiring unexpectedly.
What do you do to keep your (and your kids!) valuable miles and points from expiring?
Featured photo courtesy of Southwest

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