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A few years ago, frequent flyers were the only ones who could earn Southwest points but now, even frequent diners can earn points too, all thanks to Rapid Rewards Dining.
Rapid Rewards Dining is a Southwest dining subprogram of the Rapid Rewards loyalty program. You’d have to sign up for it separately because it has its own earning guidelines and a different set of partner merchants which your can earn your points from.
So if you’re not much of a flyer but more of a diner, then keep reading so you’ll learn how to earn points from the Southwest dining program.
How To Join Rapid Rewards Dining?
Joining the program is quick, easy, and free. It’s also a great alternative to earning Southwest points, especially for people who don’t fly that often.
All you need to do is to visit the Rapid Rewards Dining website and start filling out this form. Take note that you need to be a Rapid Rewards member first because you will need your membership number to join the program.
After signing up, your account must have a credit card linked to it so that you can start dining at partner restaurants and also start earning points. You won’t be charged until you made your first dining purchase. You can link up to 12 major credit and/or debit cards to keep track of your expenses.
How To Earn Points From Rapid Rewards Dining
Rapid Rewards members will be earning points based on the total price of their meals, including tax and tips. The standard earning rate is 3 points per dollar as long as you’re subscribed to their email newsletter. If you’re not subscribed, you’ll only earn 1 point per two dollars.
The rates don’t vary per participating restaurant so whether you eat at a first-class restaurant or a fast-food restaurant, you’ll still earn the same amount of points.
The great thing about the program is that new members will have a chance to earn welcome bonus points. As of this writing, there are four ways on how to earn these bonuses.
New Member Bonus
For a limited time, new members will be able to earn a bonus of 1,000 Rapid Rewards points. All you need to do is to create an account, link your credit cards, and within the next 30 days, do the following tasks below:
- Dine at a Southwest partner restaurant.
- Spend $25 or more.
- Submit an online review for that restaurant
Additionally, you’re required to opt in to the program’s email newsletters after signing up for an account to be eligible for the bonus. The offer is valid until June 30, 2022, at 11:59 PM ET so you need to have completed all requirements before the deadline.
First Step Bonus
The first step bonus gives new members 500 bonus points after earning their first 1,500 points through dining and completing online reviews at participating restaurants.
The bonus can only be earned one time after you’ve accrued your first 1,500 points. Also, points earned from the New Member bonus do not count towards the 1,500-point requirement.
Thank You Bonus
Every time you earn 1,000 points by dining and completing online reviews at participating restaurants, you will be credited 300 bonus points to your account. What’s great about this bonus is that you can earn it as many times as you want.
Points earned from the New Member bonus or First Step bonus also don’t count towards the 1,000-point requirement.
Members will earn 10 bonus points every time they dine at a participating restaurant and provide a review within 30 days of the visit.
This is not a one-time bonus but members are only allowed to visit one participating merchant per day, limiting your earnings to only 10 points per day. However, you can combine this bonus with the previous welcome bonuses mentioned above.
For example, if you’ve earned a total of 1,000 points by dining and completing online reviews at 20 participating merchants, you will get a total of 300 bonus points (courtesy of the Thank You bonus) and 200 bonus points (courtesy of the Review bonus).
Which Restaurants Participate In The Southwest Dining Program?
Most of the restaurants that participate in this program are small and locally-owned restaurants, bards, and cafes. You won’t find large food chains like Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Chick-fil-A.
Here’s an example of participating restaurants from New York City.
If you want to search for Southwest dining partners in your local area, you can visit the Rapid Rewards dining search page.
Using Credit Cards To Earn Extra Points
You can double-dip on earning Southwest points if the cards that you link to your Rapid Rewards dining account are either co-branded Southwest cards or Chase cards (a transfer partner of Southwest). This means that you’ll earn 3 points per dollar at participating merchants plus the points you’ll earn on your cards’ earning categories.
Additionally, these cards also come with big welcome bonuses, and here are examples below:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card – Earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first three months of card membership.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card– Earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership (See card review here).
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card – Earn 40,000 points if you’re able to spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of card membership.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – Earn 80,000 bonus points (worth $1000 when redeemed at Chase Ultimate Rewards) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (See card review here).
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $750 when redeemed at Chase Ultimate Rewards) after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening (See card review here).
Joining Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining is definitely worth it as it gives you the flexibility to earn points whether you’re on the ground or on air. You can use a combination of dining, flying, shopping, or staying at hotels to easily acquire points that you can use towards award redemptions.