Do you eat out a lot or even on occasion? Did you know you could be earning Southwest points toward FREE travel on the airline just by signing up for their Rapid Rewards Dining program?

It’s an incredibly easy and FREE (my two favorite things!) — in fact, it requires no work after you sign up — way to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points, which are the currency for Southwest’s loyalty program.

All you have to do is sign up for the program using your Southwest Rapid Rewards number and then register ANY credit card that you might use to pay for your meal when eating out.

Toscanini Beaver Creek Resort
Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining is an EASY way to earn Southwest points for free travel!

If you happen to eat at a restaurant that partners with the Rapid Rewards Dining program, you earn 3 points per dollar spent at NO ADDITIONAL COST and without even having to say anything to anyone at the restaurant. It’s automatic! It couldn’t be any easier.

Even better, your points QUALIFY for the 135,000 Rapid Rewards points you need to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, one of the best deals in travel.

The Southwest Companion Pass lets one person fly almost free with you for up to TWO YEARS.

Here’s exactly what you need to do to start earning FREE Southwest points when eating out…


How to Earn Southwest Points Through Rapid Rewards Dining


  1. Make sure you are a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards member. It’s free to join, so if you are not, go to and sign up.
  2. Visit  and click Join Now to sign up.
  3. Enter your information, including your Rapid Rewards number.
  4. Add any and all credit or debit cards that you or your family members might use when dining out (it takes about 24 hours for them to register in the system). Then, anytime you use them to pay for a meal at a participating restaurant — whether you know if the restaurant is part of the program or not — you earn 3 points per dollar spent automatically. To earn a full 3 points, you will need to opt-in to their email notifications, otherwise you will only earn 2 points per $1.
  5. If you have a debit card, you’ll need to use it like a credit card (ie DON’T enter your pin) or it will not register the transaction. Also, keep in mind if you register these cards with a different airline or hotel dining program, they will no longer work with Rapid Rewards Dining. You’ll have to re-add them and de-activate them in the other account.
  6. Points usually appear in your Rapid Rewards account within six to eight weeks of the transaction (and oftentimes sooner!) as registered by the restaurant.
  7. Earn a bonus 10 Rapid Rewards points when you review the restaurant where you dined (they’ll send you a reminder email to review the restaurant). Note: BONUS points do NOT qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass but can be used for FREE TRAVEL.
  8. Set yourself a reminder every 6 months or so to update the credit cards you have enrolled in the program. That will help ensure you don’t miss out on any free points!
  9. If you don’t have any points from dining within 36 months, your membership will expire.


Bonus Points if You’re New to the Program

Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining typically offers 1,000 BONUS Rapid Rewards points to those new to the program. 

You’ll usually earn these points — easy peasy — after spending just $25 at THREE participating restaurants in the first 30 days.

You’ll need to spend $25 at each to earn 500 bonus points at the first restaurant and 250 points at both the second and third restaurants.

Additionally, you must complete a review of each within 30 days. 

Note: These points DO NOT qualify for the Companion Pass.

If you pay with a Southwest credit card, you’ll earn an additional point for every dollar spent or if you pay with Chase Sapphire Preferred (my favorite travel credit card), you’ll earn 2 MORE points for every dollar spent (because this card earns 2 points per $1 on dining expenses), which you can then transfer to Southwest Rapid Rewards points.


More Rapid Rewards Dining Bonuses

Bologna restaurant

Once you collect 1,500 points, they’ll throw in another 500 bonus points.

From that point, every time you earn another 1,000 bonus points, they give you an additional 300 bonus points.

Again, these are all bonus points, which DO NOT qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.


Which Restaurants Participate in Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining?

Newport Beach hotel & restaurant
Oak Grill, Island Hotel Newport Beach

Not all restaurants participate in this program, and they tend to be smaller, locally-owned restaurants instead of large chains.

You can see which restaurants participate in your area and shop around by searching at the top of

You’ll want to be sure to hit one of these restaurants in the first 30 days to earn your 1,000-point bonus.

I have been surprised to earn points when dining at restaurants while we are traveling, and you might be, too! It’s a nice surprise.

Got questions? To contact Rapid Rewards Dining by phone, call 1-800-771-7579.


Rapid Rewards Dining Emails

southwest app

When you opt into Rapid Rewards Dining emails, you’ll not only get 3 points per $1 (instead of 2), but they will notify you of:

  • New restaurants in your area that have joined the program
  • Restaurant recommendations in your area
  • Emails alerting you that you have earned points or that you need to review a restaurant


To Sum It Up

This is a simple, no-hassle method for building your Southwest Rapid Rewards points balance to get you MORE FREE TRAVEL, so definitely take advantage.

It takes a few minutes to set up in the beginning, but it’s well worth it to earn points without ever having to do another thing!


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  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.

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