Earning points and miles on dining purchases can be lucrative. One way to earn more rewards on some dining purchases is by enrolling in and utilizing a dining reward program. Many loyalty programs offer dining rewards programs, but we’ll discuss the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program in this guide.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program is one of the easiest ways to earn Southwest points. Earning Southwest points at participating restaurants and bars may be appealing since some Southwest Rapid Rewards flight redemptions cost just a few thousand points. As such, it’s relatively easy to accrue enough points to book a Southwest flight.
How to join Rapid Rewards Dining
Joining the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program is quick and easy. Sign up by providing your name, location, Rapid Rewards number and email address. You’ll also need to create a password and confirm your account. Once you do so, log in and register one or more rewards credit cards. Then, the next time you dine at a participating restaurant or bar and pay using one of your registered cards, you’ll earn Southwest points through the Rapid Rewards Dining program.
However, you can’t register the same card with multiple programs since most dining rewards programs are in the same network. For example, let’s say you register your Chase Sapphire Reserve with Rapid Rewards Dining and then add it to your Alaska Mileage Plan Dining profile. Your card will automatically be removed from your Rapid Rewards Dining account once you add it to another dining rewards program. As a result, you’ll no longer earn points through Rapid Rewards Dining when you pay for dining at an eligible venue with that card.
How to earn points with Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining
With Rapid Rewards Dining, you will earn points every time you dine at a participating restaurant or bar and use a registered card to pay your bill. Here’s a breakdown of how many points you can earn at participating restaurants and bars through Rapid Rewards Dining:
- If you opt in to receive email notifications: 3 Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent and an additional 10 points for each completed dining review
- If you opt out of email notifications: 1 point per every two dollars spent
In addition to points earned for every dollar spent, Rapid Rewards Dining members can often earn these bonuses:
- New Member Bonus: Earn 500 bonus points when you spend $25 at a participating restaurant or bar and complete an online review within the first 30 days of joining.
- First Step Bonus: Earn 500 bonus points after you earn 1,500 points from dining and completing reviews (one-time only).
- Thank You Bonus: Earn 300 bonus points each time you earn 1,000 points from dining and completing reviews.
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The best cards for Rapid Rewards Dining
When you dine at a participating restaurant or bar, you can earn rewards through a dining rewards program and the credit card you use to pay.
Since the restaurant itself is processing your charges, you should use a card that earns bonus points on dining. My favorite is the American Express® Gold Card, which earns 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. The Amex Gold also offers up to $10 in monthly credits valid at select restaurants (up to $120 in statement credits annually), including The Cheesecake Factory, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations, once you enroll.
Other great card options for dining include the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which each earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining. Or, if you want to earn more Southwest points, you can enroll one or more Southwest credit cards in the Rapid Rewards Dining program and then use these cards to pay at participating restaurants and bars.
Related: The best credit cards for dining
Frequently asked questions
Do points earned through Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining count toward the Companion Pass?
Some points earned through the Rapid Rewards Dining program count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass. In particular, base points earned from dining count, but bonus points don’t.
How do I know which restaurants and bars participate?
To see which restaurants and bars participate in Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining, enter your zip code or city and state into the search bar on the Rapid Rewards Dining website.
Can you earn points on takeout?
You can earn points on takeout with Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining. Just provide your credit card number over the phone or pay in the store, and you’ll earn points as if you’re dining in. However, you won’t earn points through Rapid Rewards Dining if you use a third-party booking platform or food delivery app.
Is there a limit on how many points I can earn with Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining?
Some restaurants impose a monthly limit on the number of points you can earn with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program. Others restrict the days of the week when you can earn points.
Be sure to check the individual restaurant page on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining website beforehand if earning Southwest points through the dining rewards program factors into your dining decision.
Is Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Dining program worth it?
Since joining the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program is free and you don’t have to do anything beyond registering your credit card, it’s worth doing. I signed up for various dining rewards programs — each with a different credit card — many years ago. To this day, I’ll occasionally get an unexpected email notifying me I earned points dining out. It’s a great way to earn points on autopilot.
Joining a dining rewards program is a great way to maximize a big spending category without much effort. Thanks to Southwest’s low fares and the various bonuses offered to dining rewards program members, earning Southwest award flights is easier than with other airlines. Enroll now and start working toward your next award flight.