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You can earn Southwest points with the Rapid Rewards Dining program: Here's how

Oct. 01, 2022
7 min read
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.


Earning points and miles for dining can be lucrative, especially when using top dining credit cards. However, there are other ways to earn more rewards. Dining reward programs, including Southwest's Rapid Rewards Dining program, are among the best ways to earn additional rewards.

Southwest's Rapid Rewards Dining program is hands down one of the easiest ways to earn Southwest points. While most major airlines offer a dining rewards program, Southwest’s is one of the best. That’s because earning enough points for an award ticket is relatively easy. After all, some Southwest awards cost just a few thousand points.

Here’s what you need to know to start working toward your next reward flight with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program.

How to join Rapid Rewards Dining

Joining Rapid Rewards Dining is quick and easy. Simply sign up by providing your name, address, Rapid Rewards number and email and creating a password. After confirming your account, you can log in and register your rewards credit cards. The next time you dine at a participating restaurant, bar or club using a registered card, you’ll earn bonus points through the program.

WWW.RAPIDREWARDSDINING.COM

Why you shouldn’t link more than one card

While you can register multiple cards with Rapid Rewards Dining, you typically shouldn’t. Instead, you’ll want to enroll only one of your credit cards with each dining rewards program.

Why join multiple programs? Because most programs offer a first-dine bonus, allowing you to earn the maximum return on your restaurant spending. However, most dining rewards programs are part of the same network, so you can’t register the same card with multiple programs.

For example, let’s say you register your Chase Sapphire Reserve® with Rapid Rewards Dining and then decide to add it to your Alaska Mileage Plan Dining profile. The card will automatically be removed from your Rapid Rewards Dining account, so you’ll no longer earn points through Rapid Rewards Dining when using that card.

Because of that, link your highest-earning card to your favorite program to maximize your earnings.

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Related: Make the most of your food delivery orders with these credit cards

Which cards to use with Rapid Rewards Dining

ALEXANDER SPATARI/GETTY IMAGES

Since the restaurant itself is processing your charges, you should use a credit 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.

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. While none of these establishments are part of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program in my area, it’s worth checking yours.

Other great card options for your dining bills include the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining.

Related: Finally reunited: How 100,000 Southwest points are taking me home for the holidays

How to earn points with Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining

ALEXANDER SPATARI/GETTY IMAGES

With Rapid Rewards Dining, you will earn points every time you dine at a participating restaurant, bar or club. All you have to do is use a registered credit card to pay your bill. You’ll get an email confirmation within minutes, letting you know your purchase qualified for bonus points through Rapid Rewards Dining. Here’s a breakdown of how many points you can earn at participating restaurants, bars and clubs 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 currently earn these bonuses:

  • New member bonus: Earn 1,000 bonus points when you spend $25 at a participating restaurant 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.

Related: How 100,000 Southwest bonus points got me an all-inclusive trip to Mexico

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 the Companion Pass. In particular, base points earned from dining count, but bonus points don’t count.

How do I know which restaurants, bars and clubs participate?

To see which restaurants, bars and clubs participate in Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining, enter your zip code or city and state into the search bar on the Rapid Rewards Dining website. You can even click the “Show map” button after searching to see a map of participating merchants.

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 the number of 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 ahead of time if earning rewards factors into your restaurant-picking 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 eight 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.

Related: Food delivery promo codes and offers to help you save money on your next meal

Bottom line

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 new members, earning free flights is easier than with other airlines. Enroll now and start working toward your next award flight.

If you’re looking for other ways to earn more Southwest points, consider signing up for a new Southwest credit card. Currently, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card ($69 annual fee), Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card ($99 annual fee) and Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card ($149 annual fee) all offer a sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Of course, ensure you are under Chase’s 5/24 rule and meet other application requirements before applying. But, if you are eligible to earn one of these bonuses, you could seriously boost your Southwest Rapid Rewards balance.

Additional reporting by Ehsan Haque and Katie Genter.

Featured image by ALEXANDER SPATARI/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023