Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards members can now savor their restaurant meals even more, knowing that each bite will bring them closer to a flight award. Southwest Rapid Rewards is the latest frequent flyer program to partner with Rewards Network to offer members the ability to earn flight credits for dining. Upon joining Rapid Rewards Dining, members will earn the New Member Bonus of a quarter (0.25) Rapid Rewards credit for the first $25 spent (including tax and tip) at participating restaurants, bars and clubs. You will then continue to earn a quarter (0.25) credit for every additional $100 of qualified spending. You can enroll online at rapidrewardsdining.com and register your credit or debit card(s) with the program. If you have already registered your credit card(s) with a different loyalty program, be aware that you may have to cancel your credit card(s) with that program to participate in the Southwest dining program.
While enrolling in the dining program can give you a boost to an award ticket, don’t expect to quickly and cheaply eat your way to an award–it’s merely a means to add to your credit balance. But when we looked at earning through dining alone, a member would need to spend $6,400 on dining to earn the 16 credits needed for a roundtrip SWA flight award. Compared to mileage-based dining programs, Rapid Rewards Dining isn’t a bad deal for non-elite dining members. Members earn either one or three miles per dollar spent with mileage-based programs, requiring a total spend of $25,000 or $8,333 to earn a 25,000-mile award ticket. Members at the dining elite level earning up to 10 miles per dollar spent in a mileage-based program, however, may earn an award flight after spending only $2,500–assuming they complete an online dining survey to double the miles they normally earn as an elite dining member.
Rapid Rewards Dining does not offer accelerated earning for frequent diners. True to its egalitarian roots, there is only one tier to SWA’s new dining program.