One of the glaring gaps in Southwest's Rapid Rewards program has been a mileage mall—a network of online retailers that award points for purchases. Such malls have long been a fixture of the larger airline programs, and of the hotel programs as well.
Last week, just in time for the Christmas shopping frenzy, Southwest remedied that deficiency with the addition of Rapid Rewards Shopping, a collection of more than 700 online merchants that award Rapid Rewards points.
The mall is powered by Cartera Commerce, the e-commerce company that is the behind-the-scenes operator of similar miles-for-shopping applications integrated into the loyalty programs of American, Delta, and United, as well as InterContinental Hotels Group's Priority Club Rewards program.As can be said of any of the airlines' mileage malls, Southwest's features an extensive roster of Internet merchants covering scores of product categories. With so many options, Rapid Rewards members should be able to earn points for just about anything that can be bought online.
A very brief sampling of the participating retailers: Avon, Barnes & Noble, Eddie Bauer, Dell, FAO Schwarz, Harry & David, HP.com, Kmart.com, Lands' End, Lowe's, Nordstrom, Office Max, Sears, Sony, Staples, Target, Toys 'R' Us, Walmart.com.
If you're an active Rapid Rewards member, the ability to augment your earning with points awarded for online shopping potentially adds significant value to the program.
Two things to keep in mind when earning shopping miles:
- Be sure to begin shopping on the mileage mall landing page. In order to earn points, you must log in with your Rapid Rewards membership number so the purchases can be tracked and credited.
- Make a note of the order number (or take a screenshot of the order confirmation screen) for all mileage mall purchases. Points should be credited "within six to eight weeks from purchase date." Monitor your account to confirm that points are received. If they don't show up, you'll want evidence to support your retroactive credit request.