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To earn Southwest points, first, you should be registered in the Southwest loyalty program - Rapid Rewards®. Once you are a member, you will earn points on every dollar spent to fly Southwest. When you do not fly, you can earn Southwest points with the partners. Also, you can transfer points or buy them. If you want to earn even more points, you can take advantage of the Southwest credit cards. Southwest cards allow earning 2 points on Southwest flights and 1 point on everyday purchases, also they come with additional benefits and perks.

However, to earn enough points you should fly Southwest often. You can buy points for your flight if you don't have enough points, but the general rule is to avoid buying points as it is generally a poor value proposition. Keep in mind that points expire after 24 months of account inactivity.

While you might expect a co-branded Southwest credit card to be the best way to earn Rapid Rewards, you would be mistaken. Travel rewards cards that allow you to redeem points toward any travel purchase, not just those made with one airline, and have generous rewards, seem to offer more. For instance, the Discover it® Miles card offers unlimited 1.5x miles on all purchases. All the miles you've earned at the end of your first year will be matched (providing you are a new card member). For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles.

You can redeem Discover miles for any travel expenses, including airline tickets, hotels, cruises, rental cars and more. This card comes with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. Rewards have no expiration date.

As you see, applying for an airline co-branded card is not always a good idea. Choose a card with great rewards, first-year miles match and flexible redemption options, like the Discover it® Miles, to earn miles for your next travel.