Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is ideal for someone who wants to earn Rapid Rewards points but doesn’t want to pay the typical annual fee for an airline rewards card. This card also works best for someone who wants to travel where Southwest flies, whether that’s around the Continental U.S, or to Hawaii, the Caribbean, or Mexico.
Lowest annual fee among Southwest credit cards
No blackout dates
Nice bonus offer for new cardholders
Modest rewards for regular purchases
Annual fee not waived the first year
Foreign transaction fee
- Lowest annual fee among Southwest credit cards: The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card has the lowest annual fee of all Southwest credit cards at $69 per year. By comparison, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card has a $99 annual fee and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card comes with a $149 annual fee.
- No blackout dates: The Southwest Rapid Rewards program has no blackout dates, meaning you can use your points to book a seat on any flight if one is available.
- Nice bonus offer for new cardholders: Earn up to 100,000 bonus points. Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months.
- Modest rewards for regular purchases: Since many travel credit cards offer a few different bonus categories, it’s disappointing that the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card only gives you bonus points for travel purchased via Southwest.
- Annual fee not waived the first year: While many travel and airline credit cards waive their annual fees for the first year, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card charges $69 for each year you have the card.
- Foreign transaction fee: Although Southwest mainly serves U.S. destinations, it does serve international destinations, so it’s disappointing to see that the card charges a 3% fee for transactions in foreign currencies.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Bonus for New Cardholders
You have the opportunity to earn 100,000 bonus points (estimated $1,450) with this card. Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months.
This welcome bonus is one of the best values we’ve seen among airline cards with annual fees under $80.
Earning Points & Rewards
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card offers the most rewards when you use it to make purchases through Southwest.com. You can earn 2 points per $1 spent on flights, plus hotels, rental cars, and vacations booked through the airline. However, there are no other bonus categories. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
While the card’s rewards rates are equal to those on Southwest’s other cards, they lag behind competing airline cards. A few of those offer 3 points per dollar spent on purchases with the airline, and several others give bonus points for spending in categories like groceries and dining.
We like, however, that you can earn 3,000 bonus points every year on your cardholder anniversary.
You can redeem your points for award seats on Southwest flights, gift cards, travel bookings through Southwest, merchandise and certain events.
Your points are worth the most when you redeem them for award seats: 1.50 cents per point, according to our research. They’re worth significantly less when you choose to redeem them for gift cards and merchandise, so we recommend using your points to book awards flights.
How To Get the Most Out of This Card
Start by spending $2,000 within three months in order to earn the 50,000-point bonus. Then, spend a total of 12,000 in 12 months for another 50,000-point bonus. It makes sense to use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card for purchases of airfare, hotels, or rental cars through Southwest as well, since you earn 2 points for each dollar you spend.
To further maximize your rewards, you might consider pairing this card with one of the Chase Sapphire credit cards, which let you earn more points in other categories while giving the option to transfer your points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio. Also, keep an eye out for Southwest’s frequent sales so you can stretch your miles as far as they can go.
This card provides a couple of additional perks the editors of The Balance consider “excellent.”
- Lost luggage reimbursement: Get up to $3,000 reimbursed for you and members of your immediate family if your luggage is lost by a common carrier and you paid for the fare with your credit card.
- Baggage delay insurance: Receive up to $100 per day in reimbursement for essential expenses (clothing, toiletries) that result from a luggage delay of six hours or more. This coverage is good for up to three days.
- Travel accident Insurance: You or your beneficiaries can receive up to $500,000 in benefits if you experience death or bodily harm during a trip you book with your card.
Applicants could receive a Visa Signature or Visa Platinum version of the card. The perks and benefits listed here are for the Visa Signature. If you get the Visa Platinum, you’ll get $250,000 of travel accident insurance coverage, and you won’t get access to Visa’s travel and emergency assistance services.
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Extended warranties
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Roadside assistance hotline
- Travel and emergency hotline (for Visa Signature)
Chase snagged the fourth spot out of 11 issuers in the J.D. Power 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, earning a rating of 809, which is just below the average of 810.
Chase offers free credit scores and other resources through its Chase Credit Journey program, which is also available to non-cardholders.
This card has industry-standard security features, like fraud alerts and $0 fraud liability. The Credit Journey tool includes credit monitoring, with alerts that can help you spot fraud.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card’s Fees
This card’s fees are in line with industry norms. Travelers who spend a lot of time overseas should take note that this card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.