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 spend a lot for an annual fee. This card also works best for someone who wants to travel where Southwest flies, whether that’s around the continental U.S, to Hawaii, the Caribbean, or Mexico.
Lowest annual fee among Southwest credit cards
Easy-to-reach bonus for new cardholders
No blackout dates
Modest rewards for regular purchases
Annual fee not waived the first year
High ongoing APR
- 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 just $69 per year. For reference, 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.
- Easy-to-reach bonus for new cardholders: This card gives you a boost of 40,000 points after you spend only $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening.
- 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.
- 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.
- High ongoing APR: The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card charges a high variable rate on purchases and balance transfers, which means you’ll pay a lot of interest if you carry a balance.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card New Cardholder Bonus
Once you sign up for the card, you can earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening. This low spending threshold makes earning this bonus easy; after all, you only have to spend $334 on your card per month for three months in a row to qualify.
The Balance estimates this offer is worth about $600 in Southwest airfare, which is a competitive value for a low annual fee airline card.
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 and rental cars booked through the airline.
You can also accrue 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases, but there are no bonus categories such as dining or groceries. Unfortunately, this is one area where the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card may come up short. On the bright side, the points you earn with your card are truly unlimited.
Southwest Airlines doesn’t have a fixed award chart, and it bases its award pricing on the cost of airfare. This is good news for consumers for the most part, since it’s easy to snag a cheap flight (in points) when prices drop during one of Southwest’s frequent sales.
Based on The Balance’s analysis, Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth 1.49 cents each when redeemed for travel on Southwest Airlines. Other ways to redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards include gift cards, other travel (hotels and rental cars), merchandise from select retailers, and events. The redemption value on these options varies.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Make sure you spend at least $1,000 within three months of opening your account to earn the bonus miles. Once you do that, use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card for purchases of airfare, hotels, or rental cars through Southwest as often as you can since you'll earn 2 points for each dollar spent that way.
To maximize your rewards, you might consider pairing this card with a Chase travel credit card that lets you earn more points in some categories while giving the option to transfer 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.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card’s Excellent Perks
This card provides a couple of additional perks the editors of The Balance consider “excellent.”
- Lost luggage reimbursement: Get up to $3,000 reimbursed 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 out-of-pocket expenses that result from a luggage delay of six hours or more. This coverage is good for up to three days.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card’s Other Benefits
- Extended warranties
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is a Chase credit card, so you’ll deal with Chase when it comes to customer service inquiries regarding your account. Chase tied for third out of 11 issuers in the J.D. Power 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, which considered the feedback of over 28,000 U.S. credit card customers. Its score put it in the 'about average' category.
Chase offers a mobile app, which is becoming standard among the bigger banks. In J.D. Power’s 2019 app study, Chase's app placed sixth out of nine, also scoring about average, with 870 of a possible 1,000 points.
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.