Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Review

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This card lets you earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points on your spending, with the lowest annual fee among Southwest credit cards. If your goal is earning Southwest points while forking out as little as possible in fees, this card should be on your list.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Overall Rating
3.3
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $69
Rewards Earning Rate 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.9
for Fees
2.5
for Rewards
3.1
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker
  • Avatar for Brand Loyalist Persona
    Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
    Brand Loyalist

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.

Pros
  • Lowest annual fee among Southwest credit cards

  • No blackout dates

Cons
  • Modest rewards for regular purchases

  • Annual fee not waived the first year

  • Foreign transaction fee

Pros Explained

  • 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.

Cons Explained

  • 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

This card has a limited time offer for new cardholders. If you get the card now, you can earn 40,000 points (worth $580, according to our research) after you spend $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening.

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.

Redeeming Rewards

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: 1.45 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 $1,000 within three months in order to earn the 40,000 bonus mile bonus for new cardholders. 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. 

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 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.

Other Features

  • 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)

Customer Experience

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.

Security Features

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.

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
overall rating
3.3
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $69
Rewards Earning Rate 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Chase. "Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.

  2. Chase. "Pricing and Terms." Accessed Oct. 13 2020.

  3. J.D. Power. "Customers Losing Faith in Credit Card Issuers as COVID-19 Pandemic Lingers, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.