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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards<sup>®</sup> Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Sign Up Bonus
Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year.
Rewards Rate
Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Extra Perks
3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
Edited by
Julie Sherrier
Reviewed by
Benét J. Wilson
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Who is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card best for?

If you’re a frequent flyer on Southwest Airlines and belong to its Rapid Rewards® loyalty program, it can makes sense to consider adding the reasonable $69 annual fee Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card to your wallet.

One major appeal of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is the opportunity to earn the airline’s popular Companion Pass, which lets you bring along someone on your travels for the cost of government taxes and fees. To earn the Companion Pass, you must accumulate 125,000 qualifying rewards points or fly 100 one-way qualifying segments within a calendar year. The bonus points earned by signing up for a Rapid Rewards card count toward earning the pass.

The downside is that the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card doesn’t come with common airline benefits, such as priority boarding or airport lounge access, like many other airline-branded credit cards. And although you get extra points for spending on Southwest-related travel, Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners and dining (for new card members during the first year), you don’t get them for groceries or gas purchases.

So let’s be honest — there are other airline and travel-related cards that offer more points in these popular categories. And you can’t travel the globe with your points thanks to Southwest’s limited route map (North and Central America and the Caribbean). If you’re OK with these limits, this still could be the card for you.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card overview

    • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
    • 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary each year.
    • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases.
    • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • All points earned count towards Companion Pass®.
    • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
    • Your points never expire, a benefit of the Rapid Rewards® program.
  • Credit needed:
    680 850
    Excellent/Good
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection

Intro Purchase APR

N/A

Intro BT APR

N/A

Annual Fee

$69

Regular Purchase APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Cash Advance Fee

Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Foreign Transaction Fee

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Balance Transfer Fee

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Pros and cons of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Pros

  • Opportunity to earn Southwest Companion Pass
  • 3,000-point bonus every account anniversary
  • Points never expire
  • No blackout dates
  • No seat restrictions
  • Travel to more than 100 destination in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean
  • Southwest is the only airline that offers 2 free checked bags for all travelers

Cons

  • $69 annual fee
  • 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign exchange fee
  • High minimum spend requirement to earn the signup bonus
  • Limited flight availability outside the U.S.

What we like about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Companion Pass

    A big draw of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is its famous Companion Pass, which lets you can choose one person to fly with you for free (you will only be responsible for taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way) each time you purchase or redeem points for a flight. The pass is valid for the remainder of the year in which you earned it, as well as the following full calendar year.

    To get the companion pass, you either have to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.

  • Bonus points

    While the card doesn’t offer many travel benefits on its own, you do get the following rewards rate: Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.. Plus, earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, in the first year.

    You also receive 3,000 bonus points every account anniversary year. Plus, you can earn 10,000 bonus points for each friend who gets the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, up to 50,000 points a year.

  • Ability to earn A-List Status

    Racking up the points, on your card and by flying, helps you reach two levels of elite status on Southwest Airlines. A-List status gives you priority check-in and dedicated security lanes (where available), along with priority boarding, a 25% points bonus, a dedicated customer service line and free same-day standby on flights. A-List Preferred members get all of the above, plus a 100% points bonus and free in-flight Wi-Fi.

  • No blackout dates, seat restrictions, points don't expire

    There are no blackout dates or seat restrictions, you earn unlimited points that don’t expire as long as your card account is open and there are no limits on how many points you can earn.

    You can use your rewards to travel to more than 100 destinations in the U.S., Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. And unlike other major U.S. airlines, Southwest is the only airline that offers two free checked bags for all travelers.

What to watch out for with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Limited international travel options

    If you want to use your points to fly outside the United States, your options are limited. While Southwest Airlines has flights to the Caribbean, Mexico, Belize and Costa Rica, and recently announced plans for Hawaii flights, you’re out of luck if you want to use your points for travel to other international destinations.

  • Fewer perks compared to other Southwest cards

    In exchange for a slightly higher annual fee, both the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card ($99 annual fee) and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card ($149 annual fee) offer the same signup bonus and rewards rate structure, but award cardholders with a higher number of anniversary points each year (6,000 and 7,500 respectively), as well as foreign transaction fees of $0, as well as the ability to earn qualifying points toward elite status.

  • Preferred status doesn't include flying companions

    Cardmembers with A-List or A-List Preferred status flying with family members or travel companions cannot share their early boarding benefits.

Alternate Southwest card

Compare it to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Disclosures |
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
on Chase's secure site
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$99
Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® h
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary each year.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass®.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Your points never expire, a benefit of the Rapid Rewards® program.
750 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

 

It may be difficult to decide whether to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, because frankly, there aren’t many major differences between the two, besides the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card‘s slightly higher $99 annual fee.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers a similar bonus and rewards rate: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. There are also the same travel and purchase benefits.

However, one big difference with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is the ability to earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) each time you spend $10,000 on it, up to $100,000 a year. These TPQs help you earn Rapid Rewards, which unlock the bevy of perks that come with A-List or A-List Preferred elite status on Southwest.

You also get 6,000 bonus points on your anniversary, double that offered by the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. And the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is the one you want to use outside of the country, since it has a $0 foreign transaction fee, unlike the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.

Compare the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card to similar cards

Comparison of four different credit cards
Southwest Rapid Rewards<sup>®</sup> Plus Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards<sup>®</sup> Premier Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards<sup>®</sup> Priority Credit Card Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Welcome Offer
Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year. Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
Annual Fee
$69 $99 $149 $95
Rewards Rate
Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good Excellent Excellent Excellent/Good
Card Details
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card right for you?

If you just want to get your feet wet with your first airline card, then the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is a good choice, especially considering the sign-up bonus offer that’s currently being marketed to new cardholders.

Currently, all three Southwest cards are offering the same sign-up bonus and rewards rate structure, with minor variations in anniversary point rewards and the ability to earn tier qualifying points. Considering that, it can make a lot of sense to just get the lower-tier Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card as it has the lowest annual fee.

Apply Now
on Chase's secure site