If you’re a frequent Southwest Airlines traveler, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus card could be a new way for you to earn free rewards flights and complimentary flight perks, such as free checked bags and no change fees.
This review will cover some key benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus card and drawbacks to consider as you make your choice, as well as suggest some similar cards should you decide it’s not for you.
- 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest flights and hotels and car rentals through Southwest partners; 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- 40,000 bonus points when you spend at least $1,000 within three months of account opening (only for new cardholders who have not received a new cardmember bonus in the past 24 months)
- 3,000 bonus points each year on your cardmember anniversary
- Fly better with up to two free checked bags and no change fees
- No blackout dates and unlimited rewards flights
- Reach Rapid Rewards® status sooner by earning points for all your purchases—not just on Southwest flights
At a glance
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
on Chase's website
- Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
- 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary
- 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
- Earn unlimited points that don't expire as long as your card account is open
- No blackout dates or seat restrictions
- Bags fly free® and no change fees
- Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events and more
1 Point Per Dollar
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Card deep dive
Whether you’re a loyal Southwest traveler or have just started investigating ways to boost your Rapid Rewards® points, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus card is a surefire way of earning more points than you can just by flying with the airline. But given its annual fee and other limitations, it’s not the best fit for every traveler.
Get it: If you’re a frequent Southwest traveler who wants to be rewarded for your loyalty to the airline
Southwest fliers may already be Rapid Rewards® members but can accelerate their way to more free rewards flights with the Plus card. If you find yourself on Southwest often—perhaps you travel regularly between Southwest hubs—the Plus card can help you earn points for not only flights but also everyday purchases.
Some of the benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus card include:
- Points on every purchase: Earn two points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines flights and with select hotel and rental car partners and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. You can also earn one point per dollar up to $15,000 on balance transfers made within 90 days of when you open the account. There is no cap on the number of points you can earn and rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and in good standing
- Bonus points every year on the year: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend at least $1,000 within three months of opening your Rapid Rewards® Plus card, in addition to 3,000 bonus points every year for your cardmember anniversary
- Extra perks when you fly with Southwest: Cardholders enjoy up to two free checked bags (within weight and size limits), no change fees, unlimited rewards flights, and no blackout dates
- Unlock status sooner: Members of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® program can receive a companion pass by flying 100 qualifying one-way flights or earning 110,000 points in a calendar year. Once you receive the pass, you may choose one person to fly free with you when you purchase or redeem points for a flight, for the remainder of that year and through the following calendar year.
Skip it: If you’re looking for a travel card to use abroad, or you don’t fly often with Southwest
While you will earn extra points for booking Southwest trips on the Rapid Rewards® Plus card, you won’t be able to use the card abroad without incurring extra fees—even if you’re traveling to one of Southwest’s international destinations.
In addition, this probably isn’t the card for occasional Southwest travelers, as it’s most valuable when used to purchase and redeem Southwest flights—and the $69 annual fee is high enough that it’s worth making sure you’ll actually redeem at least that amount in rewards per year.
Consider these drawbacks of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus card:
- No escaping the fees: In addition to a $69 annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus card charges fees for foreign transactions, balance transfers, and late payments. If you’re looking for a card to take on international trips but want to stick with Southwest, check out the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier card
- No bonuses for non-Southwest flights: As you might expect given this is a Southwest card, the two point per dollar offer is only valid for flights booked with Southwest and for hotel stays and car rentals booked with eligible partners. If you tend to airline hop, a travel rewards card not co-branded by an airline can help you earn points for purchases with any airline
- Highest-value point redemption is for flights: While seemingly straightforward, it’s worth the reminder that points earned using your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus are most valuable for booking travel with Southwest. The option to redeem points for items like gift cards through the Rapid Rewards Points Center does exist, but keep in mind you’ll get more bang for your buck using those points to book rewards flights
- Not for poor credit: As with most travel rewards cards, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus requires excellent credit, so is unfortunately not an option if you’re still building your credit history or recovering from a ding in your score.
If you’re a loyal Southwest traveler (particularly in the U.S.), it’s hard to go wrong with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus card, which offers a generous welcome bonus, annual membership anniversary bonuses, and extra benefits when you fly. But if an annual fee isn’t for you or booking with a number of different airlines better suits your travel style, you might want to look elsewhere.