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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Fewer Perks, Lower Fee

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card review
KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card lets you earn 2x points on Southwest purchases, certain hotel and rental car purchases, rideshare and commuting expenses and phone, internet and cable services. 
  • What we think: For Southwest loyalists who want to earn solid rewards without paying a high annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus could be a good option. However, it has fewer perks and a lower earning rate than other Southwest credit cards, so super-loyalists may find more value in a higher-tier option.
  • You earn 1x points on all other purchases.
  • You can redeem rewards for flights, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise and hotel or car rentals.
  • This card comes with a $69 annual fee.
SUMMARY

Looking for a new travel rewards credit card for your wallet? This Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card review helps you understand:

  • How you can earn Rapid Rewards with this card and what value they bring you
  • What other cardmember benefits you might take advantage of
  • How this card stacks up against other options
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Key Information
Earn 2X points on Southwest purchases, purchases with Southwest hotel and rental car partners, local transit, commuting, internet, cable, and phone services, and 1X points on other purchases. $69 annual fee.

Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card worth it?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is a good option for someone who wants a travel credit card to earn rewards and flies regularly with Southwest Airlines.

The annual fee is comparatively low, and you can easily recoup that expense each year by leveraging just a couple of the perks or rewards associated with this Chase credit card.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Welcome bonus is generous
  • You get 2x points on a variety of categories, not just on Southwest purchases
  • The annual fee is competitive compared to similar cards
  • You can redeem points for more than flights
  • The card comes with other protections and benefits
Cons
  • No introductory APR offer
  • Other cards, including other Southwest Rapid Rewards cards, have more generous rewards structures
  • The card is not as beneficial if you don’t fly Southwest regularly

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card rewards

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus card offers an enticing welcome bonus and options for earning rewards points on all your purchases. 

Welcome bonus

Currently, new cardholders can qualify for 85,000 bonus points by spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Note that this welcome bonus is only available if you don’t already have a Southwest Rapid Rewards card and haven’t earned a bonus in the past 24 months.

Earn rewards

Below is a Southwest Rapid rewards review of the types of points you can earn and how much you earn in various spending categories:

You can also earn points via Chase’s Refer-A-Friend program. If you are a cardholder in good standing, you can refer friends or others by recommending the Chase Southwest credit cards to them. If they apply and are approved, you get 20,000 Rapid Rewards points. You can earn up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points each year via this referral program. 

Redeem rewards

Southwest makes it fairly easy to redeem Rapid Rewards points. There aren’t blackout dates, and you don’t have to rely on award availability. 

Redemption options are based on the cost of the flight, and points are typically valued at around 1.4 cents each or higher. That means 100,000 points will get you $1,400 in airfare, at least.

Flexible redemption options mean you don’t have to redeem rewards for flights, though. Some other ways to use your points include:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card benefits

The benefits of a Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card extend beyond points you can redeem for travel or other value.

Earn toward Southwest Companion Pass 

You can leverage your card rewards points to get a Companion Pass faster. Every point you earn counts toward a Companion Pass, and that includes the welcome bonus. You also get 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying bonus points each calendar year as long as your account is in good standing.

With a Companion Pass, you can have someone fly without you without paying for airfare. You do have to pay mandatory taxes, though.

To earn this pass, you must fly 100 one-way flights or earn 135,000 Rapid Rewards within a calendar year. You have the Companion Pass for the rest of that year. For most people, it’s much easier to meet the rewards threshold — especially with credit card points — than the flight threshold.

EarlyBird Check-In

EarlyBird Check-In is an option that checks you in automatically up to 36 hours before a flight. That’s well before the typical check-in period, and this perk helps you get a better boarding spot. You usually have to pay for the perk, but as a Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus cardholder, you get two free EarlyBird Check-Ins annually.

In-flight discounts

When you use your card to make in-flight purchases, you get 25% back. 

Travel insurance

This card may provide coverage such as:

Not every version of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card comes with all these coverages — you need the Visa Signature version of the card to get access to some of these perks. 

Car rental insurance

When you pay for the full cost of a car rental with this card, you can waive the collision damage fee at the car rental agency. Your account includes insurance that covers accidental damage to a rental car.

Travel and emergency assistance services

The Visa Signature version of the card lets you access a 24/7 hotline for assistance with travel needs and emergencies. 

Anniversary points

As long as your account is in good standing, you get 3,000 anniversary points each year. These points count toward Companion Pass status.  

DoorDash DashPass Subscription

You can get a complimentary year of DoorDash’s DashPass as a card member. This offer is good through the end of 2024. After your complimentary subscription is over, your card is automatically charged for service unless you cancel it.

Extended warranty and purchase protection

When you purchase products with this card, you can get an extra year of coverage after the manufacturer’s warranty expires on qualifying items. You also get purchase protection for up to 120 days on qualifying products. This protection covers your losses in the event of theft or accidental damage. It’s limited to $500 per claim or $50,000 total per account.

Fees, rates & limit

When comparing credit cards to decide which one you might apply for, always read the fine print to understand the costs of holding the card.

Fees

This card comes with an annual fee of $69. The anniversary bonus of 3,000 Rapid Rewards points plus the two EarlyBird Check-Ins you get each year have a value that’s slightly over that amount, so card members who fly with Southwest regularly can easily balance the annual fee with rewards.

Here are some other fees you might want to consider:

Interest rates

Understanding the Southwest Airlines credit card interest rate helps you know how much your debt might cost if you carry a balance forward each month. The interest rates vary depending on your creditworthiness and the balance type. 

Here’s a quick guide to possible rates with this card:

Credit limit

How much you’re approved for depends on factors such as your credit score, your income and how much debt you currently carry. Reports from cardholders note a minimum credit limit of $2,000 and a maximum credit limit of $30,000 or more. 

How the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card compares

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card is an entry-level rewards credit card for travel, and as such, it compares favorably to other options on the market. 

The annual fee is quite reasonable, especially when compared to the value of the rewards and perks. It’s easy to earn and redeem rewards, and the APR is decent enough.

However, your needs might be better met by another card, including other Southwest-branded options. 

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers a better reward structure and a few more travel perks. 

Here are the main differences:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card offers even better rewards than either the Premier or Plus cards. 

Some major differences include:

While the annual fee on this card is higher than both the Premier and Plus cards, it’s more than covered by the value of the perks for anyone who flies regularly with Southwest. This card may be a better option for frequent Southwest flyers who also travel internationally sometimes. 

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

How does the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card stack up against a non-Southwest card? 

Here are some ways the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card differs from it to give you an idea:

The Sapphire Preferred card may be a better option if you don’t fly frequently with Southwest, as you can still earn decent points on travel expenses and dining. 

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

If you fly regularly with Southwest, the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus card can be a good financial tool.  The main takeaway from this Southwest Airlines credit card review is that this is a good entry-level Southwest-branded travel rewards card.

If you want more flexibility with your airline options, a general travel rewards card may be a better fit.  

Here are some cards to consider:

For business-related travel, you may find that a business credit card better suits your needs.

How do I apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card?

You can learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card and apply online. The application requires information such as your full name, address, contact information, income and Social Security number. A credit check is required, and the credit score needed for Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card approval is typically around 700 or higher. You might be approved for a card if you have a score in the upper 600s and your credit history and income are favorable.

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FAQ: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

What credit score is needed for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card?

You typically need a good to excellent credit score for success in applying for this credit card. You have the most chance of success if your score is 700 or higher.

What is the credit limit for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card?

The minimum credit limit for this card seems to be $2,000. Individuals with excellent credit histories and demonstrated ability to pay the debt may be approved for much higher credit limits. You may also be able to get a credit limit increase after six months of card ownership if you pay your statements on time and manage your account responsibly.

Does the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card have an annual fee?

Yes, the annual fee is $69. It will be applied to the first statement after you set up your account and then every 12 months thereafter.

Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card worth it?

This card may be worthy of your wallet if you are a regular Southwest Airlines customer. You can recoup the annual fee easily with rewards and perk values, even if you only fly a couple of times a year. If you don’t fly with Southwest Airlines often, you may want to consider different travel rewards credit cards that are not co-branded with this airline.

Can you use a Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card anywhere?

Yes, you can use this card anywhere Visa is accepted. You do not have to only use the card with Southwest Airlines.

About the Author

Sarah Stasik
Sarah Stasik Personal Finance

Sarah Stasik is well versed in personal finance thanks to her previous role as a Revenue Cycle Manager for a Fortune 500 healthcare company. Using her inside knowledge and expertise, Sarah often covers topics ranging from insurance and the economics of private healthcare to personal finance and small business management.

With more than a dozen years of writing experience, Sarah has tackled niches that range from technical advances in fintech to personal budgeting challenges. She has covered topics such as insurance and the economics of private healthcare, small business management and accounting, and credit and savings. Her writing focuses on making complex or seemingly daunting financial topics more accessible and providing helpful and relevant resources for readers.

* Opinions expressed here are those of the LA Times Compare Cards Team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser or entities included within this content. See our editorial policy for more details.

All products or services are presented in this content without warranty. The information, including card details such as rates and fees, is accurate at the time of publish. Please visit each bank's website directly for the most current information.

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