The Southwest Credit Card is most beneficial for consumers who frequently fly Southwest or who are planning a vacation in the near future and want to take advantage of the card’s sign-up bonus (50,000 points after spending $2,000).
This credit card’s rewards points are flexible and can be redeemed for Southwest flights, hotel stays, rental cars, gift cards, and more.
Southwest Rapid Rewards cardholders earn a point for every dollar spent with the card, which tracks with most other airline rewards cards.
Here are some key savings and benefits:
- 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening the account.
- 3,000 bonus points each year on the anniversary of the account.
- 2 points for each $1 spent on purchases made directly with Southwest Airlines, including airfare, in-flight purchases, hotel and rental car partners, and more.
- 1 point for each $1 spent on all other purchases.
- 1 point for each $1 of the first $10,000 of balance transfers made during the first 90 days of the account’s open date.
- First and second checked bags fly for free.
Other notable perks of the Southwest credit card: there are no blackout dates for redeeming points (unlike some airline credit cards), no rewards caps, and points don’t expire.
Plus, after 110,000 points, you can earn a Companion Pass, meaning a person can fly free with you when you purchase or redeem points for a flight.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card APR, Introductory Rates, & Fees
As of 2018, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card has an APR of 17.24 to 24.24 percent, depending on the applicant’s credit score and other financial factors.
This APR is slightly higher than other airline credit cards, which average 15.74 percent.
That difference is notable given that applicants need to have excellent or good credit to qualify for this Southwest credit card (a credit score above 660).
Applicants without a credit card history may not qualify.
This card does have an annual fee of $69, and it doesn’t offer an introductory APR.
Interest on purchases made with the card begin immediately.
Here are other key details about the card:
- Purchase Intro APR: Not Offered
- Transfer Intro APR: Not Offered
- Balance Transfer Fee: 5% (minimum $5)
- Regular APR: 17.24% – 24.24% (V)
- Annual Fee: $69
- Max Late Fee: $37
- Max Overlimit Fee: None
- Max Penalty APR: None
- Grace Period: 21 Days
- Cash Advance Rate: 26.24% (V)
- Cash Advance Fee: 5% (minimum $10)
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
- Smart Chip: Yes
Southwest Credit Card Vs. Other Airline Credit Cards
Though the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card does have a $69 annual fee and common point structure, its sign-up bonus, Companion Pass, and no blackout dates make this card’s rewards stand out from its competitors.
This rewards card may be for you if:
- You travel within the U.S. often.
- You want unlimited rewards.
- You live near a Southwest Airlines hub.
This airline rewards credit card may not be a great fit if:
- You don’t live near a Southwest hub.
- You primarily travel internationally.
- You won’t use the card enough to warrant the annual fee.
Final Verdict: The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card’s flexible points make this card alluring for travelers who frequently travel domestically.
Paired with Southwest’s frequent airfare sales, you can often find one-way flights to major cities for less than 10,000 points per person, which the sign-up bonus points could easily cover.
When used strategically, this card could help you save money on travel.