Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card review
Solid earnings with a few valuable perks, but watch out for the annual fee.
finder.com’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Get this card if you’re a frequent Southwest flyer.
- Pick something else if you travel infrequently.
- Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 and above.
Points as welcome offer
Up to 2x
15.99% to 22.99%
Purchase APR (variable)
|Product Name||Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card|
|Purchase APR||15.99% to 22.99% variable|
|Balance transfer APR||15.99% to 22.99% variable|
|Balance transfer fee||$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater|
|Cash advance rate||24.99% variable|
|Cash advance fee||$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater|
|Foreign transaction fee||3% of the transaction value|
|Interest free period||Up to 21 days|
|Late payment fee||Up to $39|
|Returned payment fee||Up to $39|
|Additional cardholder fee||$0|
|Rates & fees||rates & fees|
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is an entry-level Southwest credit card. It comes with a $69 annual fee, a strong signup bonus, and 3,000 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary each year. This is worth around $40, which drops your annual fee to around $30.
You also get to earn 2x points on your Southwest purchases, which is in line with all Southwest credit cards, even the more expensive ones. But unlike the other Southwest cards, you’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee if you use the card abroad.
If you’re an occasional Southwest flyer who travels mostly within the US, this could be a card worth considering.
- Signup bonus.
Earn 40,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of card membership.
Earn 2x points on Southwest Airlines purchases. Earn 1x points on all other purchases. This reward structure is geared toward frequent Southwest flyers.
You can redeem points for flights, car rentals, hotel stays, gift cards, merchandise and experiences.
- 3,000 points each card year.
You’ll receive these points after your card anniversary. According to our valuation, they’re worth an average of $48.
- Travel and purchase coverage.
When you make eligible purchases with your card, you’ll be protected by lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, extended warranty protection and purchase protection.
I see a Travel with Transfarency benefit on the card page. Is that a card-exclusive perk?
On the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card page, you’ll see benefits like $0 first and second checked bags, $0 change fees and no hidden fees.
These benefits are included with every Southwest flight, even if you’re not a Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card member.
What to watch out for
- Annual fee.
The card costs $69. Cobranded cards from low-cost carriers typically have similar annual fees. Other midtier airline cards often cost around $95 a year.
- No intro APR period.
You won’t get a 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers.
- No priority boarding.
Being a cardmember won’t help you board your plane sooner. If this is a perk you value, consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card instead.
Is the annual fee worth it?
The card has a $69 annual fee that’s not waived for the first year.
To break even on it with rewards alone, you’ll need 4,313 points according to our valuation. That’s $2,157 spent on Southwest purchases or $4,313 spent on other purchases.
Of course, you’re more likely to have a mix of spending. Here’s a sample expense breakdown to earn 4,313 points.
|Category||Annual spending||Rewards rate||Points earned|
Other benefits that could offset the annual fee
- Signup bonus. Worth $640, it could pay for your annual fee a few times over.
- Annual point bonus. You’ll earn 3,000 points each year after your card anniversary, which can make a significant dent in the amount of points you need to earn.
The card’s travel and purchase protection can be valuable as well.
What should I know before I apply?
You can apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card if:
- You’re at least 18 years old, 19 years old in Alabama and Nebraska or 21 in Puerto Rico.
- You have a valid Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification number.
- Full name
- Mailing address, primary phone number and email address
- Date of birth, Social Security number and mother’s maiden name
- Residential status
- Total gross annual income and primary source of income
- Optional: Rapid Rewards number.
How to apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
- Go to the provider's site and click Apply now.
- Complete the application with personal information like your name, contact details and financial details.
- Review your information and submit your application.
What credit score do I need?
As is common with airline credit cards, you’ll have a better chance of approval with a good to excellent credit score of 670 and above.
Compare airline credit cards
Compare Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card with other cards
What do customers say about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card?
Some customers say Chase periodically changes the signup bonus for this card. You might find a bonus worth tens of thousands of points more or less depending on when you apply.
JPMorgan Chase Co. is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and it receives an F rating from the agency. Reasons for the rating include a failure to respond to dozens of complaints.
The bank currently has just over a one-star rating from over 200 customer reviews.
There are over 2,500 customer complaints on the bank’s profile. According to the BBB, most of them have been answered or resolved.
I got the card. Now what?
- Earn the signup bonus. Spend $1,000 within the first 3 months to qualify for the bonus. You can follow some of our tips to reach this spending requirement.
- Register for an online account. You can register your card at the Chase website. Use your online account to check your balance and pay your bill.
- Set up automatic payments. Automatic payments can help you avoid late fees and potential decreases to your credit score.
- Avoid fees and interest. Late- and returned-payment fees can be as high as $39.
After the close of each billing cycle, you’ll have at least 21 days to pay off your balance. If you do, you won’t be charged interest. To take advantage of this grace period, you must have started the billing period with a zero balance.
- Contact customer service. If you have issues with your card, call Chase Card Services at 800-792-0001.
How do I redeem points from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card?
After each billing cycle, Chase will automatically transfer your points to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account.
Log in to your Rapid Rewards account on the Southwest Airlines website. You have a variety of redemption options for your Rapid Rewards points, including:
- Hotel stays
- Car rentals
- Gift cards
Wanna Get Away flights will typically give you the best value on your points. For these fares, your points will usually be worth an average of 1.6 cents each.
How much are 40,000 Rapid Rewards points worth?
Southwest points are worth an average of 1.6 cents each according to our valuation at the time of writing. This means 40,000 points are worth an average of $640.
What can you get for 40,000 points?
You can get a few one-way flights out of these points. Check out the Wanna Get Away award fares and you might find:
|Origin/Destination||Award cost for one-way flight using Wanna Get Away||Fees|
|Denver (DEN) to Las Vegas (LAS)||4,694||$5.60|
|Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (LGA)||8,127||$5.60|
|Atlanta (ATL) to Mexico City (MEX)||8,736||$33.29|
|Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to Seattle (SEA)||17,705||$5.60|
|Baltimore (BWI) to Nassau (NAS)||26,832||$5.60|
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card travels light on features. But to Southwest’s credit, the airline charges nothing in change fees or your first and second checked bags.
Frequently asked questions
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