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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card review

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Solid earnings with a few valuable perks, but watch out for the annual fee.

  • 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.

40,000

Points as welcome offer

Up to 2x

Points

$69

Annual fee

17.74% to 24.74%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Product NameSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Card typeVisa
Annual fee$69
Purchase APR17.74% to 24.74% variable
Balance transfer APR17.74% to 24.74% variable
Balance transfer fee$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash advance rate26.74% variable
Cash advance fee$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction fee3% of the transaction value
Interest free periodUp to 21 days
Late payment feeUp to $39
Returned payment feeUp to $39
Additional cardholder fee$0
Rates & feesrates & fees

Expert review

Kevin Joey Chen

Review by


Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer who has written nearly 500 Finder articles. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and expertly navigate the cutting-edge financial tools available -- including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.

Expert review

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is an entry-level Southwest credit card. It comes with a $69 annual fee, 40,000 bonus points signup bonus, and 3,000 bonus points on your card 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.

The perks

  • Signup bonus: 40,000 Rapid Rewards points.
    To earn this bonus, make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.

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/DestinationAward cost for one-way flight using Wanna Get AwayFees
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

How to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points

  • Rewards: Up to 2x points.
    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.

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.

CategoryAnnual spendingRewards ratePoints earned
Southwest purchases$5002x1,000
Other purchases$3,3131x3,313

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.

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

You’ll also like …

  • 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: $69.
    Cobranded cards from low-cost carriers typically have similar annual fees. Other midtier airline cards often cost around $95 a year.

Compare airline credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months plus 25,000 miles after spending $10,000 in the first 6 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening plus 25,000 miles after spending $10,000 in the first 6 months.
40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on Southwest Airlines and 1x points on all other purchases
$99
Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
40,000 miles after first purchase, plus 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days with promo code SB4060 (Worth over $1,000)
3x miles on Avianca, 2x miles on gas and groceries, 1x miles on all other purchases and 15% Multiply Your Miles discount
$149
Get a signup bonus worth over $1,000. Earn 40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first purchase, plus 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days with promo code SB4060
20,000 miles after first purchase, plus 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days with promo code SB4060
2x miles on Avianca, 1x miles on all other purchases and 15% Multiply Your Miles discount
$59
Earn 20,000 bonus LifeMiles after first purchase, plus 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days with promo code SB4060.

Compare up to 4 providers

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.

Required information

  • 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.

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.

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.

How to apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  1. Learn more about how to apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.
  1. Complete the application with personal information like your name, contact details and financial details.
  2. Review your information and submit your application.

I got the card. Now what?

Best Chase credit card offers

  • 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:

  • Flights
  • Hotel stays
  • Car rentals
  • Gift cards
  • Merchandise
  • Experiences

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.

Bottom line

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.

You’ll get the most out of the card’s rewards if you’re a frequent Southwest flyer who can make the most of the Rapid Rewards program. If you’re not, consider a general travel card, which offers points and miles you can redeem for flights, hotel stays and more.

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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