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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card review

Solid earnings with a few valuable perks, but overshadowed by its brethren.

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.

Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
NEW! Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
NEW! Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Rewards

$69

Annual fee

15.99% to 22.99% variable

Purchase APR

670

Minimum Credit Score

Details

Annual fee$69
Welcome offerEarn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, now enjoy more benefits and more ways to earn.
RewardsEarn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
NEW! Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
NEW! Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Purchase APR15.99% to 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR15.99% to 22.99% variable
Minimum Credit Score670
IssuerVisa
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Review by


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.

Expert review

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is the entry-level Southwest credit card. It comes with a $69 annual fee and 3,000 bonus points on your anniversary each year. This is worth around $40, which drops your annual fee to around $30. The card earns 2x points on Southwest purchases, local transit and commuting, internet, cable, phone services and select streaming.

The card offers a welcome offer of 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months. This offer is as good as you’ll get on a Southwest card: this value is the same across all 3 offerings, including the Premier.

These are all solid offerings and have even improved considerably with the recent card refreshes. However, the same problem remains for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card cards offer better value without drastically increasing the asking price of the card. In fact, both the Plus and Premier are essentially free thanks to the perks and anniversary points on each card, but the Premier earns more points on Southwest purchases and offers more anniversary points each year.

As such, there’s little reason to apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card over the Premier, which is the better “entry-level” option.

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

Apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card if you’re at least 18 years old in Alabama and Nebraska or 21 in Puerto Rico, you have a valid Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification number. Here’s how to apply:

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

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card benefits

  • Signup bonus. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months.
  • Rewards. Earn 2x points on Southwest Airlines purchases, 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares, 2x points on internet, cable, phone and select streaming services, and 1x points on all other purchases. 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.
  • EarlyBird Check-In passes. Each card anniversary you can take advantage of 2 EarlyBird Check-In passes. These allow you to automatically check in to your flight ahead of the standard check in and are valued at up to $25 each.
  • 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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card drawbacks

  • Signup bonus eligibility. You may not be eligible for the signup bonus if you already own a Southwest credit card or if you’ve received a new Southwest card signup bonus within the last 24 months. This doesn’t apply if you own a business card or an employee card.
  • No intro APR period. You won’t get a 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers.
  • No priority boarding. Card membership 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. Prior to this card’s refresh, you would have needed to perform some amount of spending to make up for the rest of the value supplied by the card’s anniversary points.

Thanks to the EarlyBird Check-In passes however, you’ll inherently create enough value to offset the card’s annual fee so long as you travel and use those 2 passes.

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.

Compare airline credit cards

Southwest Credit Cards are valuable for Southwest fliers, but not necessarily the strongest airline cards on the market. If you’re not dedicated to Southwest, have a look at some of your other options by selecting up to four cards and selecting Compare.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
100,000 miles after you spend $10,000 in your first 6 months of account opening
10x miles on hotel and rental car purchases booked through Capital One Travel, 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on every other purchase

$395
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants and on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on other eligible purchases
$0
Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases and dining with this simple, entry-level Delta card, and pay no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
40,000 miles after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months.
Plus, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on other eligible purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card reviews and complaints

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 Credit Card is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau but it has an C+ rating and a composite score of 1.18 out of 5 stars based on 229 customer reviews as of December 2021. Most customer complaints revolve around poor customer service and hidden costs Chase credit cards in general. Make sure you read your card’s terms and the rewards agreement to avoid issues with your account.

As of December 2021, Chase earns a Trustpilot score of 1.6 out of 5. Most negative reviews cite slow responses to fraud complaints and less-than-helpful customer service. Positive reviews cite the bank’s great mobile app and quick resolutions to their issues. Overall, your mileage may vary with Chase customer support.

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 1.5 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 benefit from the Rapid Rewards program. But even then, the Rapid Rewards Premier offers greater value without a tangible increase in fees, making it the superior entry-level card choice.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: What’s changed?

12/8/2021Old: Earn up to 100,000 points – 50,000 when you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and another 50,000 after you spend $12,000 total in your first 12 months.New: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
10/19/2021Old: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.New: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and another 50,000 points after you spend $12,000 total in your first 12 months.Added: Earn 2x points on local transit and commuting, internet, cable, phone services and select streaming; 2 EarlyBird Check-In each year
07/15/2021Old: Earn 65,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.New: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
05/13/2021Old: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.New: Earn 65,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

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