Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card worth it? | August 2018

Review: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – August 2018

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Get 50,000 sign-up bonus points, earn unlimited points on all purchases and make the most of flying Southwest

  • Get this card if… you frequently fly Southwest Airlines and want to earn rewards.
  • Good to excellent credit score of 690 to 850 recommended.
Product NameSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Card TypeVisa
Annual Fee$69
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases17.74% to 24.74% variable
Balance Transfer Fee5% 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
Minimum Interest$0
Late Payment Fee$37
Returned Payment Fee$37
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age
Welcome BonusEarn 50,000 points after your first purchase
Reward Value per Dollar1 points
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card comes with an annual fee of $69, but it offers some valuable perks in return. You’ll earn a signup bonus of 50,000 points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. On each account anniversary, you’ll earn 3,000 bonus points. And you’ll also enjoy the overall benefits of flying Southwest: no blackout dates or seat restrictions, two free bags at check-in and no change fees.

The Basics

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is designed for frequent Southwest Airlines travelers. You’ll earn 2x points on all Southwest and qualifying Rapid Rewards purchases as well as 1x points on your everyday spending. Redeem rewards for free flights, seat reservations and more.

The Perks

If you frequently fly Southwest Airlines, you can easily make the $69 annual fee worth it.

  • Sign-up bonus. To qualify for the 50,000-point sign-up bonus, spend only $1,000 in the first three months after opening your account. Bonus points will post to your Rapid Rewards account within eight weeks.
  • Anniversary bonus. To get 3,000 bonus points on your account anniversary each year, you simply need to keep your account active.
  • Earn reward points. Earn 2x points on purchases directly with Southwest Airlines, includes airline tickets, in-flight amenities, vacations package and gift card purchases, as well as at participating Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.
  • Travel benefits. Redeem your points for Southwest seats without worrying about blackout dates or travel restrictions. Your first and second checked bags fly for free. In the event of rescheduling, no change fees apply.

What to watch out for

  • Annual fee. While $69 is only slightly higher than average, paying it won’t do you much good if you don’t fly Southwest Airlines.
  • Foreign transaction fees. If you want a card that you can use overseas, you’re better off looking for a card that comes with no foreign transaction fees.
  • No intro APR. All outstanding balances start attracting interest from the first billing cycle.
  • No airport lounge access. Unlike several other airline frequent flyer credit cards, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers no airport lounge access.

Compare travel credit cards

<h3 class=”header-sideline”>Compare travel credit cards</h3>

Name Product Welcome Bonus Reward Value per Dollar APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee
1 points
16.74% variable
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
1 points
16.74% variable
$495
Mastercard Black Card members receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
2 points
16.74% variable
$995
Earn points every time you spend. Luxury Card enhances your purchasing power by providing you with one (1) point for every one dollar ($1) you spend. Every purchase gets you closer to the rewards you want.
Earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
None (Charge Card)
$550
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
$0 annual fee for the first year ($195 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Earn 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
1.5 points
16.74% to 24.74% variable
$0
20,000 online bonus points offer. Ditch the restrictions of typical airline rewards cards. Any airline, any hotel, anytime. No blackout dates.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of your account opening, and an additional 30,000 points when you spend a total of $30,000 on purchases within the first year of your account opening.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
1.5 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$95
Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$450
Earn 50,000 BONUS POINTS after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening* — that's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2 miles
14.74%, 21.24% or 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2 miles
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$0 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 a $100 statement credit after your first purchase.
Earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$99
40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open

Compare up to 4 providers

What you should know before applying

Apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card if:

  • You’re at least 18 years old.
  • You’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • You have a valid Social Security number.

What credit score should I have?

To have a better chance at approval, a good to excellent credit score of 690 or higher is recommended.

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

To apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, you’ll need to provide personal and financial details that include:

  • Your full name and contact information
  • Your Social Security number and date of birth
  • Your gross annual income and monthly housing payment
  • An existing Rapid Rewards number, if you have one

1. Go to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card website and click Apply Now.

step 1 Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

2. Complete the application with your personal information like your Social Security number, email address, phone number, birthday and mother’s maiden name. Click Next.

step 2 Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

3. Enter your financial information and click Next.

step 3 Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

4. Enter additional contact information and click Next.

step 4 Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

5. You can add an authorized user at this point, or simply review your application details and submit.

step 5 Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

How long will it take for me to be approved?

After you submit an online application, you’ll find out about its status almost immediately. The bank typically sends a letter notifying you of the same in 7 to 10 business days.

I got the card. Now what?

Look forward to the travel benefits and more this card offers, but use it with caution.

  • Monitor account activity. Use Chase bank’s online banking platform to keep track of your spending and payments 24/7.
  • Redeem points. Points earned are automatically transferred to your Rapid Rewards account at the end of each billing cycle. Redeem your points for any seat on any flight, subject to availability. Transferring reward points to another Rapid Rewards member is also an option.
  • Avoid interest. Pay off your outstanding balance in full before each due date to avoid paying interest. Remember that cash advances attract interest from the day of the transaction.
  • Avoid penalties. Late payment and returned check fees can go up to $37.
  • Contact customer service. If you have questions, contact Chase card services at 800-792-0001, on Twitter @ChaseSupport or log in to your account to send a secure email.

Bottom line

It makes sense to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card if you frequently fly Southwest Airlines and want to make your spending work for you. If you’re looking for better travel perks, consider comparing other airline frequent flyer credit cards.
Compare Chase credit cards

Common questions about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at finder.com. She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

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