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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card review

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Get an annual point bonus that practically pays for the card.

finder.com’s rating: 3.6 / 5

★★★★★

  • Get this card if you want more anniversary points than you’ll find with Southwest’s entry-level card.
  • Pick something else if you want Southwest benefits like an annual travel credit, limited upgraded boardings and discounts on eligible in-flight purchases.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 and above.

30,000

Points as welcome offer

Up to 5x

Points

$99

Annual fee

15.99% to 22.99%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Annual fee$99
Welcome OfferEarn Companion Pass® through 2/28/2022 plus 30,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards2x points on Southwest Airlines and 1x points on all other purchases
Purchase APR15.99% to 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR15.99% to 22.99% variable
Recommended minimum credit score670
IssuerVisa

Expert review

Kevin Joey Chen

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

All three Southwest credit cards are identical — they all earn the same 2x points on Southwest purchases and they all come with a generous signup bonus of a Southwest companion pass valid through 2/28/2022 plus a 30,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. If earning Southwest points is all you want, whichever card you choose, you will earn roughly the same number of points.

What makes each card different is the annual fee, the number of anniversary bonus points you get each year and the additional perks. For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card costs just $30 more annually than the entry-level Southwest card, but you get to offset the difference with 3,000 more bonus points each year, and you’ll save money abroad with no foreign transaction fees.

This makes the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card a good choice for travelers who occasionally fly Southwest and who don’t want to pay foreign transaction fees.

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

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

Southwest’s personal credit cards compared

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Annual fee$69$99$149
Signup bonusEarn Companion Pass® through 2/28/2022 plus 30,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.Earn Companion Pass® through 2/28/2022 plus 30,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.Earn Companion Pass® through 2/28/2022 plus 30,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.
Rewards2x points on Southwest purchases; 1x points on all other purchases.2x points on Southwest purchases; 1x points on all other purchases.2x points on Southwest purchases; 1x points on all other purchases.
Anniversary points3,000 points every year after your card anniversary.6,000 points every year after your card anniversary.7,500 points every year after your card anniversary.
Annual travel credit
x
x
$75
Upgraded boardings
x
x
4
20% off on in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi
x
x
checkmark

Card benefits

  • Signup bonus. Earn one of the most valuable signup bonuses until March 10, 2021. Spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership and earn a Southwest companion pass valid through February 28, 2022, plus 30,000 bonus points. The companion pass itself can be worth thousands of dollars depending on how often you and your companion fly. No other competitor card earns such a generous welcome offer.
  • Rewards. On Southwest Airlines purchases, you’ll earn 2x points. On all other purchases, you’ll earn 1x points. This is the same reward structure as the one you’ll find with all Southwest personal credit cards regardless of the card’s annual fee.
    Redeem points for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, merchandise, experiences, gift cards and more.
  • Anniversary point bonus. Each year after your cardmember anniversary, you’ll earn 6,000 points. They’re worth $78 according to our valuation — that leaves around $20 to offset the card’s $99 annual fee.
  • Travel and purchase coverage. On eligible purchases you make with your card, you’re protected by baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.

What can I get for 30,000 Rapid Rewards points?

You can get a lot out of 30,000 points, which are worth around $845 according to our valuation at the time of writing.

You can potentially redeem these points for a few one-way flights. Here are a few Wanna Get Away award fares you might find on the Southwest website:

Origin/DestinationAward cost for one-way flight using Wanna Get AwayFees
Denver (DEN) to Las Vegas (LAS)6,864$5.60
Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (LGA)10,764$5.60
Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to Seattle (SEA)7,332$5.60

How to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points

What to watch out for

  • Chase 5/24 rule. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. This means your credit card application will be automatically denied if you have opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months.
  • You can have only one Southwest credit card. If you already have a Southwest personal credit card, you won’t be eligible to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Even if you had a Southwest card and you closed it to open a new one, you still won’t be eligible if you earned a Southwest credit card signup bonus in the past 24 months.
  • Signup bonus time to earn. Chase says it may take up to eight weeks for the companion pass to post to you account after you earn it. This is likely the worst-case scenario, but if you need three months to earn the bonus and another eight weeks to get the companion pass, you’ll be left with seven months to use it. This isn’t necessarily bad, though. Considering there may still be some travel restrictions during the first months of 2021, this could give you the chance to earn the companion pass and prepare for travel during the rest of the year.
  • Annual fee: $99.
    Midtier airline cards have similar fees. For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (Terms apply, see rates & fees) has a $99 ongoing annual fee after the first year and the United℠ Explorer Card has a $95 ongoing annual fee.

Is the annual fee worth it?

The card has a $99 annual fee that’s not waived for the first year.

To break even on it with rewards, you’ll need 7,615 points according to our August 2020 valuation. That’s $3,807 spent on Southwest purchases or $7,614 spent on other purchases.

Your spending will probably be a mix of both categories. Here’s how your budget could break down to give you 7,615 points.

CategoryAnnual spendingRewards ratePoints earned
Southwest purchases$1,0002x2,000
Other purchases$5,6151x5,615

Offset the annual fee with these benefits

  • Signup bonus.
    According to our valuation at the time of writing, this bonus is worth $845. It could pay for your annual fee a few times over.
  • Annual point bonus.
    Each year after your card anniversary, you’ll earn 6,000 points. That knocks the points you need to earn to offset the annual fee down to — $807 in Southwest purchases, or $1,615 in other purchases.

Also, consider the value of the card’s travel and purchase protection, which could offer significant savings.

Compare similar travel credit cards

The high-end Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card could be a better option for travelers who want to get the best Southwest perks. This card also has the best value because its perks are enough to offset the annual fee.

As an alternative, consider either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® cards. These cards give you great reward redemption flexibility, and if you decide to fly Southwest, you can always transfer your Chase points to Southwest points in a 1:1 ratio. Check out other alternatives in the table below and see how they stack.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points) and 3x points on directly-booked flights
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $750 through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries.
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on up to $1,000 on groceries until April 30, 2021, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a signup bonus worth $750 plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries with this popular travel card.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
75,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 in combined purchases in the same timeframe
10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other purchases
$550
One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $4,500, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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What should I know before I apply?

You can apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card if:

  • You’re at least 18 years old, 19 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?

For most airline credit cards, you’ll have better approval odds with a good to excellent credit score of 670 and above. Consider following this rule of thumb for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card reviews and complaints

Customers are often impressed with the card’s starting credit limit and signup bonus. However, some cardmembers say they found Chase’s customer service to be poor.

JPMorgan Chase Credit Card is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau but it has an A+ rating and a composite score of 1.18 out of 5 stars based on 229 customer reviews as of October 2020. 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 October 2020, Chase earns a Trustpilot score of 1.3 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.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Earn the signup bonus. To qualify for the bonus, make $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Use these hacks to meet the spending requirement.
  • Register for an account on the Chase website. Use it to check your balance and pay your bill.
  • Set up automatic payments. Automatic payments can take the stress out of keeping current on your bill. They can help you avoid late fees and potential decreases to your credit score.
  • Avoid fees and interest. You could pay fees as high as $39 for late and returned payments.
    After each billing cycle closes, you’ll have at least 21 days to pay off your balance. If you do, it won’t accrue interest. To qualify for this grace period, you must have started the billing cycle 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® Premier Credit Card?

After each billing period, Chase will automatically transfer your points to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account.

Log in to your Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards account. You can redeem Rapid Rewards points for a variety of options, such as:

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

Wanna Get Away flights usually offer the highest value. For these fares, points are typically worth 1.6 cents each on average according to our January 2019 valuation.

Bottom line

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is very similar to Southwest’s entry-level card. Its main difference is its 6,000-point anniversary bonus, which we value at $78.

If you want more Southwest perks, you might like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. Additionally, consider other airline credit cards for a broader range of options.

Frequently asked questions

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