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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.

  • 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.

40,000

Points as welcome offer

Up to 2x

Points

$99

Annual fee

17.74% to 24.74%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Product NameSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Card typeVisa
Annual fee$99
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 feeNone
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 over 450 Finder articles. As a digital nomad, Kevin gained experience with credit and debit cards, foreign transactions, exchange rates and budgeting strategies. Now, he aims to help you get the credit cards you need to travel the world like a pro, too.

Expert review

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a mid-tier Southwest credit card with a $99 annual fee, a 40,000 signup bonus and a solid 6,000 bonus points each year on your credit card anniversary. This is worth around $80, which lowers your card annual fee to $20.

You also get to earn 2x points on your Southwest purchases and 1x points on all other purchases. This is in line with all Southwest personal credit cards.

Because of its 0% foreign transaction fees and worldwide acceptance as a Visa card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card could be a solid choice for occasional Southwest flyers within the US and abroad.

Southwest’s personal credit cards compared

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Annual fee $69 $99 $149
Signup bonus 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months. 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months. 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months.
Rewards 2x 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 points 3,000 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

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

The perks

  • Signup bonus: 40,000 Rapid Rewards points.
    Make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening to earn this bonus.

What can I get for 40,000 Rapid Rewards points?

You may wish you earned more points, seeing as the cheaper Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers a bonus of equivalent value. However, you can get a lot out of 40,000 points, which are worth $640 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/Destination Award cost for one-way flight using Wanna Get Away Fees
Denver (DEN) to Las Vegas (LAS) 4,649 $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.
    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 the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, and it’s geared toward frequent Southwest flyers.

    Redeem points for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, merchandise, experiences, gift cards and more.

  • Anniversary point bonus: 6,000 points.
    Each year after your card anniversary, you’ll earn 6,000 points. They’re worth $96 according to our valuation — almost enough to offset the card’s $99 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 6,188 points according to our January 2019 valuation. That’s $3,094 spent on Southwest purchases or $6,188 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 6,188 points.

Category Annual spending Rewards rate Points earned
Southwest purchases $1,000 2x 2,000
Other purchases $4,188 1x 4,188

Offset the annual fee with these benefits

  • Signup bonus.
    According to our valuation at the time of writing, this bonus is worth $640. 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 188 — $94 in Southwest purchases, or $188 in other purchases.

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

You’ll also like …

  • 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.

The card page has a Travel with Transfarency perk. Will I get that only with Southwest credit cards?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card lists a perk called Travel with Transparency. It’s not a card-exclusive benefit. On each Southwest flight, you’ll get your first and second checked bag free, plus no change fees.

To Southwest’s credit, many other airlines charge for checked bags and change fees. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card may not waive these fees — but it doesn’t have to.

What to watch out for

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card vs Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Compare similar travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
30,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases
$150
Earn 3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases. Rates & fees
20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1.25x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
$0
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
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
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
$0 intro 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.

Compare up to 4 providers

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.

What do customers say about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card?

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 & Co. is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It has an F rating from the agency in part due to a failure to respond to dozens of customer complaints. With an average of 200 customer reviews, its rating is just over one star out of five.

The bank’s profile currently has over 2,500 customer complaints. Many have been answered or resolved according to the BBB.

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

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

I got the card. Now what?

  • Earn the signup bonus. To qualify for the bonus, make $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Use these hacks to meet the spending requirement.

Best Chase credit card offers

  • Use your Companion Pass if you qualify for it. You can select one person as your companion. The pass expires on December 31, 2019.
  • 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 $38 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 $96.

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

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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