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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card review
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards writer at finder.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and travel the world like a pro. He's taken an extended trip around Europe as a digital nomad, gaining firsthand experience with exchange rates, ideal (and not-so-ideal) credit and debit cards, foreign transactions and budgeting strategies. He earned his BA from UC Davis and has written across many niches at Finder, including cryptocurrency, personal loans, car insurance, real estate and money transfers.
Southwest has three cobranded personal cards, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card sits at the middle of the pack.
Compared to the airline’s entry-level card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers more anniversary points. But you’ll pay a higher annual fee in exchange.
If you want more Southwest perks, try the airline’s top-tier card. You’ll find an annual travel credit, limited upgraded boardings and discounts on eligible in-flight purchases. You’ll also receive more points after each card anniversary than with the mid-tier option.
Signup bonus: 40,000 Rapid Rewards points. Make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening to earn this bonus.
You’ll earn an additional 20,000 points when you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months.
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:
Award cost for one-way flight using Wanna Get Away
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.
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.
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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.
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.
Mailing address, primary phone number and email address.
Date of birth, Social Security number and mother’s maiden name.
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
Learn more about how to apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.
Complete the application with details like your name, contact information and financial information.
Review your details. Then submit your application.
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.
Look for them in your Rapid Rewards account within eight weeks.
No. You can earn unlimited points with this credit card.
As long as your card account stays open, points don’t expire.
If your card account is closed, you can keep points from expiring by earning flight rewards or spending with a Southwest partner at least once every 24 months.
No. You won’t have to worry about blackout dates if you book with Rapid Rewards points.
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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