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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.

40,000

Points as welcome offer

Up to 2x

Points

$99

Annual fee

15.99% to 22.99%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Product NameSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Card typeVisa
Annual fee$99
Purchase APR15.99% to 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR15.99% to 22.99% variable
Balance transfer fee$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash advance rate24.99% 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 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 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 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.

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 bonus40,000 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.
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: 40,000 Rapid Rewards points.
    Make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening to earn this bonus. This gets you half way to earning the famous Southwest Companion Pass.
  • 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 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: 6,000 points.
    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 40,000 Rapid Rewards points?

You can get a lot out of 40,000 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.
  • Annual fee: $99.
    Midtier airline cards have similar fees. For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (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
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
American Express® Gold Card
35,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $350 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
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
With a massive welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card and up to 7x points at Hilton, this is a solid pick for Hilton fans and occasional travelers. Rates & fees
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
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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.

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 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.

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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