Southwest Airlines Credit Card: Score Two Roundtrip Flights Today
Aw, nerds! This card is no longer available, let alone the promotion described below. If you’re looking for another travel rewards card, with miles you can redeem on Southwest, then look no further than the Capital One Venture Rewards. You can redeem your miles for travel on any airline, including Southwest, the card earns 2 points per dollar on all purchases and its annual fee is relatively low, at $59 (waived the first year).
Good news: the Southwest Airlines credit card’s 2 roundtrip flights promotion is back! They’ve doubled their signup bonus to 50,000 Rapid Rewards Miles, worth $800 of Wanna Get Away fare and enough for two roundtrip flights after required spending – not bad at all. There’s effectively no annual fee, and did we mention two roundtrip flights as a bonus? Southwest is pretty much universally regarded as America’s favorite. And the scrappy little airline just won a little more of our hearts with its Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card.
Two roundtrip flights bonus
Let’s start with the flights because—let’s be honest—that’s why you’re reading. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus grants 50,000 Southwest Airlines Miles. When redeeming for airfare, 50,000 miles is equivalent to $500 in basic economy fare or $800 in budget “Wanna Get Away” fare. So bam, there you go. No spending minimum. No time stipulation. One purchase—jellybeans or a Rolex, whatever, doesn’t matter—and you’re on your way.
Beyond the signing bonus, rewards accumulate at 2% on Southwest, Rapid Rewards Hotels and Car Rental Partner purchases. Rapid Rewards Hotels include Best Western, Choice Hotels, Hyatt, La Quinta, Marriott, Starwood, Venetian/Palazzo and Wyndham. Car Rental Partners include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty. All other purchases earn a flat and unlimited 1%.
Right now, Southwest is also offering the opportunity to earn rewards on balance transfers at a rate of 1 point per dollar transferred. Balance transfer rewards are capped at 15,000 points. And keep in mind, you will have to pay the transfer fee, which is 3% of the transferred sum ($5 minimum).
Loyal and loving, Southwest will never forget your anniversary. Every year, to commemorate your signing, Southwest will present you with a 6,000-mile gift, worth $60 in standard or $100 in budget airfare. Any of your miles, by the way, can be redeemed for gift cards, car rentals, cruises and hotel stays in addition to flights.
The Southwest card does come with a $100 annual fee, but that’s more than negated by the anniversary bonus if you redeem for Wanna Get Away fare. The signing bonus, the recurring anniversary bonus and the ongoing, unlimited rewards all work to counteract the cost. If you’re a frequent flyer (or just want that bonus), sign up!
Don’t like the annual fee?
Even though the Southwest card’s $99 annual fee is pretty much erased by an anniversary bonus of $100 in Wanna Get Away fare, you might simply want an airline card with no annual fee. That’s chill. Here’s a good no-fee airline offer:
The Amex Blue Sky earns 1.33% on all purchases – you earn 1 Blue Sky Point per $1 spent, and you can redeem 7,500 points for a $100 statement credit to offset any travel expense. There’s no annual fee, plus there’s no interest on purchases and transfers for 12 months. Keep in mind, though, that unlike the Capital One® Cash Rewards - $100 Cash Back Bonus, there’s a foreign transaction fee, and Amex isn’t as widely accepted as Visa.
Out of all the existing American airlines, Southwest is the least likely to blindside flyers with hefty ancillary fees. It’s the only American airline to offer 2 free checked bags and charge no ticket change fee. Additional baggage is only 50 bucks a bag, and Southwest has one of the best military baggage discounts out there. Like we said, if you’re looking at airline branded credit cards, the Southwest Rapid Rewards is your best bet. But remember, Southwest is strictly domestic. At the very least, they acknowledge this shortcoming by offering flight rewards to over 800 international locations through other airlines.
Southwest vs. Venture + Sapphire
When analyzing travel cards, we like to put them in the ring with our two reigning champs: the Capital One Venture and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Both are general travel cards unattached to a specific airline or travel service, allowing for reward redemption through a wide variety of airlines, hotels and rental services. Here’s how the Southwest card matches up against the top contenders in its class.
While Southwest limits you to earning 2% on specific travel categories, the Capital One Venture accrues miles at a flat 2% rate on all purchases, meaning you’ll earn twice as fast on just about everything. The Venture’s $59 annual fee is waived the first year, boosting its value What’s really wonderful about Capital One’s No Hassle Miles is their versatility. You can redeem for flights on any airline, stays at any hotel, car rentals through any service, vacation packages and cruises without blackout dates or restrictions. If you’re traveling internationally, the Venture charges no foreign transaction fee. Southwest, in contrast, charges an additional 3% on every out-of-country purchase. We recommend the Venture for travelers who value their options and enjoy a high rewards rate.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is known for its staggering signing bonus. At 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards, the bonus is worth 25%when redeemed for travel. That right there may be impetus enough to give the Sapphire a whirl. Ongoing rewards accumulate at 2% on travel and dining and 1% on everything else. Similar to Southwest, the Sapphire offers an annual gift. But rather than giving you a fixed sum of points, you’ll receive a dividend equal to 7% of your total miles earned over the past 12 months. To put the icing on the cake, the Sapphire charges no foreign transaction fee, and you’ll use 20% fewer points when using Chase to book your travels. The downside? A $95 annual fee. Luckily, the fee is waived the first year, and Chase offers an unusual number of ways to maximize rewards.