How to Maximize the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Don't miss this card's Visa Platinum benefits like delayed or lost luggage reimbursement.

Jon Nickel-D'AndreaNovember 5, 2020
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How to get the most from the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

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The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has a low $69 annual fee, yet comes with a lot of perks. If you’re thinking about applying, here’s how to get the most out of it.

Earn the welcome bonus

Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Make a plan to ensure you smartly hit the minimum spending requirement to get the bonus points. At 1.6 cents each, they can be quite valuable.

Plus, every year that you renew your card, you get 3,000 bonus points.

Earn points with both travel and everyday spending

When you use the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card for purchases on Southwest Airlines, you’ll earn 2 points per $1. Spending on hotels and car rentals as well? You’ll also earn 2 points per $1. Everything else that you whip your card out for will net you 1 Southwest point per dollar.

Redeem points for Southwest flights

The points you earn with your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card can take you to any of Southwest Airlines’ more than 100 destinations. Most are in the United States, but there are also quite a few international destinations, including:

  • Aruba.

  • Bahamas.

  • Belize.

  • Cayman Islands.

  • Costa Rica.

  • Dominican Republic.

  • Jamaica.

  • Mexico.

  • Turks and Caicos.

Before the pandemic, Southwest let you use points to book flights all over the world on any of 50 other airlines through its More Rewards program. That option has been suspended due to the pandemic, though Southwest says it hopes to bring it back soon.

Get the Companion Pass

Earn enough points, or fly enough segments in a calendar year, and you’ll earn a Companion Pass that lets your designated companion come along for just the cost of taxes and fees.

Under normal circumstances, you would need to fly either 100 segments or accumulate 125,000 points to earn a Companion Pass. Now, due to COVID-19, Southwest is giving everyone a 25,000-point boost, meaning travelers need to collect only 100,000 points to get that coveted pass. And with the bonus points from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, you have a head start on getting there.

If you’re shooting for this reward, remember that all points must hit your account in a calendar year. For example, if you spend $3,000 on your credit card on Dec. 25 but your bill date isn’t until Jan. 10, those points would count for your 2021 year, which might cause you to miss the mark to earn the pass this year. Time your purchases accordingly so you don’t get an unpleasant surprise.

Nerd tip: Try to time earning your sign-up bonus early in a calendar year if you're aiming for a Companion Pass. This gives you more time to earn the rest of the points and more time to enjoy the pass if you earn it.

Get to know your Visa Platinum benefits

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is a Visa Platinum, so it comes with some exclusive travel benefits offered by Visa. Make the most of all these perks to get maximum value from the card.

Rental collision damage waiver

Decline the rental car company’s collision damage waiver and pay with your card and you’ll automatically be covered for accidental damage or theft of the car. Inside your country of residence, this serves as secondary coverage, meaning it supplements your regular auto insurance. Outside the country, these Visa benefits provide primary coverage.

Extended warranty protection

For virtually any product that you purchase that has a warranty of three years or less, the card will extend that warranty for an additional year. Keep your credit card statements showing the purchase of the item, and if you need warranty coverage, call the number on the back of your card. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per item.

Baggage delay benefit

If your bags are delayed more than six hours, you can buy essentials like toiletries or clothes and be reimbursed up to $100 per day for three days. This benefit won’t cover high ticket items like laptops or cameras.

Lost luggage benefit

If the airline loses or damages your luggage, you can claim up to $3,000 per person per trip.

The bottom line

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers you lots of ways to make its $69 annual fee worthwhile. Earn the welcome bonus, use the card for everyday spending, start plotting toward a Companion Pass and you’ll be well on your way to making the most of this card.

If you're looking for even more Southwest benefits and can handle a higher annual fee, consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

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