Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card Worth Its Annual Fee?
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If you're wondering whether the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is worth its annual fee, you'll need to ask yourself these two questions: “Do I fly Southwest enough to want to speed up earning points?” and “Are the rewards worth the fee?”
The first question is yours to answer, but as for the second, here’s what you’ll receive with your card to help you decide if the annual fee is right for you.
» Learn more: Chase 5/24 rule explained
What is the annual fee?
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has a straightforward annual fee of $69 annually.
The current welcome bonus is as follows: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
That's a slick deal, considering NerdWallet’s valuation of Rapid Rewards points is 1.5 cents.
If you’re wondering whether keeping the card is worth it after the first year’s bonus, consider this: Cardholders receive 3,000 bonus points every card anniversary. Assuming those are points you'd spend on Southwest flights anyway, that covers a good chunk of your annual fee.
Is it worth it?
That annual 3,000 bonus doesn’t amount to much if you aren’t continuing to use your card to earn more points. Many passengers on Southwest choose the no-frills carrier for its cheap flights and free checked bags. When it comes to redeeming points for flights, the rates vary based on the fare.
Rapid Rewards members earn 6 points per $1 spent on Wanna Get Away fares (the cheapest Southwest fares available). Let’s say you book a round-trip flight for under $200; you’ll receive less than 1,200 points. Meanwhile, Anytime fares earn 10 points per $1, so a $200 flight can earn you 2,000 points.
When you use your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, to pay for the flight, you’ll earn an extra 400 bonus points.
» Learn more: Which Southwest Airlines credit card should I get?
The bottom line
The welcome bonus from this card can go a long way if you redeem it for Wanna Get Away fares. We think you can definitely get more value out of it than the $69 annual fee you’re paying. But if you aren’t a frequent flyer — or spender — with Southwest, this card may not be worth it once you reach the second year, especially considering it doesn't come with many other perks.
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 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you The cheapest ways to fly with skis and snowboards 6 vacation spots for perfect winter getaways this year