Why This Southwest Card Is a Solid Choice for Budget Travelers

Jul 9, 2019

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The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a good option for travelers who fly Southwest Airlines regularly and are looking to fly for nearly free, whether on long-haul or short flights. Plus, with frequent traveling and spending on the card, you can earn enough miles for a Companion Pass.

Here are just a few reasons why this card is a solid option for the frequent budget traveler:

The sign-up bonus gets you a head start on a Companion Pass

This card’s sign-up bonus is as follows: Limited-time offer: Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Those bonus points could get you several flights from Oklahoma City to Dallas (just to name one example), or you could use it for any combination of flights ranging from trips to the Caribbean to adding a stopover on a trip to see an extra city. Look for Wanna Get Away fares, which offer the best value.

It takes earning 125,000 points in one calendar year to earn a Southwest Companion Pass, which allows a companion of your choosing to fly for just taxes and fees for a year or more depending on when you qualify. The bonus from this card counts toward the Companion Pass, as do points earned from spending on the card.

Depending on how often you'd travel with a companion, this perk can offer enormous value, so if this card's bonus would help get you over the top, it can be well worth your while to apply.

The annual fee is largely offset by anniversary points

The pain of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card’s $99 annual fee is tempered a bit by the fact that you get 6,000 points on your cardmember anniversary. Assuming you'll use those points, the card can wind up mostly paying for itself.

You can also rack up points by using the card on paid Southwest tickets. Earnings rates vary from earning 6 to 12 points per dollar for the most expensive fares. Other purchases on the card also earn points, but at a less attractive value.

You'll earn more Rapid Rewards points on certain spending categories

On top the sign-up bonus and anniversary bonus, you'll also earn points in recently added (or increased) bonus spending categories.

  • 3x points on Southwest® purchases.

  • 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.

  • 2x points on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming services.

These categories are great for racking up more points on everyday spending, even when you're not flying anywhere.


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 2022, including those best for:

partner programs

IHG® Rewards Program

on IHG One Rewards’ website

IHG® One Rewards
Get exclusive benefits and earn points faster
World of Hyatt

on Hyatt's website

World of Hyatt
Enjoy free nights, member rates and more
logo image

on Alaska's website

Alaska Mileage Plan
Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
IHG® Rewards Program

IHG® One Rewards

Wherever you go, however you stay, IHG One Rewards offers rewards for every one.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

Highlights:
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.
Highlights
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt

With the World of Hyatt loyalty program, enjoy a world of rewards designed to revolve around you.

on Hyatt's website

Highlights:
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.
Highlights
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.

on Hyatt's website

logo image

Alaska Mileage Plan

Mileage Plan is Alaska's loyalty program for anyone who loves to travel and is free to join!

on Alaska's website

Highlights:
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend
Highlights
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend

on Alaska's website

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