To fly Southwest Airlines is to know and love its quirks, from the organized chaos of the boarding process to the unique ways flight attendants show their personalities (usually during safety announcements). The airline, in partnership with Chase, offers three consumer cards, aimed at steadfast Southwest flyers hoping to accelerate their Rapid Rewards points earnings:
- The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: $69 annual fee.
- The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card: $99 annual fee.
- The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: $149 annual fee.
Their names and even many of their basic features are similar, but in general you’ll get more perks as you step up in price. Here are the benefits of Southwest Airlines credit cards.
Points on spending
1. Ongoing rewards
In addition to the bonus, all three cards earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, and on purchases with Southwest’s hotel and rental car partners. You’ll earn 1 point per dollar everywhere else.
2. Earn a sign-up bonus for lessan average of 1.6 cents each when redeemed for Southwest flights domestically. You can also redeem Rapid Rewards points for hotels, rental cars, travel experiences, gift cards and merchandise (point values may vary).
Pathway to status
3. Move closer to A-List status and a coveted Companion PassSouthwest’s Companion Pass allows you to designate a travel buddy who can fly with you for nearly free (just the cost of taxes and fees) whenever you buy yourself a ticket with cash or Rapid Rewards points. You need to earn 110,000 qualifying points or fly 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year to get a Companion Pass, which is good for the rest of that year plus one additional calendar year. (In 2020, the points requirement will rise to 125,000.) The sign-up bonus for all three Southwest cards will help you get closer to this much-beloved benefit.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card also earn up to 15,000 tier qualifying points per year, which will help you gain A-list status — you need to earn 35,000 tier qualifying points or have 25 qualifying one-way flights per calendar year to qualify. A-List status gets you:
- Priority boarding, check-in and security lane access.
- 25% more Rapid Rewards earned whenever you fly.
- Free same-day standby.
- A dedicated A-List member phone line.
4. Annual bonus points
- 3,000 anniversary points per year with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.
- 6,000 anniversary points per year with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.
- 7,500 anniversary points per year with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.
• Benefits of the Alaska Airlines credit card
• Benefits of the American Express Gold Card
• Benefits of the American Express Platinum Card
• Benefits of the Bank of America Travel Rewards card
• Benefits of the Capital One Savor cards
• Benefits of the Capital One Venture card
• Benefits of the Capital One Quicksilver card
• Benefits of the Capital One Platinum card
• Benefits of the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards
• Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
• Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card
• Benefits of the Citi Costco credit card
• Benefits of Citi Double Cash Card
• Benefits of Delta Air Lines credit cards
• Benefits of the Discover it Cash Back and Balance Transfer cards
• Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy credit cards
• Benefits of Southwest Airlines credit cards
• Benefits of United Airlines credit cards
5. No foreign transaction fees for two of these cards
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card don’t charge a foreign transaction fee, saving you money on every overseas purchase. As Visa cards, the Southwest credit cards are accepted worldwide.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Longer list of extras for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
6. In-flight discounts
You’ll receive 20% back in the form of a statement credit for in-flight purchases of drinks and Wi-Fi access. You’ll also get 20% back if your authorized users make in-flight purchases.
7. Annual credit
Get up to $75 in statement credits each anniversary year for Southwest purchases, excluding upgraded boardings and in-flight purchases.
8. Upgraded boardings
Get reimbursed if you buy up to four upgraded boardings each anniversary year, when available. That will get you a coveted spot in positions A1-A15 during boarding, and you can buy the upgrade at the ticket counter or gate the day you travel. Upgraded boardings cost $30-$50, depending on your itinerary, making this benefit worth $120-$200 if you take full advantage.