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Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card Worth Its Annual Fee?

Jan. 31, 2020
Airline Credit Cards, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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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.

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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 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Using NerdWallet’s valuation of Rapid Rewards points at 1.4 cents apiece, the full welcome bonus is worth up to $1,050, which more than compensates for the annual fee.

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. Using NerdWallet’s valuation, this annual bonus is worth about $42, which covers over 60% of your annual fee.

» Learn more: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus review: Solid rewards for less

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 2020, including those best for:

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