If you primarily fly Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a great travel rewards card. Not only does it come with a welcome bonus, but you continue to earn automatic bonuses every year you stay a member. It also includes the coveted free Companion Pass.
Here’s what you need to know about this card.
The welcome bonus
Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year.
The bonus points continue
Every year you continue to earn 6,000 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary. You also earn 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest® and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. In addition, you can earn points by purchasing from shopping, dining, home, and lifestyle partners.
Always remember, any points you earn from flights add additional points. So if you purchased a round-trip ticket that’s 5,000 miles flown for $250, you’d earn 5,500 points. Other purchases earn $1 per point. You are also given 1,500 tier-qualifying points per $10,000 spent each calendar year that can help you increase your status level with Southwest Airlines.
No foreign transaction fees
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees. If you travel quite a bit out of the country, then you know how much those fees can add to the cost of your trip. Fees are generally 3%.
Bags fly free
Other credit cards offer the first bag checked free. However, the first and second checked bag not incurring a charge is actually a perk Southwest Airlines offers all its travelers. No one pays change fees either.
If you change your flight, you’re just liable for the fare difference. On tickets where points are redeemed, there are no blackout dates or restrictions. Any seat is eligible for rewards travel.
The Companion Pass
Imagine earning a free pass for someone to travel with you every time you fly. It’s not easy, but it can be done if you fly and spend a lot. It takes earning 110,000 points to get the required status level, but can be earned from credit card points, partner points and flights. Once earned, you’ll have the Companion Pass privilege for the remainder of the year, as well as the year following.
The annual fee is easy to make up
The $99 annual fee kicks in during the first year; however, bonus points alone can be worth $600. The annual bonus of 6,000 points is worth $60. As long as you make enough purchases to make up for the remaining $39, it’s hard for this card to not be worth keeping for frequent flyers of Southwest Airlines.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2018, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®).
- Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (Earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase).
- Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Get 3 points per dollar on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases).
- No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card (Earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, with no annual fee).
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Get 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, plus get access to the Global Lounge Collection). Terms Apply.
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Southwest Rapid Rewards program: The complete guide
When flying Southwest can save you money and time
4 things the Southwest Rapid Rewards program gets right