The Bottom Line: It's a good option for Southwest loyalists who don't care about airline status or side benefits. But it doesn't travel as well as its sibling cards with higher annual fees.
- Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
- 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
- 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
Pros & Cons
No blackout dates or seat restrictions
Has annual fee
Has foreign transaction fee
Alternate Pick: More flexible rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Elevated earning in popular categories
Earn 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per $1 spent on travel and at restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else. Your points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, and you can also transfer points to partner airlines, including Southwest. Annual fee: $95.Read our review
Compare to Other Cards
$0 for the first year, then $95
18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
17.99% - 25.24% Variable APR
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card isn't the flashiest of the three co-branded Chase cards in the Rapid Rewards family, but that doesn't mean it's the black sheep of the clan either.
After all, the three Southwest cards offer the same APR and ongoing rewards rates, not to mention the same sign-up bonus, which gives you a nice boost toward earning the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. And since the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has the lowest annual fee of all the Southwest cards, why wouldn't it win out every time?
Well, for starters, it doesn't travel as well as its two big siblings, nor is it as generous with side benefits. And if you're a loyal Southwest customer seeking extra perks when you travel, it could be that the much pricier Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card will still be a better deal for you thanks to the added value you'll get.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Basics
Card type: Airline.
Annual fee: $69.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
2 points per dollar spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
NerdWallet values Southwest points at an average of 1.7 cents each when redeemed for Southwest flights. You can also apply points toward hotel stays, rental cars, international flights on other airlines, merchandise, gift cards, and travel experiences like cruises and spa packages.
Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR.
Foreign transaction fee: 3%
Anniversary bonus of 3,000 points every new cardmember year
CALCULATE YOUR REWARDS
To see if the rewards you'd earn on this card would make up for the annual fee, try our calculator:
Benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Low annual fee
The $69 annual fee is relatively low for an airline card with a healthy sign-up bonus and ongoing bonus rewards on airline purchases. For comparison's sake, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card charges a $99 annual fee, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card clocks in at $149 per year.
Generous sign-up bonus
Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. That's a big chunk of points to spend toward free flights, and gets you well on your way to the 110,000 points you need to earn the Companion Pass.
Extra anniversary points
For each year you keep your card account open, you'll receive an anniversary bonus of 3,000 points. (You can also earn extra points by booking car rentals and hotels through the Rapid Rewards program, or using the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal.)
Nerd tip: Southwest Airlines credit cards don't offer free checked bags as many airline credit cards do, but your first two checked bags already are free with Southwest. (The checked-bag fee for other major airlines generally is $25 to $30 per bag each way.)
Drawbacks and alternatives
Fewer perks than other Southwest cards
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card earns 3,000 anniversary points, half as many as the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Based on point valuation, the difference in the anniversary bonus is more than enough to offset the difference in annual fees between those two cards, making the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card the worse deal.
And the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card offers even more benefits to help defray its hefty $149 annual fee. Every year, Priority cardholders get a 7,500-point anniversary bonus, a $75 Southwest travel credit, four upgraded boardings when available (those are worth $30 to $50 per flight), and 20% back on in-flight purchases. Depending on how often you treat yourself to Wi-Fi and a snack, that equals at least $270 in value.
Also, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is the only card of the three that doesn't earn tier qualifying points. Those points count toward elite status, known as "A-List" or "A-List Preferred" in Southwest's programs. Benefits of such status include priority boarding and bonus points for flights you pay for.
Here's a look at how the three Southwest consumer cards compare:
Weak bonus categories
Most purchases will earn you 1 point per dollar, and you'll earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. But other rewards cards allow you to earn 2 points per dollar on more spending categories without having to shop through a partner program:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2 points per dollar spent on all travel purchases and on dining worldwide, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Its points can transfer directly into the Southwest Rapid Rewards program. It has an annual fee of $95.
With the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you'll earn 2 miles per dollar on all spending, for an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95.
Foreign transaction fee
The 3% foreign transaction fee makes the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card a poor choice to use during an international trip. Neither of the pricier Southwest cards charges a foreign transaction fee.
Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card right for you?
Frequent Southwest flyers will find a lot to love about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card because it offers so many of the same benefits as its higher-end siblings.
Just keep in mind that you won't get the side benefits found on the more expensive Southwest co-branded cards. And if you're seeking a card for use overseas, or one that offers more rewards flexibility, consider other options.
on Chase's website
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