Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Review

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Review
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is an easy way for loyal Southwest Customers to earn rewards and enjoy a lucrative sign-up bonus.
  • Annual Fee:
    $69
  • Regular APR:
    15.99%-22.99% Variable
  • Credit Score:
    670 - 850

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This might be an entry-level card, but it comes with enough perks to make it worth a look.

From its low annual fee to its bonus anniversary points, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is sure to have something for everybody.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Cardholders get 3,000 bonus points each year
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • Lots of ways to earn benefits
  • No caps on rewards

Cons:

  • Limited mostly to domestic US routes
  • High fees

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Review

  • Annual Fee: $69
  • Regular APR: 15.99% to 22.99% Variable
  • Rewards: Earn 2x points on base Southwest purchases and every $1 spent toward them; earn 2x points on services like internet, select streaming, phone, and cable.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn as much as 100,000 points
  • Category: Travel / Rewards

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Rewards

Earning Rewards

You can earn points with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus at various rates, including:

Two points for every $1 on Southwest Airlines purchases, car rental partner and RR hotel purchases, commuting, and local transportation (includes rideshare and internet, phone service, cable TV, and selected streaming). All other purchases are at a rate of 1 point for every dollar spent.

Eligible Southwest purchases include in-flight, flight, Southwest vacation package, and Southwest gift card purchases. You can find the qualifications for the Rapid Rewards partners in the current partner’s list of Southwest Rapid Rewards.

You also get a nice welcome bonus: You can earn as many as 100,000 bonus points. And after spending $2,000 within three months of starting your account, you can earn 50,000 additional bonus points.

What’s more, you can earn an extra 50,000 bonus points after the total purchase amount reaches $12,000 within the first year (12 months). As a member, you will also receive 3,000-anniversary rewards each year.

Redeeming Rewards

Southwest Airlines is different from other airlines in that it has no date restrictions and no set timeframe to redeem your points. On the contrary, the points exchange rate is based solely on the flight price.

When you redeem Southwest Airlines points for flights, you will still need to pay a $5.60 fee for 9/11 security, as well as international travel taxes. However, you do not need to pay the airport’s passenger facility charge (PFC) or other taxes.

Southwest flight will be the best way to go for redemption. But Credit Cardholders of Southwest also have a chance to redeem their points for merchandise, gift cards, hotels, experiences, and travel via More Rewards.

The point redemption rate for purchasing gift cards through more rewards programs is surprisingly good. Redeem a gift card with a minimum of $30, and you will get 1 cent per point.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Features and Benefits

2x Points on Southwest Purchases

You get two points for every dollar spent on Southwest, Rapid Rewards, car rental, and hotel purchases. The same deal applies to purchases on:

  • Select streaming
  • Local transit
  • Commuting
  • Rideshare
  • Internet
  • Phone
  • Cable

Other purchases outside of the above methods will earn you a penny for every dollar spent.

So, there are plenty of opportunities for you to earn points. You don’t have to be a big spender to enjoy the bonus points, either.

As long as you keep using the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card year after year, you will automatically earn 3,000 bonus points, as discussed below.

We will also show you some other Southwest travel credit cards that offer even more anniversary bonus points if you feel you will benefit more from a better option.

3,000 Bonus Points Annually

For every year you keep your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, you automatically get rewarded with 3,000 bonus points.

Lucrative Sign-Up Bonus

You can earn a substantial amount of points when you sign up with Southwest Rapid Rewards® Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, such as 100,000 bonus points.

In addition, after spending $2,000 in the initial three months of opening your account, you can earn 50,000 bonus points, and you can earn an additional 50,000 bonus points after the total purchase amount reaches $12,000 in the first 12 months.

This is a large number of points for free flights, so you can spend less money to take friends with you.

EarlyBird Check-In®

This automatic check-in feature is typically a low-cost option, but you get to use it twice at no charge for being a cardholder.

How Does the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Compare to Other Travel Credit Cards?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is a viable option for travelers who regularly use Southwest and want to earn a decent amount of points.

The annual freebie points are a nice incentive, but are they enough to compare to the competition?

We compare the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card with four other travel cards to see how it stacks up. If you’re a regular with Southwest, you can still stick with Southwest travel credit cards, but go with a different card option, as seen below.

#1. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

In general, both the Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier cards are solid choices for people who regularly take Southwest Airlines flights.

And both regularly provide generous bonuses. And like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, the Premier credit card lets you earn as many as 100,000 bonus points, including 50,000, when you make $2,000 in purchases during the initial three months of owning the card.

However, the Rapid Rewards Premier card gives you 6,000 bonus points every year instead of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card’s 3,000 points. And where the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card lets you earn 2x points on Southwest purchases, the Premier credit card lets you earn 3x points.

With both cards, every point you earn counts toward the Companion Pass feature. This can come in handy if you plan on traveling with a friend later.

If you are looking to boost your Companion Pass, any Southwest card will provide you with the same perks upon sign-up to help you build on it.

The Premier credit card’s annual fee comes in at a slightly higher cost than the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card’s $69.

You can expect to pay $99 a year, which isn’t terribly more expensive. And you still get a nice boost in reward points over the lifetime of owning the card.

#2. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

After spending $4,000 in purchases within three months of getting your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can earn 60,000 bonus points. And when you redeem it through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, it’s $750.

You can also enjoy new benefits, like $50 per year in Ultimate Rewards hotel points, 5x points for flights bought with Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points for dining, and 2x points for remaining travel purchases.

Redeem air tickets, hotels, car rentals, and cruise ships through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards® and get more than 25% of the value. For example, 60,000 points are worth 750 USD for travel.

And then there’s Pay Yourself Back℠, which lets you redeem your points for statement points for existing purchases in the selected, rotating category. Thus, your point value will increase by 25%.

Use DoorDash’s subscription service, DashPass, to reduce service fees with a delivery fee of $0 and eligible orders exceeding $12 for at least one year and get unlimited delivery services.

Rely on trip cancellation/interruption insurance, car rental collision damage exemption, lost luggage insurance, etc.

What’s more, eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access members can receive up to $60 in return and have full access to their exercise library. These are just a few reasons why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is widely regarded as one of the best rewards credit cards.

#3. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

In general, both the Southwest Plus and Southwest Priority cards are solid choices for people who regularly take Southwest Airlines flights.

And both regularly provide generous bonuses. And like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, the Priority card lets you earn as many as 100,000 bonus points, including 50,000, when you make $2,000 in purchases within three months of starting your account.

However, the Priority card gives you 7,500 bonus points every year instead of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card’s 3,000 points.

And where the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card lets you earn 2x points on Southwest purchases, the Priority card lets you earn 3x points.

You can also look forward to four boarding upgrades per year, as well as $75 worth of travel credit.

If you’re shooting for A-list status, the Priority card gives you 1,500 qualifying points for every $10,000 you spend.

It’s important to note that the Priority card’s annual fee is considerably higher than its siblings.

Expect to pay $149 a year to hold the Priority card. For the extra points and perks, though, that additional fee is well worth it.

#4. Capital One Venture Rewards vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Spend $3,000 with your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card within three months after opening an account and get a one-time boost of bonus miles to the tune of 60,000 miles.

In addition, all purchases can earn two times the miles per dollar you spend. You can redeem your miles to buy travel or transfer your miles to more than 10 travel loyalty programs. All purchases can earn two times mileage per dollar spent.

Capital One’s transit partners include:

  • Singapore Airlines
  • Air France/KLM
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Qatar Airways
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada
  • EVA Air
  • Emirates
  • Avianca
  • Finnair
  • Qantas

What’s more, there isn’t a foreign transaction fee, but you can expect to pay an annual fee of $95.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Have Travel Insurance?

Yes. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card comes with standard insurance benefits, including travel accidents, secondary car rental, purchase protection, baggage insurance, and lost luggage reimbursement worth up to $3,000.

What Credit Score Do I Need for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card?

Good to Excellent, or between 690 and 850.

What Is the Annual Fee for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card?

$69.

Bottom Line: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Review

If you frequently use Southwest Airlines and you aren’t concerned with things like your flight status, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is a worthy contender that delivers solid benefits.

It might not offer the same perks as many of its siblings, but you still earn a load of points to use toward travel and other purchases.

Drew Cheneler
Drew Cheneler

Drew is our Co-Founder and is a recognized Credit, Small Business, and Personal Finance Expert. He has been featured in CNBC, Fox Business News Section, The Huffington Post, Business.com, Moneyunder30, US Chamber of Commerce, and more. He is known for breaking down complex personal finance topics into action-oriented advice, so you can make the most of your hard-earned money. Drew attended the U.S. Coast Guard Academy where he majored in Business Management with a focus on Information Systems.