Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Robin Saks Frankel  in  Airline How we rate our cards  |  Advertiser Disclosure
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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Annual Fee:
$69
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Bankrate Rating

Commonly used for: Airline, Auto Rental Insurance, Concierge Service, EMV, Excellent Credit, Extended Warranty Program, Free Checked Baggage, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Mobile Pay Ready, No Change Fee, Points, Purchase Protection, Rewards, Roadside Assistance, Travel, Travel Accident Insurance, Travel Assistance, Unsecured credit card, Visa Signature®, Zero Fraud Liability.

Score Breakdown

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Bankrate Rating

Perks
Rewards
Annual Fee
Intro Bonus
Foreign Transaction Fee

Editor’s note: Some of the offers on this page may be expired. Check out our Best Credit Cards page for the most up-to-date offers for our favorite credit cards.

 

If you live in a city served by Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Rapid Rewards®  Plus Credit Card can help you earn free flights fast. The little brother to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card offers generous benefits and lots of perks for an airline credit card.

Review

Southwest enthusiasts love the airline for its liberal policies. There are no blackout dates, no change fees and no charge for the first two checked bags.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card offers a compelling sign-up bonus of 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account. The bonus is worth about $400, enough for a free round-trip flight on most of the routes Southwest currently offers. Also, you can now earn an additional 20,000 points when you spend $12,000 on your card within the first twelve months. The bonus also gets you closer to the 110,000 points required to earn their much-heralded Companion Pass offer, which allows you to fly a companion with you on any Southwest flight for free, as often as you like, for just the cost of taxes and fees, one of the most generous airline perks we’ve ever seen.

Even better, the Companion Pass is good for the remainder of the calendar year in which you earned it plus the entire following calendar year. There are several other airlines that have companion ticket offers, but these are typically one-time offers.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card earns 2 points per $1 spent on all Southwest purchases, including flights, Rapid Rewards hotel partners and car rental partners.

You’ll also earn 3,000 bonus points every year on your card anniversary, which although they don’t count towards earning that Companion Pass, are still worth about $30 towards your next free flight. The annual cost of owning the card though is $69, so we wish that the bonus was at least equal to that amount.

If you fly a lot, and your goal is to earn elite status with Southwest, you’d likely be better off with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, which for $99 a year also gives you 1,500 Tier Qualifying points for every $10,000 you spend per year on the card, up to a 15,000-point maximum. You need at least 35,000 Tier Qualifying points or 25 one-way flights per calendar year to qualify for A-List status, which comes with perks like priority boarding, points bonuses and no charges for same-day standby flights.

Who should get this card

Frequent fliers on Southwest or anyone aiming to earn the Companion Pass can accelerate their points accrual with this card.

Fees and APR

  • This card has a $69 annual fee.
  • There’s a variable APR on purchases and balance transfers of 17.99% – 24.99% based on creditworthiness.
  • Late payments won’t affect your APR, but you will be subject to a penalty fee of up to $39 for each late payment.
  • Balance transfers will be subject to a 5 percent fee of the amount being transferred.
  • There’s a foreign transaction charge of 3 percent.

Extras, perks and using points

This card comes with Visa Signature benefits, which include auto and travel protections and insurances and hotel discounts and benefits at participating properties. It also provides extended warranty protections on qualifying purchases.

To redeem your points, go to Southwest.com and log into your Rapid Rewards account. When searching for your itinerary choose the “Points” option instead of Dollars. Select the fare you want and then check out using points to pay. You have to have enough Rapid Rewards points to cover the amount required for the flight. You cannot pay with a combination of points and cash. All applicable taxes and fees must be paid for with either a credit card, debit card or a Southwest gift card.

Rapid Rewards Credit Card members can also redeem their Rapid Rewards points for hotel stays, rental cars, gift cards, event tickets, merchandise and other unique experiences.