Key takeaways

  • The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers solid benefits for travelers who enjoy flying with Southwest Airlines.
  • The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a good all-around travel card that offers flexible benefits and solid earning potential — particularly on travel purchases through Capital One Travel.
  • To choose the right card for you, understand your spending habits and how each card can best meet your goals.

The best travel credit cards can help you reach your goals of worldwide wanderlust while adding perks and benefits along the way. A big part of choosing a travel card is deciding between a co-branded card tied to a loyalty program or a general credit card that earns rewards toward any type of travel.

We compare two such cards — Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card to the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card — to see how they stack up when it comes to welcome bonuses, rewards and other perks. We also compare how they differ, and how that affects which is best for you, depending on your spending and travel habits.

Main details

Cards Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Welcome bonus Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Earn 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening
Rewards rate
  • 2X points on Southwest purchases, Southwest hotel and car rental partners, local transit and commuting (including rideshares), internet, cable, phone and select streaming services
  • 1X points on all other purchases
  • 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2X miles on all other purchases
Variable APR 21.49% to 28.49% 19.99% to 29.99%
Annual fee $69 $95

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus vs. Capital One Venture Rewards highlights

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Which card earns the most?

When it comes to choosing a credit card, the right card for you is usually dependent on your goals for earning rewards and your personal spending habits. Both the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Capital One Venture cards are solid travel cards, so let’s take a look at a spending example to see how each card might benefit you.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus vs. the Capital One Venture Rewards spending example

Spending category Amount Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Capital One Venture Rewards
*Assumes other travel is booked through Capital One Travel.
Groceries $4,687 4,687 9,374
Dining $2,375 2,375 4,750
Gas $1,313 1,313 2,626
Apparel and services $1,434 1,434 2,868
Streaming $1,200 2,400 2,400
Entertainment $1,200 1,200 2,400
Internet cable and phone $1,200 2,400 2,400
Personal care products and services $646 646 1,292
Southwest travel $1,440 2,880 2,880
Hotels and rental cars $1,440 2,880 7,200*
Anniversary bonus 3,000
Total $16,935 25,215 38,190

In this spending example, the Capital One Venture Rewards card earns about 34 percent more rewards than the Rapid Rewards Plus card. The 2X on all “other” spending makes a considerable difference in how much you can earn with the Venture Rewards card — which also makes it a much better card for everyday spending.

That doesn’t mean the Rapid Rewards Plus is without its place. Although the card earns less than the Venture Rewards card on most everyday expenses, it does earn 2X points on Southwest purchases. And the card comes with valuable benefits when you fly with Southwest — including two free checked bags and 25 percent back on eligible in-flight purchases. It also comes with an annual anniversary bonus of 3,000 points, which closes the earnings gap slightly. So if you’re a frequent Southwest traveler, you may want to consider using this card when flying Southwest.

Why should you get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card?

Additional benefits

One perk of a co-branded like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is the ability to earn points and benefits with airlines or hotels you frequent. As Southwest Airlines’ entry-level card, the Rapid Reward Plus offers basic perks and benefits:

  • 25 percent back on in-flight purchases
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In upgrades each year
  • Lost luggage reimbursement (up to $3,000 per passenger) and baggage delay insurance (up to $100 per day for three days)
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection (terms apply)
  • Annual cardmember account anniversary bonus of 3,000 bonus points
  • Complimentary DoorDash DashPass (terms apply)
  • Boost of 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points each year

Although other Southwest cards come with the opportunity to earn points toward either A-List and A-List Preferred status, the benefits available with Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus are still pretty solid — especially considering it’s an entry-level card.

Redemption options

If you are a More Rewards program member with a Rapid Rewards credit card, you can also redeem your points for international flights offered by other airlines, as well as gift cards, hotel stays, merchandise and other experiences (though redemption values vary). Southwest’s hotel and resort partners include big names like:

  • Best Western Hotels and Resorts
  • Choice Hotels
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • MGM Rewards
  • World of Hyatt

You can earn and redeem Rapid Rewards points when you book with eligible Southwest partners. Plus, you can earn up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points each year by referring friends through Chase’s refer-a-friend program.

If you want more details on earning and redeeming points with your Rapid Rewards Plus card, check out Bankrate’s Southwest Rapid Rewards guide.

Recommended credit score

You’ll need a good or excellent credit score of 670 to 850 to qualify for this card.

Why should you get the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card?

Additional benefits

The Capital One Venture card offers cardholders access to the Capital One Travel portal. This portal includes neat features like price prediction, price watch, price drop protection, price match guarantee and “cancel for any reason” to cardholders who book accommodations through the site.

In addition to the travel portal, other noteworthy Venture Rewards card benefits include:

  • Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • 2 complimentary visits to Capital One airport lounges
  • 24-hour travel assistance services, which can help you get cash if your card is lost or stolen
  • Car rental insurance, extended warranty coverage, fraud coverage and travel accident insurance
  • Virtual credit card numbers
  • Capital One Eno assistant
  • Access to exclusive events, restaurants and more
  • A $50 experience credit and other benefits with Lifestyle Collection hotel stays

Redemption options

The main redemption options include booking travel through the Capital One rewards portal, receiving a statement credit for recent eligible travel purchases (within the last 90 days) or transferring miles to partner airline and hotel programs. If you don’t want to redeem your miles for travel, you can also cash them out in the form of a statement credit, check, gift cards, or PayPal purchases and more.

Recommended credit score

Similar to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card, you’ll need a good or excellent credit score of 670 to 850 to qualify for this card.

The bottom line

Both the Rapid Rewards Plus and Venture Rewards are formidable competitors in the entry-level travel credit card space. If you’re a die-hard Southwest fan, the Rapid Rewards Plus card could provide value — especially if you can score the Companion Pass when it occasionally appears as part of the card’s welcome bonus. On the other hand, the Venture Rewards offers a higher rate for general spending with the option to get much more value (and earnings) for travel bookings. Overall, the card you choose will depend on how you spend and how you prefer to travel.