The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is one of several co-branded credit cards offered through Chase, and even charges a lower annual fee than other options.

This Southwest Airlines credit card also makes it easy to earn points for each dollar you spend, both on airfare and everyday purchases. Plus, you can qualify for perks like two EarlyBird Check-Ins with the airline each year, 25 percent back on in-flight purchases and an anniversary bonus each year the card is renewed.

The anniversary bonus is an especially great way to guarantee you’re getting value from this card long-term. Here’s more about how it works and how you can decide if the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is right for you.

Details of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Here’s a rundown of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card’s rewards rate, welcome offer and benefits:

  • Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Rewards: 2X points on Southwest purchases; Southwest hotel and car rental partner purchases; local transit and commuting (including rideshares); internet, cable and phone services; and select streaming services; 1X points on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $69 annual fee
  • Variable APR: 20.49 percent to 27.49 percent
  • Major benefits: Two EarlyBird Check-Ins with the airline; 25 percent back on in-flight purchases; an anniversary bonus of 3,000 points

When it comes to earning points in the Southwest Rapid Rewards program, you can get some serious benefits. For starters, Southwest has one of the most flexible cancellation and rebooking policies of all major airlines. Plus, they are one of the few airlines that don’t impose any blackout dates or capacity controls for award tickets.

Southwest Airlines also offers two free checked bags per passenger on their flights, whether you book your fare with cash or points.

Finally, not only can you earn 50,000 bonus points (after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, but the points you’ll earn on your spending also count toward earning the Companion Pass. With Companion Pass, you can choose a companion to fly for free with you when you book flights with cash or with points. The flight companion is only responsible for paying airline taxes and fees on their flight, which work out to $5.60 one-way for domestic flights and usually less than $100 each way for international itineraries to destinations in the Caribbean or Mexico.

What is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card’s anniversary bonus?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus anniversary bonus is worth 3,000 points, and it will be automatically applied to your account each year on your cardmember anniversary. This bonus is extended as a basic “thank you” for renewing your card and paying the $69 annual fee for another year.

How much is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus anniversary bonus worth?

According to Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations, rewards earned in the Southwest Rapid Rewards program are worth up to 1.5 cents when redeemed for travel. This means the anniversary bonus on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus can be worth up to $45, depending on how and when you redeem your points.

While 3,000 points may not sound like a lot, keep in mind Southwest offers one-way fares for as little as 4,000 points (and sometimes less) during sale periods. Given that, this card’s anniversary bonus could be almost enough to get you from New York City to Tampa, Florida, or from Chicago to Dallas.

How do I find my Southwest Rapid Rewards account anniversary date?

If you’re curious about when you’ll receive your Southwest anniversary bonus, you’ll have to look back to find the date you originally signed up for the card. According to the fine print from Southwest and Chase, you’ll receive this bonus on your account anniversary year, which is “the year beginning with your account open date through the anniversary of your account open date, and each 12 months.”

If you originally signed up for your card on May 12 of any given year, for example, you’ll receive your anniversary bonus after May 12 of the following year.

Other cardholder perks that make up for the annual fee

While the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus bonus may be worth up to $45 depending on how you redeem, a few other cardholder benefits also help make up for this card’s $69 annual fee.

For starters, you can get two EarlyBird Check-Ins with Southwest every year. These upgrades are worth $15 to $25 one-way, so the two you receive every year as a cardholder have a retail value of $30 to $50.

Plus, you’ll get 25 percent back on in-flight purchases of food, drink or Wi-Fi access. These savings on in-flight amenities can add up quickly if you fly with Southwest often.

The bottom line

If you’re hoping to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points while paying a reasonable annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is worth considering. When you add up the value of the Southwest anniversary bonus, two EarlyBird Check-Ins and discount on in-flight purchases (not to mention the rewards you’ll earn on spending) you can more than make up for this card’s $69 annual fee each year.

That said, you can also consider other Southwest credit cards, and don’t forget Southwest is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. This means you can use a travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to earn points on everyday purchases, then transfer them to your Southwest account once you’re ready to redeem.