Skip to Main Content

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus benefits guide

A traveler walks past a Southwest Airlines airplane as it taxies from a gate at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
A traveler walks past a Southwest Airlines airplane as it taxies from a gate at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

ON THIS PAGE Jump to Open page navigation

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is a great card for consumers who prefer traveling with Southwest and want to start earning rewards toward travel expenses. You’ll be able to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points and redeem them not only for airfare, but also for rideshare services and streaming services like Netflix.

The card also has many other great benefits for frequent Southwest flyers, such as a low annual fee and a high welcome bonus. Even though it may not have as many benefits as premier cards, it’s still a valuable card for occasional travelers. Keep reading to learn more about the rewards rates and other benefits offered with this card.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card highlights

  • Annual fee: $69 (lowest annual fee for a Southwest credit card)
  • Regular APR: 18.24 percent to 25.24 percent (variable)
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Rewards rate: 2X points on Southwest purchases, including airfare, Southwest hotel and car rental partners, local transit and commuting (plus rideshares); 2X points on internet, cable, phone and select streaming services; 1X points on all other purchases

Earning Rewards

With the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card, you’ll earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points, which are valuable for frequent Southwest travelers. Rapid Rewards is a free loyalty program where customers can earn points by making purchases with Southwest or a Southwest partner or spending on a Southwest credit card. Through the portal, you’ll be able to use your earned points toward travel expenses.

You’ll earn 2X Rapid Rewards points with every dollar spent through Southwest Airlines, as well as purchases on hotel and car rentals through Southwest or affiliated partners. You’ll also receive 2X points on local transit and commuting options (including rideshares) and cable, phone, internet and select streaming services (such as Netflix and Disney+). All other purchases earn 1X points.

Redeeming rewards

Points earned with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card can be redeemed for Southwest Airlines purchases to more than 90 destinations. Points can also be redeemed for international travel though Southwest’s airline partners, as well as hotel and resort partners like Best Western and Marriott Bonvoy.

You can also redeem points through the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal, where you can purchase a variety of travel options (including cruises, hotels and car rentals), gift cards, event tickets and merchandise. The Rapid Rewards portal makes it easy to maximize rewards through online shopping and access to exclusive offers.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card benefits

There are numerous Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card benefits, such as:

Sign-up bonus

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card’s sign-up bonus is another great benefit associated with the card. You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. This is an easy spending threshold to meet and an easy way to earn bonus points toward future traveling.

Low annual fee

This card offers the lowest annual fee of any Southwest card at $69 per year. Plus, the annual fee can easily be offset by other benefits of the card, such as the anniversary bonus.

Anniversary bonus

Each year on your account anniversary, you’ll earn 3,000 bonus points. You’ll can also earn up to 3X points per dollar at participating restaurants in the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program. This program is a great and easy way to start saving money on food expenses for your next trip.

Purchase protection

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card offers great purchase protection on items bought with the card. If the purchased item has a warranty of three years or less, you can get that warranty extended by one year. Also, if your item becomes damaged or stolen within 120 days after purchasing the item, you’ll be eligible for reimbursement of up to $500 per event and up to $50,000 per account.

Travel benefits

Of course, the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card has great travel benefits. The card offers lost luggage reimbursement of up to $3,000 per passenger. You’ll also receive baggage delay insurance, worth up to $100 per day for three days. Flight changes are free, which can be helpful if travel plans change, and you won’t have to worry about hefty baggage fees, as your first two checked bags are free (size and weight limits apply).

Also, with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card, you’ll receive two EarlyBird Check-In boarding upgrades each year (an up to $50 value), as well as 25 percent back on eligible in-flight purchases.

How to maximize Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card benefits

Maximizing the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card’s benefits will help you to get the most value out of your card and take advantage of its full potential.

Earn the sign-up bonus

One way you can maximize benefits is to wait to open the card until you’re sure you’ll be able to meet the requirements for the generous sign-up bonus. By meeting the $1,000 spending requirement in the first three months, the welcome bonus (worth up to $750) will cover the annual fee more than eight times over in the first year (based on a 1.5 cent point value), which is pretty impressive.

Use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program

Another way to maximize benefits is to take advantage of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program mentioned above. First, make sure you sign up for Rapid Rewards Dining emails. Those who receive emails earn up to six times more when dining than those who don’t opt in.

Also, plan to eat at participating restaurants so you can earn and use rewards. New members can earn 1,000 bonus points within the first 30 days, plus 500 bonus points when they earn their first 1,500 points. You can also earn a Thank You bonus of 300 points for each 1,000 points you earn when dining. And if you leave a review every time you visit a participating restaurant, you will earn 10 bonus points each time.

Use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping portal

Using the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping portal will help you to get the most value out of your card since the portal offers many options for additional rewards and discounts. Some merchants may offer up to 5X points or more for every dollar spent through the portal.

Earn Elite Status or the Companion Pass

While it may take some work, earning Southwest Elite Status and/or the Southwest Companion Pass can be valuable in the long run.

The bottom line

For those who prefer to travel with Southwest, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card is one of the best airline cards offered. You’ll be able to earn 2X points per dollar on Southwest purchases, including hotel, car rentals and local transit. Plus, you’ll still earn 1X on everything else. Besides its rewards rate, the card offers many other useful benefits for cardholders, including the sign-up bonus as well as the 3,000-point anniversary bonus, which can help you to start saving on your next trip.

Written by
Erin Bendig
Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing credit card information and personal finance advice with others.
Edited by
Associate Editor
up next
Part of  Introduction to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card