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Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Review

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This article was last updated Jan 02, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

If you’re a frequent flyer on Southwest Airlines and belong to its Rapid Rewards® loyalty program, it only makes sense to consider adding the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card to your wallet.

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year.

  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.

Highlights
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
  • 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary each year.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Your points never expire, a benefit of the Rapid Rewards® program.

See additional details for Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

More Info

One major thing that makes the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card worth your consideration is the chance to earn the airline’s popular Companion Pass, which lets you bring along someone on your travels for the cost of government taxes and fees. In fact, the card’s recently launched sign-up bonus can help get you closer to the amount of points required to receive the pass: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year.

The downside is that the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card doesn’t come with common airline benefits, such as priority boarding or airport lounge access, like many other airline-branded credit cards. And although you get extra points for spending on Southwest-related travel, Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners and dining (for new card members during the first year), you don’t get them for groceries or gas.

So let’s be honest — there are other airline and travel-related cards that offer more points in these popular categories. And you can’t travel the globe with your points thanks to Southwest’s limited route map (North and Central America and the Caribbean). If you’re OK with these limits, this still could be the card for you.

Where Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card standes out in its category

While the card doesn’t offer many travel perks on its own, you do get the following rewards rate: Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

You also receive 3,000 bonus points every account anniversary year. Plus, you can earn 10,000 bonus points for each friend who gets the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, up to 50,000 points a year.

Racking up the points, on your card and by flying, helps you reach two levels of elite status on Southwest Airlines. A-List status gives you priority check-in and dedicated security lanes (where available), along with priority boarding, a 25% points bonus, a dedicated customer service line and free same-day standby on flights. A-List Preferred members get all of the above, plus a 100% points bonus and free in-flight Wi-Fi.

Another draw for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is its famous Companion Pass, which lets you choose one person to fly with you for free (you will only be responsible for taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way) each time you purchase or redeem points for a flight. The pass is valid for the remainder of the year in which you earned it, as well as the following full calendar year.

To get the companion pass, you either have to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.

There are no blackout dates or seat restrictions, you earn unlimited points that don’t expire as long as your card account is open and there are no limits on how many points you can earn.

You can use your rewards to travel to more than 100 destinations in the U.S., Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. And unlike other major U.S. airlines, Southwest is the only airline that offers two free checked bags for all travelers.

Where the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card falls short in its category

If you want to use your points to fly outside the United States, your options are limited. While Southwest Airlines has flights to the Caribbean, Mexico, Belize and Costa Rica, and recently announced plans for Hawaii flights, you’re out of luck if you want to use your points for travel to other international destinations.

Cardmembers with A-List or A-List Preferred status flying with family members or travel companions also cannot share their early boarding benefits.

Additional card benefits

  • Lost luggage reimbursement that covers you and your immediate family members’ checked or carry-on bags if they’re damaged or lost by the carrier for up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Baggage delay insurance that reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays more than six hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for three days.
  • An extension on a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by a year on eligible warranties of three years or less.
  • Purchase protection that covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Compare to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year.

  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Highlights
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary each year.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass®.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Your points never expire, a benefit of the Rapid Rewards® program.

See additional details for Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

More Info

It may be difficult to decide whether to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, because frankly, there aren’t many major differences between the two, besides the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card’s slightly higher $99 annual fee.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers the following sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year. Also receive the following rewards rate: Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Additionally, the card has the same travel and purchase benefits and the ability to go for the Companion Pass.

However, one big difference with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is the ability to earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) each time you spend $10,000 on it, up to $100,000 a year. These TPQs help you earn Rapid Rewards, which unlock the bevy of perks that come with A-List or A-List Preferred elite status on Southwest.

You also get 6,000 bonus points on your anniversary, double that offered by the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. And the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is the one you want to use outside of the country, since it has a $0 foreign transaction fee, unlike the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.

If you’re on the fence, here’s how the two cards compare:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Annual Fee $69 $99
Purchase Intro Rate N/A N/A
Balance Transfer Intro Rate N/A N/A
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Regular Purchase APR 15.99% - 22.99% Variable 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
Rewards Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Sign Up Bonus Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year.
Foreign Transaction Fee 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars $0

 


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