Credit Card Reviews

Southwest Rapid Rewards? Premier Credit Card: Extra Miles But Few Perks

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Chase offers three Southwest consumer credit cards that you can use to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Each card offers the same intro bonus and earnings rate on purchases, but different annual fees and cardholder benefits. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is in the middle of the pack.

Points count toward the Southwest Companion PassAnnual fee
Receive extra points each yearModest rewards on purchases
Earn tier qualifying points that count toward elite statusOther Southwest credit cards may offer more value
No foreign exchange fees
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The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card could be a good fit for occasional Southwest flyers who don't want to spend a lot on annual fees or travel frequently outside the country. While it costs $99 a year, you'll receive 6,000 Rapid Rewards points annually after your cardmember anniversary (worth about $90) and you won't pay foreign transaction fees.

A Large Intro Bonus Can Help You Earn the Companion Pass

All three Southwest consumer credit cards currently offer identical, large intro bonuses for new cardholders. You can earn 40,000 bonus points after making $1,000 worth of eligible purchases during your first 3 months with the card.

The amount of points you'll need to redeem for a flight depends on the flight and type of ticket you purchase. While the exact value varies, Rapid Rewards points are worth about 1.5 cents each on average. This means the potential 40,000 point intro bonus is worth about $600 if you use the points to book travel on Southwest airlines.

The intro bonus is even more valuable when it helps you earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. Once you earn 125,000 qualifying points from credit card bonus, using your Southwest credit card, flying on Southwest and booking partner hotel stays and rental cars, you'll receive a Companion Pass—a nearly buy-one-get-one-free benefit for all your Southwest flights.

The Companion Pass is good for the rest of the calendar year plus the next calendar year, so the earlier in the year you meet the requirement, the longer you'll be able to use the benefit.

As a Companion Pass holder, you can add your companion to any flight you book (including rewards flights) and there's no charge for their ticket other than taxes and fees. Those start at just $5.60 per one-way flight. You can change your companion up to three times each year.

Earn Rewards on Purchases and an Anniversary Bonus

In addition to the intro bonus, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers several benefits:

  • Earn 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest flights and Rapid Rewards partner hotel and car rental purchases. Get 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
  • Receive 6,000 points each cardholder anniversary. This can help cover much of the $99 annual fee.
  • Get 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 you spend, on up to $100,000 in purchases each calendar year. This can help you earn A-List or A-List Preferred status, which offers benefits including priority boarding, same-day standby and a 25% or 100% earning bonus.

Consider the Pros and Cons of Each Card

If you fly Southwest at least once or twice a year, you might be better off with the higher-end card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. Although that card has a $149 annual fee, it comes with an annual $75 Southwest travel credit that you can use to purchase flights.

In other words, you're spending an extra $50 to get a $75 credit. In addition, you receive 7,500 anniversary points, 20% back on in-flight drinks and WiFi, and four upgraded boardings per year when available (a value of $120 to $200).

If you'd prefer to pay less in fees each year, you could opt for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. It has a $69 annual fee, but you only receive 3,000 anniversary points and you can't earn TQPs.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the three consumer cards:

Plus Credit CardPremier Credit CardPriority Credit Card
Annual fee$69$99$149
Rewards from purchases2 points per $1 spent on Southwest flights and Rapid Rewards partner hotels and rental cars.

1 point per $1 elsewhere

2 points per $1 spent on Southwest flights and Rapid Rewards partner hotels and rental cars.

1 point per $1 elsewhere

2 points per $1 spent on Southwest flights and Rapid Rewards partner hotels and rental cars.

1 point per $1 elsewhere

Bonus points each cardmember year3,0006,0007,500
Foreign transaction fee3%NoneNone
Earn tier qualifying points (TQPs) from purchasesNo1,500 TQPs per $10,000 spent on up to $100,000 in purchases each calendar year 1,500 TQPs per $10,000 spent on up to $100,000 in purchases each calendar year
Additional Southwest benefitsNoNo$75 annual Southwest travel credit

Statement credits for four upgraded boardings each year

20% statement credit on inflight drinks and WiFi

Cardholders Also Get Travel and Purchase Protections

When you apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, you may get approved for a Visa Platinum version of the card if your credit limit is below $5,000 or a Visa Signature version if your credit limit is $5,000 or higher.

For the most part, the two versions offer the same benefits. In addition to a higher credit limit, however, the Visa Signature card comes with travel and emergency assistance services and more travel accident insurance coverage. You may also receive additional perks from Visa with your Signature card.

Travel and purchase protections that come with your Southwest card may include:

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: If your rental car gets damaged or is stolen, this secondary coverage may provide protection.
  • Roadside dispatch: You can be connected to a roadside dispatch service and have the charges applied to your card.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: Get reimbursed for the cash value of your items if you're traveling and your bags are lost, stolen or damaged. The benefit will only cover what the airline doesn't pay for and up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Baggage delay insurance: You can get up to $100 a day (three days maximum), which you can use to purchase eligible essential supplies such as toiletries and clothing if your bags get delayed for more than six hours.
  • Travel accident insurance: Receive up to $250,000 (up to $500,000 with a Visa Signature card) if you're involved in a covered accident, such as one that results in the loss of your life, a limb, hearing or speech.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services: Exclusive for the Visa Signature card, you can use these services to get referrals to local medical, legal, translation and emergency transportation providers when you're away from home. The service provider can also help you, subject to local laws, replace lost, forgotten or stolen documents, such as a prescription at your own expense.
  • Extended warranty protection: You can get up to one additional year of warranty coverage on purchases if the eligible, original warranty was for three years or less.
  • Purchase protection: If something you purchase is lost or stolen within 120 days from the day you purchase it, you can get reimbursed up to $500 per incident and $50,000 per account.

These benefits aren't unique to the Southwest credit cards, as they come from the credit card network—Visa, in this case. To receive the benefits, make sure you use your credit card for purchases or to book travel.

Additional Info

Purchase APR: 17.49% - 24.49% VariableGrace period: 21 days
Transfer APR: 17.49% - 24.49% VariableAnnual fee: $99
Cash advance APR: 26.49%Balance transfer fee: Greater of $5 or 5% of the transferred balance amount
Minimum interest charge: NoneCash advance fee: Greater of $10 or 5% of the cash advance amount
Foreign transaction fee: None
Late payment fee: Up to $39
Returned payment fee: Up to $39

Authorized-User Policy

You can add an authorized user to your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card for free. Whoever you designate will then receive a card that's linked to your account. While they can use it to make purchases, you'll receive the miles from those purchases and be legally responsible for both your and their cards' transactions.

Is This Card Right for You?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is best suited for infrequent flyers who enjoy Southwest Airlines. If you know you'll be flying on Southwest several times a year, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card might wind up costing you less overall, even though it has a higher annual fee. If you rarely fly, consider a general travel card that offers rewards you can use on multiple airlines or for other types of travel.