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Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus review: Earn points and in-flight discounts for a low annual fee

If you “LUV” flying on Southwest but don’t want to pay a high annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card is for you.

This card offers generous benefits, like an anniversary bonus, two EarlyBird Check-ins, and in-flight discounts, without breaking the bank. It also offers the same welcome bonus as higher-priced Southwest credit cards, so you’re not missing out on a more lucrative bonus offer.

Learn more about the , including its bonus, earning power, and fees.

Annual fee: $69

Welcome offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within three months

Rewards:

  • 2x points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners

  • 2x points on local transit and commuting

  • 2x points on select streaming services and internet, cable, and phone services

  • 1x points on all other purchases

More details: 3,000-point anniversary bonus, two EarlyBird Check-ins per year, 25% discount on in-flight purchases, 10,000 annual bonus points toward a Companion Pass, and travel and purchase protections

APR

This card charges a of 21.49% to 28.49% on purchases and balance transfers. When you pay your card in full each month, you have a grace period of at least 21 days from your statement closing date to pay your balance and avoid interest charges.

In addition to interest charges, also incur a fee of 5% of the amount transferred ($5 minimum). If you take a from your Southwest credit card, you’ll be charged a variable APR of 29.99%. Additionally, cash advance fees of 5% of the transaction amount (minimum $10) are added to your balance.

There’s no grace period for balance transfers and cash advances, meaning these will begin accruing interest immediately after the transaction date.

Annual fee

The charges an annual fee of $69, the lowest of all of the Southwest credit cards. For frequent fliers of Southwest, it should be fairly easy to recoup this cost.

Welcome offer

When you apply for the , you can earn 50,000 points after spending $1,000 during the first three months. You’ll earn the bonus by spending an average of about $350 per month, which is reasonable for most households to hit. The welcome bonus points could be worth $500 or more in travel on Southwest.

This credit card and bonus offer are not available if you have a Southwest consumer credit credit or have received a bonus from one of these cards in the last 24 months.

Intro offer

This card does not include an intro APR offer on purchases or balance transfers.

Rewards rate

  • 2x points on Southwest purchases

  • 2x points on purchases with Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners

  • 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares

  • 2x points on select streaming purchases and internet, cable, and phone services

  • 1x points on all other purchases

How to earn rewards

When you have the , there are multiple ways to earn points, including spending, renewing the card, and referring others to apply.

Welcome bonus

When you spend $1,000 within three months of opening your account, you’ll receive 50,000 bonus points. These points count toward earning the .

Anniversary bonus

Each year on your cardmember anniversary, get a bonus of 3,000 points.

Referring friends and family

Refer your friends and family to earn up to 100,000 bonus points per year. You’ll receive 20,000 bonus points for every person who uses your referral link and gets approved. They can apply for any Southwest personal credit card.

How to redeem rewards

Rapid Rewards members have numerous options when redeeming Southwest points, but booking flights typically offers the best value.

  • Booking flights. You can use Southwest points to book any flight as long as there’s a seat available. There are no blackout dates, and prices are based on the type of fare purchased.

  • Rapid Rewards Access Events. Get tickets to exclusive events by redeeming points. Curated events include wine tastings, destination getaways, and more.

  • Pay Yourself Back. Use points for statement credits to offset eligible purchases made within the previous 90 days.

Other redemption options include booking hotels, buying gift cards, shopping for merchandise, and signing up for experiences such as cruises or spa packages.

Additional benefits

In addition to earning points, the includes additional benefits that make the card worthwhile for Southwest travelers.

  • EarlyBird Check-ins. Cardholders receive reimbursement for two EarlyBird Check-ins charged to their card each year. EarlyBird Check-in provides a better boarding position by checking you into your flight 36 hours before departure. It typically costs $15 to $25 per passenger for each direction of their flight.

  • Companion Pass boost. Get 10,000 qualifying points toward Companion Pass each year to make it easier to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

  • 25% back on in-flight purchases. When you pay for in-flight drinks or WiFi with your Southwest credit card, you’ll receive a statement credit of 25% of the purchase amount.

  • Complimentary DoorDash DashPass. Activate this benefit by Dec. 31, 2024, to receive a complimentary DashPass membership for 12 months. Membership includes discounts and waived fees on eligible DoorDash and Caviar orders.

  • Travel protections. When using your card to book flights, you’ll receive complimentary lost luggage reimbursement and baggage delay insurance. Lost luggage benefits cover up to $3,000 per passenger when your bag is lost or damaged. Baggage delay includes up to $100 per day for three days when your bags are delayed by six hours or more.

  • Purchase protections. Eligible purchases on your Southwest Plus Card receive purchase protection and an extended warranty. Purchase protection covers you up to $500 when your items are damaged or stolen within 120 days of the purchase date. Extended warranty protection provides an extra year on top of eligible manufacturer warranties.

Who is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card best for?

The is best for travelers who want to earn Southwest points without committing to a high annual fee. It’s a good starter card for Southwest travelers because it includes appealing benefits and the lowest annual fee of any Southwest credit card.

This card provides unlimited 2x points on bonus categories and an anniversary bonus. Plus, it has the same welcome bonus opportunity as the other (more expensive) Southwest cards. Cardholders also get two EarlyBird Check-ins per year, discounts on in-flight drink and WiFi purchases.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card benefits

  • 3,000 anniversary points when you renew your card

  • Includes reimbursement for two EarlyBird Check-ins per year

  • Welcome bonus, anniversary points, and spending rewards count toward Companion Pass

  • Complimentary travel and purchase protections

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card potential drawbacks

  • Does not earn A-List qualifying points

  • Charges foreign transaction fees of 3%

  • Southwest has limited international destinations

  • Fixed redemption program doesn’t allow for premium travel experiences

Where can you use Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card?

The is a Visa card, so you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted. Visa is one of the most widely accepted credit cards in the U.S. and abroad, so you should be able to use it at nearly any merchant that accepts credit cards.

If you’re traveling internationally, you can use your Southwest Plus Card to make purchases. However, it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. Consider leaving this card at home and bringing a card that when traveling outside the U.S.

How to make a Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card payment

  • Online at or on its mobile app (, )

  • In-person at a

  • Over the phone at (800) 436-7958

  • Mail your payment to:
    Cardmember Services
    P.O. Box 6294
    Carol Stream, IL 60197-6294

  • Western Union payments using the code city WALNUT

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card customer service info

Customer service is available 24/7 at (800) 432-3117. You can also log into your Chase account or review the .

Alternative cards to consider

The is a solid choice for travelers who want to earn Rapid Rewards points on travel and everyday purchases. However, it isn’t the for everyone. Before applying, consider these alternatives to find the best card for your situation.

Why we like it: For frequent Southwest travelers, upgrading to the could be an excellent choice. While it has a $149 annual fee, it includes a $75 Southwest travel credit and 7,500 bonus points each year. It earns 50% more points than the Plus Card on Southwest purchases, and it includes four Upgraded Boardings per year. The Priority Card also waives foreign transaction fees and earns unlimited A-List points, which are features that the Plus Card doesn’t offer.

Why we like it: Travelers who want to be “free agents” when choosing their flights should consider the . This card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for cash back, travel, gift cards, and more. When redeeming points for travel through Chase, points are worth 25% more. Plus, points transfer to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners on a 1:1 basis, including Southwest.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card also includes more robust travel protections and a $50 annual credit toward hotel bookings through Chase Travel.

Why we like it: While Southwest is a popular domestic airline, it doesn’t offer business or first-class seating and has limited international destinations to choose from. If you want a premium travel experience or plan to fly outside North or Central America, earning airline miles from the could be a better choice.

This card includes priority boarding and the first checked bag free on United flights, plus you’ll get reimbursed for once every four years. Cardholders also get two United Club one-time passes each year, Premier upgrades on award tickets, and a 25% discount on in-flight food, drinks, and WiFi purchases.


Editorial Disclosure: The information in this article has not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The details on financial products, including card rates and fees, are accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information. This site doesn’t include all currently available offers.


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