Points Panda has partnered with a variety of financial companies including CreditCards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Points Panda and CreditCards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. For more information please read our full Advertiser Disclosure.
With the lowest annual fee of $69, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is among the 5 credit cards offered by Southwest. If you are a Southwest loyalist and want to try out a Southwest Credit Card, then this entry-level card is what you are looking for. Rewards are low as compared to other Southwest cards, but if you are someone who doesn’t care about airline status or other benefits, then this card can be on your list of credit cards.
This card has a welcome bonus of 50,000
points after spending $1,000 on purchases
in the first 3 months from account opening.
Other major benefits include a 3,000 points
anniversary bonus and a companion pass.
On average, the value of Southwest Points is around 1.5 cents per point. Therefore, these 3,000-anniversary bonus points will be worth around $45, almost redeeming your annual fee with this benefit alone. Additionally, there are plenty of other benefits that come with this card. In this article, we are gonna talk about all the pros and cons of this card so you can make an informed decision about whether this card is for you are not.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Overview
- With this card, you are going to earn 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 3,000 points every year on your Cardmember anniversary.
- Earn 2X points for every $1 spent on Southwest purchases.
- Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, internet, cable, and phone services: select streaming.
- Earn 2 points for each dollar spent on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.
- Earn 1X points on all other Purchases.
- 3% foreign transaction fee.
- You will also get 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
Pros and Cons
- 3,000 aniversary bonus
- Generous signup bonus
- Fast track to companion pass
- Low rewards
- low reward redemption flexibility
- 3% foriegn transaction fee
With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, you can earn 50,000 bonus points by spending $1,000 within the first 3 months, redeemable for different benefits like Southwest flights, gift cards, statement credit, merchandise, etc. The Rapid Rewards points can be redeemed for gift cards, flights, hotels, cruises, and more. Also, there is no expiration on these points, so you don’t have to worry about your stacked points; you can use them whenever you want.
On average, Southwest points are worth around 1.5 cents per point, so your 50,000 welcome bonus will be around $750. However, note that the redemption value changes on the method of redemption, so this value can vary.
The rewards rate on Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is low as compared to other cards offered by Southwest; however, if you are a Southwest loyalist, then you can get decent value from these rewards:
- You can earn 2X points for every $1 spent on Southwest purchases; these points can help you book an award flight, companion pass, or other benefits.
- Earn 2X points for every $1 spent on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners, some of which include Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt, AVIS, Hertz, etc.
- Earn 2X points for $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, passenger trains, buses, taxis, parking lots, garages, etc.
- Earn 2 points for each dollar spent on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming like Disney+, Netflix, Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube premium, etc.
- On all other purchases, you are going to earn 1X points for each $1 spent.
Rapid Rewards Redemption
With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, you can earn Points for every purchase you make. These Points can be used to get various rewards like award flights, hotel stays, and gift cards from popular retailers and restaurants. On average, each Point is worth around 1.5 cents when you redeem them for these goodies. So, you can turn your everyday spending into exciting rewards!
Southwest Cards have low reward redemption flexibility, but you have options, including redeeming them for hotel stays, car rentals, exciting experiences, gift cards, and more through the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal. However, if you want to maximize the value of your points, the best way is by booking a Southwest flight, where you can get a value of at least 1.5 cents per point when redeeming for an award flight. Southwest allows you to use your points for flights within the United States, including Hawaii, as well as to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, giving you a wide array of destinations to choose from for your next adventure!
Unfortunately, Southwest Airlines doesn’t have any airline partners, so your reward redemption is limited; it’s a major drawback for someone who doesn’t fly Southwest frequently.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card Benefits
This card comes with decent benefits for an entry-level card, and if you fly Southwest frequently, then you can make the most of them:
3,000 Anniversary Points
This benefit alone can cover more than half of your annual fee; every year you keep the card, you’ll get a generous 3,000-point anniversary bonus. That bonus is worth approximately $45( based on a redemption value of 1.5 cents per point, it can vary on the method of redemption).
One of the major benefits Southwest Credit Cards are famous for is the Southwest companion pass.
With this fantastic pass, you can bring along a companion on your flights without any extra cost (requires taxes and fees) whenever you book or use points for your trip. All you need to do is earn 135,000 qualifying points within a year. The points you earn with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card count towards unlocking this pass. That includes the points from sign-up bonuses and anniversary bonuses too.
And if you have this Southwest Credit Card, you’ll get a nice 10,000-point boost every year! This point comes in handy for qualifying, but just to be clear, these particular points can’t be used to book flights. Click here for more details on the companion pass.
Ger A-List or A-List Preferred Status Faster
The Rapid Rewards Plus Card lets you earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points (TQPs) for every $10,000 spent on the card. This can fast-track your journey towards A-list status, which requires 35,000 TQPs, or A-list Preferred, which requires 70,000 TQPs in a calendar year.
Here are some of the additional perks you’ll get once you reach elite status:
- A-list Status – A-list members will get priority boarding, 25% bonus points on qualifying flights, priority check-in and security lane access, same-day standby, and a dedicated A-list member phone line.
- A-list Preferred Status – A-list preferred will get priority boarding, 100% bonus points on qualifying flights, in-flight WIFI, priority check-in and security lane access, same-day standby, and a dedicated A-list member phone line.
Two EarlyBird Check-In
As a cardholder, you’ll receive a special reward each year on your account anniversary – two EarlyBird Check-Ins. These check-ins are given to you as a statement credit after you use your card to make a purchase. Normally, EarlyBird Check-Ins cost between $15 to $25 for each leg of your flight, but with this benefit, you won’t have to worry about paying that fee. The best part is that it takes care of your check-in process automatically 36 hours before your flight’s departure.
Other Perks And Benefits
In-Flight Purchase Discount
Whenever you use your card to pay for inflight drinks or Wi-Fi, You’ll receive 25% back as a statement credit, which means you’ll get some of that money back on your credit card bill.
Travel Protection and Insurance
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement – A reimbursement of up to $3,000 per passenger for lost and damaged bags.
- Baggage Delay Insurance – A reimbursement of up to $100 per day (maximum three days) for bags that are delayed for 6 hours or more.
- Travel Accident Insurance – Provides up to $500,000 in death or dismemberment coverage.
- Purchase Protection – Get up to $10,000 per claim for items that have been damaged or stolen within 120 of purchases.
- Extended Warranty Protection – Extends manufacturer warranties by one more year for eligible companies that have a warranty of three years or less.
How Much Are Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card Rewards Worth?
When selecting a credit card, one crucial aspect to consider is whether you can make the most of its rewards. In the case of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, it has a significant drawback – both its reward redemption options and rewards rate are quite low. However, there are still some available options where you can get approximately 1.5 cents of value for each point you earn. Despite its limitations, this can still be considered a decent value for your accumulated points.
If you want to make the most out of your points, you should redeem points for travel on Southwest flights! Although there are other options like gift cards and merchandise available, they usually won’t give you as much value as those flight redemptions do. So, if you’re looking to maximize the benefits of your points, booking Southwest flights is definitely the way to go!
Who is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card For?
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card can be a great choice for people who fly from time to time and enjoy flying with Southwest. With this card, you can earn rewards like an Anniversary bonus, companion pass, etc., which are nice perks. However, if you’re looking for a credit card that offers additional travel benefits like some other cards do or one that can elevate your status with airlines, then you might want to explore other credit card options.
Also, keep in mind when it comes to redeeming your points, your options are a bit restricted as there are no airline partners of Southwest. At last, it all depends on you what are your needs and expectations from this card.
Other Credit Cards to Consider
It’s important to note that the best competitor for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card will depend on your specific spending habits and goals. Before choosing a card, it’s important to compare the rewards and benefits of each option to determine which one will provide the most value for you.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card vs Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the top card offered by Southwest, with its annual fee of $149 being higher than the Plus card. The rewards rate and signup bonus differ in both cards. However, with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, you will receive 7,500 bonus points annually as an anniversary bonus.
Another benefit that makes the Priority Card dominant is the $75 Southwest travel credit, which you can use towards your travel expenses. Additionally, the Priority Card offers 4 upgraded boardings per year when available, whereas the Southwest Plus card only offers 2 EarlyBird check-ins per year.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card vs Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has an annual fee of $99, but there are more rewards in Premier Card. With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Plus, you will earn 3X points per dollar spent. When comparing the anniversary bonus, Premier Card offers 6,000 points annually, which is double what the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card card provides.
Additionally, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card does not earn any tier qualifying points, and it also has a 3% foreign transaction fee, whereas the Southwest Premier Card has no foreign transaction fees.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® is one of the top travel cards out there. There are so many benefits of this card that it dominates the Plus card in every way and with an annual fee of $95. The interesting part is that you can transfer your Chase points to Southwest at a ratio of 1:1, so if you wanna book a Southwest flight with points, this card has a solution for you. You are going to earn 5X points per dollar spent on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
With this awesome credit card, you’ll enjoy a bunch of fantastic travel protections, plus there’s a $50 annual hotel credit too. So, It’s like a one-sided win with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card if you don’t fly Southwest frequently.
If you’re a frequent Southwest flyer, you’ll absolutely adore the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. It’s packed with numerous benefits, similar to its more premium counterparts. However, if you’re seeking even greater flexibility in redeeming rewards and more travel-related perks, you might want to explore other credit card options out there.
Keep track of your spending categories and select a credit card that rewards you for your most frequent purchases. Sign up for our travel concierge service, and we will help you uncover the finest credit cards of 2023, as well as incredible travel deals and how to leverage your points for maximum value.
PointsPanda Deal of the Week!
Looking for the best flight deals? Each week we'll send you updates with the best deals on flights and hotels both using points and cash.