Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Review: Great Card for Southwest Loyalists

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Rewards rate:

Earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other Southwest® purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: 40,000 points
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Regular APR: 15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card (issued by Chase) is a great option for Southwest loyalists, especially if you want to pursue elite status with the airline or you travel with a big family and want your travel rewards to cover seats for everyone. You don’t need to be in the air all the time to get value from this card, but since its highest rewards are on Southwest purchases, you’ll get the most value if you fly with the airline at least a few times each year and can offset the annual fee. The Southwest Rapid Rewards program also offers unlimited award seats with no blackout dates, no change fees and two free checked bags per person.

At a Glance

  • Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
  • 2x points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases 
  • 1x points per $1 spent on everything else
  • $99 annual fee
  • Get 6,000 points every year on your cardmember anniversary

Pros

  • Generous sign-up bonus offer

  • Get 6,000 points on your cardmember anniversary

  • Southwest offers unlimited award seats and two free checked bags

Cons

  • $99 annual fee

  • Limited redemption options for rewards

  • Southwest flies to limited international destinations

Additional Card Details

Beyond the valuable 6,000-point annual bonus and Companion Pass, don’t expect many added benefits from the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier. 

But there are a few key travel benefits, including lost luggage reimbursement worth up to $3,000 per passenger, baggage delay coverage good for up to $100 per day for three days, extended warranties on eligible items and purchase protection against damage or theft. 

And if you plan to fly Southwest’s international routes throughout Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, the card charges no foreign transaction fees.

Should You Get this Card?

To get the most value from Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, your travel calendar should be booked with destinations within the airline’s network. If you frequent international destinations beyond North America, you won’t get much value from Rapid Rewards.

Because one of the most valuable perks of this card is its high-value welcome bonus, you might also want to wait and apply when you’re ready to book an upcoming trip, so you can meet the spending minimum and rack up extra points while doing so.  

If you do prefer domestic travel, there are plenty of reasons to choose Southwest (and start racking up points with this card). Not only does this airline let you book as many seats per flight as you like with your rewards (based on availability), but they also let you change flights without any change fees. This can be an especially important benefit today, when domestic and international travel plans are often uncertain, even after booking. You also get two free checked bags for everyone in your party whether you pay with cash or points, which can easily lead to $480 in savings per round-trip flight for a family of four, compared to other airlines. 

Pro Tip

If you’re angling for free flights with one of the most budget-friendly domestic airlines out there, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier is a solid bet. However, keep in mind that Southwest flies to limited destinations outside the United States, so you should only sign up if your travel plans are within the continental U.S. or to Hawaii, Mexico, or the Caribbean.

How to Use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

When you sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, you’ll want to make sure you meet the minimum spending requirement for the bonus. This means spending at least $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening.

Make this your go-to card for any purchases you make with the airline, to take advantage of the 2 points per $1 you spend with Southwest. 

Each month, your points balance is automatically transferred to your Southwest Airlines account. When you’re ready to redeem, you can exchange Rapid Rewards points for flights with Southwest, hotels, rental cars, merchandise, and gift cards. But you’ll often get the best value sticking with flight redemptions, especially considering Southwest low-cost tickets and variable redemption values.

For spending outside of Southwest, it’s a good idea to pair this card with another rewards card for your regular spending and bills, since it only gives you one point per $1 on regular purchases.

Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for travel tend to be a good option for pairing since they offer more points on dining and travel, and allow you to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example, you would earn 2x points on dining and travel purchases, which you could easily transfer to your Southwest frequent flyer account when you’re ready.

Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card can also give you a leg up if you’re pursuing the Southwest Companion Pass — a perk that lets your companion fly for free (you only pay the cost of airline taxes and fees). To get the Companion Pass, you must either fly 100 one-way flights within a calendar year or earn 125,000 qualifying points within a calendar year.

Since this card’s welcome bonus earns 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 within three months of account opening, you’ll get a head start as long as you earn the welcome bonus. Later, the 6,000-point annual bonus offers a small ongoing boost toward maintaining the Companion Pass benefit.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Compared to Other Cards

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • Intro bonus:
    40,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $99
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    100,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Bottom Line

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card can be a winner for your wallet if you frequently travel by air and Southwest is your airline of choice. You’ll have to pay the $99 annual fee but the annual 6,000 point credit does a lot to offset that cost if you play your redemptions right.

And though it earns great rewards on Southwest purchases, this card only gives you 1 point per dollar of regular spending. Consider pairing it with another rewards card for other everyday spending. Always make sure you pay your credit card bill in full each month, or else you’ll incur this card’s high variable APR, thus wiping out any rewards you earn.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Premier?

There are a few differences between the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. However, the most notable is the fact that the Premier version charges $99 per year and gives you 6,000 points on your cardmember anniversary, whereas the Plus version charges $69 per year and rewards just 3,000 points on your cardmember anniversary. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card also comes with no foreign transaction fees, whereas the Plus version charges a 3% fee on purchases you make outside the United States.

What is the interest rate on a Southwest credit card?

The interest rate on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card is currently a variable rate of 15.99% to 22.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.

Which Southwest Airlines credit card is the best?

The best Southwest credit card for you depends on your spending and how often you fly. Make sure to compare available Southwest cards, plus other airline cards before you decide.