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

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (3.675/5)
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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (3.675/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Earn 50,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $99
  • Regular APR:
    18.24% – 25.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.

NextAdvisor’s Take

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
The Bottom Line
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card is a great option for Southwest loyalists. 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.

Additional Card Details

  • Get 6,000 points every year on your cardmember anniversary
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent
  • 25% off in-flight purchases
  • 2 early check-ins annually
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Full Review

Card Type

This card is a co-branded travel rewards card. You’ll earn points toward Southwest’s loyalty program on all of your spending.

Annual Fee

This card has a $99 annual fee.

Welcome Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Rewards

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card earns its highest rewards rate on Southwest purchases, but you’ll also get rewards on everyday spending.

  • 3x points on Southwest purchases 
  • 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 2x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners
  • 1x points on all other purchases

Fees 

This card has a variable APR between 18.24% and 25.24%. There are no foreign transaction fees, but late or returned payments will incur up to a $40 fee. The penalty APR is up to 29.99%.

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 $5,000 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 3 points per $1 you spend with Southwest. 

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.

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 also offer points on 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 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 the card’s welcome bonus earns 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months, 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.

Our Choice
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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Editor’s Score: (3.675/5)
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
  • Intro offer:
    60,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    18.24% – 25.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site
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Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Editor’s Score: (4.025/5)

Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Right for You?

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. 

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

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 16.74% to 23.74%, 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.