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Best Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards of June 2024

Best Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards of 2024

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Best for a Low Annual Fee

Southwest Rapid Rewards? Plus Credit Card

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Up to 2X Reward Rate

Earn 2X points on Southwest purchases, purchases with Southwest hotel and rental car partners, local transit, commuting, internet, cable, and phone services, and 1X points on other purchases.

Annual Fee
$69
Welcome Offer
85,000 points
Regular APR
21.49% to 28.49% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
Although the Southwest Rapid Rewards? Plus Credit Card isn’t the heaviest on benefits, it’s the lightest on an annual fee. This would be a perfect Southwest starter card for travelers who aren’t ready to commit to a higher-fee option but still want a card with a handful of valuable benefits and a hefty welcome offer. It’s easy to earn points on this card, with rewards on Southwest purchases and everyday purchases, along with 10,000 Companion Pass? qualifying points each year just for being a card member! Additionally, you can take advantage of a nice inflight discount and anniversary bonus points. If you’re willing to spend a bit more on an annual fee you might find a card with more perks, but for $69 a year, this card is still a decent option.

Best for Southwest Loyalists

Southwest Rapid Rewards? Priority Credit Card

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Up to 3X Reward Rate

Earn 3 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, 2 points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental purchases, 2 points per dollar on local transit, internet, cable, and more, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Annual Fee
$149
Welcome Offer
85,000 points
Regular APR
21.49% to 28.49% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
Southwest’s highest-fee consumer card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards? Priority Credit Card offers decently more value than other Southwest cards. The $75 Southwest travel credit each year can make up for over half the annual fee by itself. Then if you add the 4 upgraded boardings per year and a high-value anniversary bonus, its perks can easily make up for the $149 annual fee. On top of that, you can earn 1,500 tier-qualifying points (TQPs) for every $10,000 spent in purchases annually, boosting you toward elite status. You’ll also get 10,000 Companion Pass? qualifying points every year just for being a card member. If you’re a Southwest loyalist, look no further than the Southwest Rapid Rewards? Priority Credit Card.

Best for Business Travelers

Southwest? Rapid Rewards? Performance Business Credit Card

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Up to 4X Reward Rate

Earn 4X points on Southwest purchases, 3X points on purchases with Southwest hotel and rental car partners, 2X points on rideshare and social media advertising, internet, cable, and phone services, and 1X points on other purchases.

Annual Fee
$199
Welcome Offer
80,000 points
Regular APR
21.49% to 28.49% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The Southwest? Rapid Rewards? Performance Business Credit Card has the priciest annual fee of any Southwest card but also boasts a significant amount of value. The rewards rate is the highest of any Southwest card, with 4 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and decent rewards on other purchases. Plus, you’ll get 10,000 Companion Pass? qualifying points every year just for being a card member! On top of that, this card also comes with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, 4 upgraded boardings per year, a generous welcome offer, inflight wifi credits, and more. The dedicated business traveler could easily squeeze enough value out of this card to make the $199 annual fee worth it.

Best for Business Travelers + Low Annual Fee

Southwest? Rapid Rewards? Premier Business Credit Card

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Up to 3X Reward Rate

Earn 3X points on Southwest purchases and 2X points on purchases with Southwest hotel and rental car partners. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting (incl. rideshare), and 1X points on other purchases.

Annual Fee
$99
Welcome Offer
60,000 points
Regular APR
21.49% to 28.49% variable
Recommended Credit
Excellent (740 - 850)
Why we like it
With the Southwest? Rapid Rewards? Premier Business Credit Card, you can access perks like 3X points on Southwest purchases and 6,000 anniversary points each year. On top of that, you’ll get 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for every $10,000 spent, giving you a boost toward elite status. It’s not as benefit-heavy as the Performance Business card, but if your business doesn’t travel enough to justify a higher annual fee, this card may make a good addition to your wallet. If you’re not Southwest loyalists, other business credit cards may provide more in the way of travel benefits.

Comparing Southwest Airlines credit cards

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More details on Southwest Rapid Rewards cards

Southwest Rapid Rewards? Plus Credit Card

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The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is the lowest-fee Southwest card, making it perfect for the individual who prefers this airline but doesn’t fly enough to maximize the benefits of a higher-tier option. However, this one charges a foreign transaction fee.

Earning rewards: Earn 2x points on Southwest purchases, Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases, local transit and commuting (including rideshare), and on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming and 1x points on all other purchases.

Welcome bonus: Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Other perks: 3,000 anniversary bonus points each year, 2 Early Bird check-ins each year, 10,000-point boost each year in Companion Pass qualifying points, 25% in-flight discount, and various travel protections.

?? Read more: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus review

Southwest Rapid Rewards? Priority Credit Card

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The Southwest Rapid Rewards? Priority Credit Card is the best option for Southwest loyalists, with an annual travel credit, a chance to earn tier-qualifying points, and more.

Earning rewards: Earn 3x points on Southwest purchases, 2x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental purchases, 2x points on local transit and commuting (including rideshare), 2x points on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming, and 1x points on other purchases.

Welcome bonus: Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Other perks: $75 annual Southwest travel credit, no foreign transaction fees, 7,500 anniversary bonus points each year, 25% in-flight discount, 10,000 points toward Companion pass each year, 4 upgraded boardings per year, and various travel protections.

Southwest? Rapid Rewards? Performance Business Credit Card

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The Southwest? Rapid Rewards? Performance Business Credit Card is full of benefits for the Southwest-loyal business traveler. It has the highest annual fee of any of the cards on this list but also has the most valuable perks.

Earning rewards: Earn 4x points for every dollar you spend with Southwest. Earn 3x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental purchases, 2x points on transit, rideshare expenses, internet, cable and phone services, and search engine and social media advertising purchases. Earn 1x points on other purchases.

Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Other perks: 9,000 point anniversary bonus, 4 upgraded boardings each year (when available), up to $100 credit for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or Nexus application fee, 10,000 point boost each year in Companion Pass qualifying points, 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $10,000 spent in purchases annually, up to 365 credits per year ($8 per credit) for in-flight Wifi service on Southwest, up to $500 a year statement credit toward transfer fees.

Southwest? Rapid Rewards? Premier Business Credit Card

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The Southwest? Rapid Rewards? Premier Business Credit Card has fewer benefits than the Performance Business Card, but its annual fee is also significantly more manageable if you don’t fly a ton.

Earning rewards: Earn 3x points on Southwest purchases and 2x points on hotels and car rentals booked through the Rapid Rewards program and qualifying transit expenses. Earn 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Other perks: 6,000 anniversary points per year, two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year, $500 in fee credits to help cover point transfers and a 25% inflight purchase discount. Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status for every $10,000 spent.

Southwest credit card benefits

Anniversary points

Anniversary points are awarded each calendar year. You don’t have to do anything to qualify for these points other than keep your account open and in good standing. The points are added to your rewards balance sometime after your cardmember anniversary, which is the date you opened your account.

Annual travel credit

The Southwest Rapid Rewards? Priority Credit Card comes with a $75 annual travel credit. You can use the credit to cover travel costs with Southwest.

Earn points towards A-list status

Both business credit cards and the Premier and Priority personal credit cards help you earn points toward an A-list status with Southwest. A-list status lets you access benefits such as priority boarding.

The cards that offer this benefit provide 1,500 tier-qualifying bonus points after you spend $10,000 each year.

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit

The Performance business credit card includes a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee. The other cards on this list don’t currently advertise this benefit.

Upgrade boarding positions

The Performance Business credit card and the Priority personal credit card include a perk that lets you upgrade boardings four times each year for free. Note that you can only do this when the option to upgrade is available, so it isn’t a perk that works for every flight.

EarlyBird Check-In credits

The cards on this list that don’t offer upgraded boarding perks offer EarlyBird Check-In credits. It’s a value of $15 to $25 per flight and helps ensure you’re one of the first to board the plane.

25% discount on in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi

The personal Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards and the Premier Business card offer a 25% discount on in-flight purchases, including drinks and Wi-Fi. You get this discount in the form of 25% back on your statement.

Path to Companion Pass

Companion Pass is a Southwest perk that lets qualifying individuals choose a companion to fly with them at no additional airfare — but you do have to pay taxes and fees on the companion flight. To access this perk, you need 135,000 points earned in the year or 100 qualifying one-way flights.

The cards on this list offer 10,000 boost points toward the 135,000 points you need before Companion Pass is enabled.

Southwest credit card rewards

Southwest welcome offer

The personal Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards on this list have the same welcome offer— 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

That offer changes somewhat frequently but is almost always the same on all personal cards.

??? See our picks: Best credit card sign-up bonuses

Earning points

The best way to earn points with any card on this list is to use it to make purchases with Southwest.

Depending on which card you hold, you’ll earn 2 to 4 points per dollar on those purchases. Every card also provides other ways to earn 2 to 3 points per dollar, and for any purchases that don’t fall into a specific earnings category, you earn 1 point per dollar.

Redeem Rapid Rewards points

You can redeem Rapid Rewards points in a variety of ways. You’ll get the most value from points when you use them to book flights with Southwest Airlines.

You can also use points to:

Who should get a Southwest credit card?

Only consider getting a Southwest-branded credit card if you’re a loyal flyer of Southwest Airlines. These cards can easily help enhance your experience and let you rack up a significant amount of rewards when booking flights.

However, since Southwest already has certain perks like free bags available to everyone, these cards don’t have (or even need to have) that perk. Southwest also doesn’t have any airport lounges, so none of these cards come with lounge access. Overall, these aren’t as perk-heavy as many airline cards, so think about whether it’s worth it to add one to your lineup.

How to choose the best Southwest Airlines credit card

Consider your budget, rewards preferences, credit score and other factors when selecting the right Southwest Airlines card for you.

Some factors to consider include:

  1. Annual fee. All cards in the Southwest suite charge an annual fee, but if you want to minimize your cost, the Plus card may be the best choice. However, always look at the value of the benefits you can definitely use with each card to see if they outweigh the annual fee.
  2. Travel needs. Individuals who travel frequently and can maximize rewards value may want to opt for the Priority card.
  3. Foreign transaction fee. If you like to travel overseas, it’s important to note that the Plus card has a foreign transaction fee, so it wouldn’t be the best card for international travel.
  4. Spending habits. Look for a card that aligns rewards with your spending habits. For instance, a business that spends a lot on digital marketing might consider the Performance Business card, as it lets you earn 2x points on search engine and social media marketing expenses.

Apply for a Southwest Airlines credit card

You can apply for any of these?airline credit cards online.

You’ll need:

The cards on this list require at least good credit. Most applicants will know if they’re approved within minutes, but some applicants may go through a longer verification process that can take a few days or weeks.

You can learn more about each of the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards through the links below and choose to apply if you think one would be a good fit.

Alternatives to Southwest credit cards

If you’re not a frequent flyer or Southwest loyalist — or it doesn’t make sense to fly Southwest given your business or home location — the Rapid Rewards credit cards aren’t a great choice for you.?If it makes more sense for you to fly with Delta or United, check out our reviews of Delta Air Lines credit cards and United Airlines credit cards.

As an alternative, you could consider these other rewards credit cards:

Note: The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by?LA Times Compare. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

FAQ: Southwest credit cards

Is a Southwest credit card worth it?

A Southwest Rapids Reward credit card can provide valuable rewards and travel perks for those who fly frequently with Southwest. If you don’t fly with the airline often, you are probably better off with a different?travel rewards credit card.

Which Southwest credit card is best?

The best credit card for you depends on your spending habits and personal preferences. However, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card offers the most travel perks and points-earning capability among the Rapid Rewards cards for individuals.

What credit score do I need to get a Southwest credit card?

Southwest credit cards require good or excellent credit. Individuals with FICO credit scores of 670 or higher are more likely to get approved for the cards than those with lower scores.

How much are Southwest Airlines points worth?

The value of Rapid Rewards depends on how you redeem them. The best value is achieved by redeeming the points with Southwest for flights. In this case, points are worth an average of 1.5 cents each.

How do you get a Companion Pass with a Southwest credit card?

The Companion Pass is achieved each year when you have 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 135,000 points. You can use a Southwest credit card to help you get the Companion Pass by earning points. The personal Rapid Rewards credit cards also provide 10,000 annual points toward Companion Pass status.

Do Southwest credit cards have foreign transaction fees?

Southwest credit cards do not have any foreign transaction fees, except for the Southwest Rapid Rewards? Plus Credit Card.

About the Author

Sarah Stasik
Sarah Stasik Personal Finance

Sarah Stasik is well versed in personal finance thanks to her previous role as a Revenue Cycle Manager for a Fortune 500 healthcare company. Using her inside knowledge and expertise, Sarah often covers topics ranging from insurance and the economics of private healthcare to personal finance and small business management.

With more than a dozen years of writing experience, Sarah has tackled niches that range from technical advances in fintech to personal budgeting challenges. She has covered topics such as insurance and the economics of private healthcare, small business management and accounting, and credit and savings. Her writing focuses on making complex or seemingly daunting financial topics more accessible and providing helpful and relevant resources for readers.

* Opinions expressed here are those of the LA Times Compare Cards Team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser or entities included within this content. See our editorial policy for more details.

All products or services are presented in this content without warranty. The information, including card details such as rates and fees, is accurate at the time of publish. Please visit each bank's website directly for the most current information.

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