Southwest credit cards make free flights easier

Frequent Southwest Airlines flyers will soon have two options for their favorite airline credit card, according to officials at Chase. Southwest recently announced changes to its Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program that offer additional earning potential for business travelers. Chase announced similar changes to the credit cards it markets under Southwest's brand, splitting its offering into two cards.

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card and the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card will both follow the airline's cue by offering reward points instead of reward dollars starting on March 1, 2011. Cardholders with Premier status will now enjoy a 6,000-point bonus on their anniversary dates, while Plus Card members will receive 3,000 bonus points every year.

Under terms of the new Southwest credit card offerings, reward points can now be redeemed through a global network of partner airlines for fares to over 800 international destinations. Cardholders will earn two points for every dollar spent on Southwest airfare and on other travel expenses at participating hotel and car rental partners. By earning a point for every dollar spent elsewhere with the card, members can earn flights and companion passes more quickly than under the previous reward program.