Southwest's new reward plan sucks. What's the best replacement for Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus credit card?

By , CardRatings contributor
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    Question: Southwest's new reward plan sucks. Earning flights on the old system is much better than the new system. The old system worked well for me. What's the best replacement for Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus credit card?

    Answer: Tell me how you really feel. I get the impression you're holding something back. OK, seriously, sorry to hear that. You aren't alone in griping about Southwest, which changed its reward plan earlier this year, although some customers, I suspect, love it.

    The main complaint that I've heard is that the rewards are now slanted toward benefiting how much money a passenger spends instead of how many trips are taken. It used to be that people who flew on a lot of short trips really cleaned up in getting free flights. Now, not so much. It's the travelers who fly across the country who are doing really well, and I'm guessing the people who travel quite a bit, maybe not as much as you but spend a fortune nonetheless, are thinking it's a great plan.

    As for the best replacement for your airline credit card, it's so hard to say, since Southwest is following the lead of the other airlines, and while there are a lot of good cards, I don't know what your preferences are going to be. You may love the perks a card has but balk at paying the annual fee. Or the interest rate on any of the cards I'm about to mention may annoy you even if the rewards make the card attractive. In any case, for a start, you can look through the offers we carry on CardRatings.com for a credit card that offers bonus points from the outset (you might as well get started off on the right foot), provided, again, that the terms look good to you.

    Here are a couple of cards that offer bonus miles/points to new card members after meeting eligible purchase requirements within the first three months of Cardmembership.

    Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

    United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

    And, of course, if you like Southwest otherwise and want to keep flying with them, you may find that the best rewards program for you is, after all, Southwest. Whatever you decide, happy travels.


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