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Apply online for Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
About Our Ratings
Credit Needed
Excellent

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Review

Pros & Cons

  • The introductory offer of 50,000 points (after spending $2,000 in the first three months) is more than enough for a round-trip flight.
  • A nice 6,000-point bonus after your card member anniversary means the free bonuses don't end with the introductory offer.
  • Since you earn double points for purchases when you book directly with Southwest or with Southwest Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, you'll earn your way to A-list and companion fare status more quickly.
  • The $99 annual fee applied on your first statement is a bummer, especially given that most travel rewards cards waive that fee during the introductory period.

Top Features

Rewards
2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Bonus Rewards
Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
Purchase APR
17.24% - 24.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$99

Full Review

Curtis Arnold Editor-in-chief

Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Essentials

Are you a domestic traveler looking for a sweet deal on airfare and free checked bags every time you fly? If you’ve answered yes to either question, it’s time to explore the Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Cardholders can earn 50,000 points as a welcome bonus (after spending $2,000 in the first three months), and an additional 6,000 points as an annual anniversary bonus — not too shabby.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card’s best features:

  • 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months after your account is open.
  • Earn 2 points/$1 spent Southwest Airlines® and participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.
  • Earn 1 point/$1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees

What Our Editors Like Most About the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The most attractive incentives with the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier credit card are the ability to get to A-List and Companion Pass status faster. A-List perks include: priority boarding, standby priority and earning 25 percent more points on each flight. And if you’re a frequent flyer, you already know companion passes are the Holy Grail. Companion passes allow card holders to bring a friend or family member to fly with you for free.

If your aim is Companion Pass status, use your Southwest card to book directly with Southwest (2X the points + the 25% points bonus for each flight) and book other travel plans through Southwest’s Rapid Rewards partners (Hyatt, Marriott, Choice Hotels, Avis, Hertz + more). You will earn additional bonus points for each purchase granting you A-List and Companion pass status faster.

There are no seat restrictions or blackout dates for cardholders looking to redeem points. Southwest also rewards customers for loyalty — giving them 6,000 bonus points after their cardmember anniversary.

Whether you’re a cardholder or not, bags fly free on Southwest and no change fees are assessed (you’ll still pay the fare difference though), which is a welcomed perk on any airline.

Potential Downsides of the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The signup offer of 50,000 bonus points can get you a roundtrip flight. But the big drawback with the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier credit card is the $99 annual fee. The fee is applied to your first billing statement. This feature seems like an outlier for most airline credit cards, as most waive the fee during the introductory period.

If you’re into luxury perks and upgrades Southwest probably isn’t the card (or airline) for you. There is no first class or business class to reserve when you feel like resting your traveling soul. But if you’re a commuter, frequent traveler, or someone just trying to get from point A to B in an effective way, Southwest might be a partnership to consider.

How the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Compares to Other Airline Credit Cards Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card vs. Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Southwest® offers points that you can redeem for flights, gift cards and other merchandise, whereas Delta offers miles only redeemable on its airline. Delta cardmembers only get one free checked bag on Delta® (a $25 discount) which is less exciting than the “bags fly free” promise of Southwest.

Our take: Unless you’re a loyal Delta customer, the free bags, no change fee and the flexibility for redemption options on Southwest® are more appealing.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The annual fee is waived the first year with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, before jumping to $95.

With Capital One®, you get 50,000 miles (or $500 in travel) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months, a higher-than-typical signup bonus for the card right now. Redemption options also include flights, hotels, car rentals and cruises, which gives you the same flexibility that points offer. The rewards you get with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card can be used for any airline or hotel purchase. Capital One®’s flexibility and points structure may give it a slight edge on the Southwest card.

Who Should Get This Card?

If Southwest already has your loyalty, then this card is right for you. A large family also can benefit from the free baggage policy, which could easily total an extra $100 for a family of four on most airlines. Though Southwest may not fly out of some major airports — including JFK and Miami International — most domestic travelers will be happy with the airline’s flight options and their ability to redeem points for a variety of purchases.

This page was last updated on January 16, 2018

This card compared to other airline cards

Rewards
2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
1.5 Miles per dollar on all purchases.
Bonus Rewards
Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.
Discover Match® We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
Purchase APR
17.24% - 24.24% Variable
17.24% - 24.24% Variable 
13.24% - 24.24% Variable 
Annual fees
$99
$95
$0
Rates and Fees
This offer is best for consumers who prefer to fly Southwest Airlines® and have excellent credit.
CardRatings.com Editorial Staff

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card details

Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro Period
N/A
Purchase Intro
APR:
N/A
Purchase APR
17.24% - 24.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$99

What Chase says about this card

  • Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Earn unlimited points that don't expire as long as your card account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions, Bags fly free® and no change fees
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events and more

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Featured offers
Currently available on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Earn 50,000 points
After you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open

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Apply online for British Airways Visa Signature® Card

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.
  • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you'll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
  • In addition to the bonus Avios, you will also get 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
  • Chip Technology allows you to use your card for chip based purchases in Europe & beyond, while still giving you the ability to use your card as you do today at home.
Credit Needed:
Excellent/Good
Apply online for Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

  • We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
  • Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No Annual Fee.
Credit Needed:
Excellent, Good