Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the companies featured here provide compensation to us. This is how we maintain our free service. 

Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the companies featured here provide compensation to us. This is how we maintain our free service. Compensation and in-depth editorial research, determines where & how companies appear below. 

Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the companies featured here provide compensation to us. This is how we maintain our free service. 

Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the companies featured here provide compensation to us. This is how we maintain our free service. Compensation and in-depth editorial research, determines where & how companies appear below. 

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Review

Ready to elevate your travel experience with Southwest? Apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card today and start enjoying a generous welcome bonus, annual bonus points, and exclusive travel protections. Make every journey more rewarding. Apply now and let your adventures begin!

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Review

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Learn More

Ready to elevate your travel experience with Southwest? Apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card today and start enjoying a generous welcome bonus, annual bonus points, and exclusive travel protections. Make every journey more rewarding. Apply now and let your adventures begin!

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Introduction

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers an appealing package for those loyal to Southwest Airlines, balancing a modest annual fee with a range of rewards and benefits. For a $69 annual fee, cardholders can earn a significant sign-up bonus of Companion Pass® valid through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. This card caters specifically to Southwest customers, providing 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases, in addition to rewards on other specified spending categories.

This introduction highlights the card’s potential for those who frequently fly with Southwest, offering a cost-effective way to earn travel rewards and enjoy additional perks. With the Companion Pass® as part of the welcome offer, it stands out as a particularly attractive feature for those looking to maximize their travel benefits with Southwest Airlines.

The Welcome Bonus for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is a compelling offer for new cardholders, setting a strong foundation for earning rewards right from the start. This limited-time promotion grants a Companion Pass® valid through February 28, 2025, plus an additional 30,000 points, after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening【6†source】.

This offer is particularly attractive for those who frequently fly with Southwest, as the Companion Pass® allows a designated companion to fly with the cardholder for just the cost of taxes and fees on flights booked through Southwest, whether those flights are paid for with cash or points. This can lead to substantial savings, especially for frequent travelers. The initial 30,000 points can also be a significant boost, providing a head start towards future flights or other rewards within the Southwest ecosystem.

Moreover, the spend requirement of $4,000 in the first three months encourages cardholders to shift their regular spending to the card, thereby integrating it into their daily financial habits. This strategic move not only aids in meeting the bonus threshold but also accelerates the accumulation of points for future rewards.

The Welcome Bonus is designed to attract new users by offering high value upfront, making it an enticing aspect of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card for individuals looking to maximize their travel benefits with Southwest Airlines.

Earning rewards with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is designed to be straightforward and beneficial, especially for those who already prefer Southwest for their travel needs. Cardholders earn 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines purchases, including flights, and on purchases with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners. Additionally, the card rewards daily spending, offering 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting expenses, including rideshare services, as well as on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming services. For all other purchases, the card provides 1 point per dollar spent, ensuring that every dollar you spend contributes to your next travel goals.

This diverse rewards structure makes the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card a versatile option for both frequent flyers and everyday spenders. The inclusion of everyday categories like internet and phone services means that cardholders can accumulate points quickly, even outside of direct travel expenses. This approach encourages cardholders to use the card for a wide range of purchases, maximizing the potential rewards they can earn.

The value of Southwest points, as assessed by NerdWallet, is approximately 1.5 cents each. This valuation is based on real-world data across hundreds of economy routes, providing a baseline for cardholders to aim for when redeeming points for maximum value. Therefore, while the rewards rate is competitive, especially within the airline category, cardholders should strategize their redemptions to ensure they are getting the best possible value for their points.

In summary, the rewards program of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is both generous and accessible, offering multiple avenues for earning points. Whether through airline-related purchases or everyday spending, cardholders have ample opportunity to accumulate points towards their next adventure with Southwest Airlines.

Redeeming rewards with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers flexibility and potential value, particularly for those loyal to Southwest Airlines. The points earned through the card can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and more within the Southwest Rapid Rewards program. The value of these points can vary, but aiming for redemptions that offer 1.5 cents or more in value per point can maximize their worth, based on assessments by financial experts.

Flights are the most straightforward redemption option, with Southwest offering a transparent and user-friendly booking system that adjusts the points required for a flight based on the cash price of the ticket. This dynamic pricing means the value of points can fluctuate, but it also provides opportunities to find high-value redemptions, especially during sales or on less popular routes. The Companion Pass®, which can be earned as part of the welcome bonus, further enhances the value of points by allowing a companion to fly with the cardholder for just taxes and fees on flights booked with points.

Hotel stays and car rentals through Southwest’s partners extend the utility of your points beyond air travel, providing a comprehensive travel solution for cardholders. Although these options might not always provide the same value per point as flight redemptions, they offer additional flexibility for using rewards, making the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card a versatile tool in a traveler’s wallet.

Moreover, the program occasionally offers promotions and special redemption options that can increase the value of points, such as gift cards or experiences, adding an element of surprise and additional benefits for cardholders who keep an eye on the Rapid Rewards portal for deals.

In summary, while the best use of Southwest points typically involves booking flights, the program’s variety of redemption options ensures that cardholders can tailor the use of their rewards to fit their specific travel needs and preferences, providing a flexible and potentially valuable rewards ecosystem.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is not just about earning points; it’s also rich in perks and benefits that enhance the overall travel experience for cardholders. These benefits are designed to make traveling easier, more comfortable, and sometimes even less expensive.

Travel Protections and Insurance:

  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Offers up to $3,000 per passenger if your bag is lost or damaged.
  • Roadside Dispatch: For a set fee, provides services like towing and jump-starting if your car breaks down.
  • Travel Accident Insurance: Coverage in the event of accidental death or dismemberment during a covered trip.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: Offers referrals to local emergency and assistance services when traveling.
  • Auto Rental Collision Coverage: Covers theft and collision damage for most rental cars, both in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Baggage Delay Insurance: Reimburses for essential purchases if your baggage is delayed more than six hours, up to $100 per day for three days.

Purchase Protections:

  • Extended Warranty Protection: Extends the manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible purchases.
  • Purchase Protection: Covers new purchases against damage or theft.

Annual Benefits:

  • Anniversary Bonus Points: Each cardholder anniversary nets you 3,000 bonus points, enhancing the value of keeping the card over time.
  • EarlyBird Check-In®: Two EarlyBird Check-In® each year, which can make your travel experience smoother and more enjoyable.

While these perks significantly add to the card’s appeal, it’s important to weigh them against the cost of the card. The $69 annual fee is relatively low for an airline card, especially one offering a substantial sign-up bonus and ongoing rewards on purchases.

However, one potential downside for international travelers is the card’s foreign transaction fee of 3%. This could diminish the card’s value for those who frequently travel abroad, making it less competitive with other travel rewards cards that do not charge such fees.

In essence, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers a solid array of benefits that can be particularly valuable for frequent Southwest flyers. From travel protections that keep you safe on the go to perks that enhance your travel experience and protect your purchases, the card is designed to offer a comprehensive travel and shopping safety net.

Pros and Cons

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers a mix of advantages and limitations, which potential cardholders should weigh carefully against their travel habits and preferences.

Pros:

  • Valuable Welcome Bonus: The Companion Pass® and 30,000 points offer is a strong incentive, particularly for those who frequently fly with a partner​​.
  • Rewarding Spending Categories: Earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and on categories including local transit and commuting, making it easier to accumulate points​​.
  • Annual Bonus Points: The 3,000 anniversary points can partly offset the annual fee and incentivize cardholder loyalty​​.
  • Travel Protections: Benefits such as lost luggage reimbursement, auto rental collision coverage, and travel accident insurance add value and peace of mind for travelers​​​​.

Cons:

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: The 3% fee on international transactions can erode the card’s value for those who frequently travel abroad​​.
  • Limited Perks Compared to Higher-Tier Cards: Compared to its Premier and Priority counterparts, the Plus card offers fewer benefits, making it less attractive for very frequent Southwest flyers​​​​.
  • Restricted International Reach: Southwest’s more limited international destinations may not cater to all travelers, especially those looking for global travel options​​.

In conclusion, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is best suited for individuals who primarily fly domestically with Southwest and can take full advantage of the airline’s network and rewards program. The card’s perks and rewards structure are tailored to enhance the Southwest flying experience, making it a solid choice for loyal customers of the airline. However, for those seeking more extensive travel benefits, lower fees on international spending, or a broader selection of redemption options, exploring other travel rewards cards might be advisable.

When comparing the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card to other travel cards, it’s essential to consider both the specifics of the Southwest program and how it aligns with your travel habits and preferences.

Comparison to Other Southwest Cards:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier and Priority Cards: The Plus card, with its $69 annual fee, offers a more accessible entry point into the Southwest rewards ecosystem compared to the Premier ($99 annual fee) and Priority ($149 annual fee) cards. However, the higher-tier cards offer additional benefits and rewards that might justify their higher fees for frequent Southwest flyers. The Priority card, for example, provides more anniversary points, a travel credit, and upgraded boardings, potentially offering better value for those who travel often with Southwest​​​​.

General Travel Rewards Cards:

  • Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® offer broader rewards categories and redemption options beyond Southwest, including travel with other airlines, hotels, and more. These cards might be more appealing if you’re looking for flexibility in how you earn and redeem rewards. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® provides points on a wide range of travel and dining purchases, and points can be transferred to several airline and hotel loyalty programs, including Southwest Rapid Rewards®​​.

Benefits and Drawbacks:

  • Pros of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Card: The card is well-suited for Southwest loyalists due to the rewards structure focused on Southwest purchases, the anniversary bonus points, and travel protections such as lost luggage reimbursement and auto rental collision coverage. These features can provide significant value to regular Southwest customers​​​​.
  • Cons: The 3% foreign transaction fee can be a drawback for international travelers, and the limited international destinations served by Southwest might not meet the needs of globetrotters. Additionally, the rewards rate and benefits might not be as competitive as those of general travel rewards cards or higher-tier Southwest cards for those looking to maximize their rewards and benefits​​​​.

For travelers committed to flying Southwest, the Rapid Rewards® Plus Card offers a cost-effective way to earn travel rewards and enjoy specific benefits. However, those seeking more flexibility in earning and redeeming points, or who travel internationally, might find better value in other travel rewards cards.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is a commendable choice for Southwest Airlines loyalists seeking to earn rewards on their spending and enjoy travel benefits. With an accessible annual fee, a generous welcome bonus that includes the highly coveted Companion Pass®, and a straightforward rewards structure, it offers tangible value for domestic travelers and Southwest enthusiasts. While it may fall short for international travelers due to foreign transaction fees and a more limited set of perks compared to higher-tier Southwest cards, its benefits like annual bonus points and travel protections ensure it remains appealing for its target audience. Ultimately, the card is best suited for those who frequently fly Southwest and can maximize the value of its rewards and benefits. For travelers prioritizing flexibility or international travel, comparing options may reveal a card that better fits those needs.

  • How does the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card’s welcome bonus work? The welcome bonus offers a Companion Pass® and 30,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. The Companion Pass allows a companion to fly with the cardholder for just the cost of taxes and fees on flights booked through Southwest, either with cash or points​​.
  • What are the main benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card? Key benefits include 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, annual bonus points, lost luggage reimbursement, auto rental collision coverage, and travel accident insurance. The card also offers 3,000 anniversary points each year​​​​​​.
  • Are there any international fees associated with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card? Yes, the card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made abroad, which could add up for those who travel internationally​​.
  • How does the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card compare to other Southwest cards? While it has the lowest annual fee among Southwest cards, it offers fewer benefits and a lower rewards rate on Southwest purchases compared to the Premier and Priority cards. Those cards provide more anniversary points and other perks that might justify their higher annual fees for frequent flyers​​​​.
  • Can points earned with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card be used for international flights? While Southwest’s international destinations are more limited compared to other major airlines, points can still be used for any available flights, including international routes served by Southwest. However, the card’s foreign transaction fees and the airline’s limited international reach might reduce its appeal for global travelers​​.
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