Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

By | February 27, 2024

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card from Chase offers a generous 6,000 point anniversary bonus each cardmember year along with perks like 20% back on in-flight purchases, 3,000 bonus points after your account anniversary, and 2x points on every $1 spent on Southwest Airlines purchases with no limits. This comprehensive guide covers the Plus Card’s earning potential, available benefits beyond just travel, steps to get approved including what credit score is recommended, and how it compares to the other Southwest consumer cards.

An Overview of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

As one of Chase’s three co-branded Southwest Airlines credit card options, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card provides bonus points on Southwest purchases to quickly earn reward flight credit. While not as premium as Southwest’s Priority and Premier card products, it does come with the lowest annual fee at $69 (waived the first year).

Cardholders enjoy perks like

  • 2x Points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases
  • 6,000 Anniversary bonus points each cardmember year
  • 3,000 Points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

Double airline points accelerate earning frequent flyer credit on Southwest. The yearly anniversary points help negate the low annual fee, providing longer-term value in holding the card after initially signing up.

Maximizing the Signup Bonus and Anniversary Points

New applicants can qualify for up to 9,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points in the first cardmember year between the:

  • 50,000 Point signup bonus after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • 6,000 Point anniversary bonus

Just the 50,000 point promotion alone delivers enough for several domestic roundtrip Southwest reward flights by meeting the reasonable minimum spend requirement. Combine that with the annual anniversary points to offset the annual fee outlay year after year.

How to Earn 2x Points on Southwest Purchases

Aside from the signup and annual bonuses, the real centrepiece ongoing earning potential with the Southwest Plus card is 2x points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases. This accelerates earning frequent flyer credit rapidly across categories like:

  • Southwest airfare
  • Inflight WiFi and drinks
  • EarlyBird Check-In upgrades
  • Additional checked bags
  • Southwest gift cards
  • Southwest Vacation packages

Any Southwest transaction from flights to upgrades to Southwest experiential gifts codes as 2 points per $1 spent. For regular Southwest travelers, this high return in conjunction with signup promotions makes hitting goals for Wanna Get Away fares or Companion Passes highly favorable.

Determining the Value of Southwest Points

Industry credit card point valuations peg Southwest Rapid Rewards points at 1.5 to 1.7 cents per point when redeemed smartly for award travel. Even on the low end, 50,000 points offer a potential average redemption value of $750. This more than offsets the annual fee outlay.

Recommended ways to use points for optimal value include:

  • Booking Wanna Get Away and Anytime award flights with no blackout dates
  • Transferring points to hotel partners like Marriott when they offer incentivized bonuses
  • Mixing points + cash to cover a portion of revenue Southwest flights

With points valued at over a penny each typically, signup bonuses alone carry a substantial upside. Combined with 2x earning potential on Southwest purchases and 6,000-anniversary points annually, the card easily justifies itself for Southwest loyalists.

Additional Southwest Credit Card Benefits

Beyond points-earning incentives, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card ensures cardmembers take advantage of perks improving the flying experience, including:

  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit towards base fares
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In credits annually to secure earlier boarding passes
  • 20% back on inflight drink and WiFi purchases per one-way flight
  • Up to 4 Upgraded Boardings when available using credits
  • 2 checked bags fly free per flight itinerary
  • No foreign transaction fee savings

These benefits make Southwest trips more comfortable while also recouping baggage fees, providing drink discounts inflight and giving back against ancillary purchases for extra wins.

What Credit Score Does Southwest Approve?

An important question for new applicants is “What credit score is needed to get approved for the Plus Card?” The recommended minimum FICO score for approval odds is 700, though scores of 720+ lead to high chances. Applicants with scores in the 670-689 range may first need to start with a lower annual fee Southwest card before potentially product changing up to the Plus Card version after initially establishing a positive history.

Having average/fair credit is still workable, though good or excellent scores are ideal when submitting an application. Red flags that can hurt approval chances include recent late payments, maxed-out cards, thin credit reports, and applying for other new credit simultaneously. Those with a limited history should check for Southwest pre-approved offers before completing applications to avoid unnecessary hard credit checks.

Getting Approved for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Follow this blueprint when submitting an application to optimize approval likelihood:

  • Review your latest credit reports and FICO or VantageScores so you know where your rating stands presently
  • Reduce balances below 30% on revolving credit cards well before applying
  • Hold off applying for other credit needing hard pulls until this card reports
  • Check for Southwest pre-approved card offers to confirm high approval odds upfront
  • Supply accurate income amounts, ID details, and contact info when continuing any pre-approval offer

Checking eligibility criteria early on and addressing any issues gives the best odds for a smooth application process.

How Does the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Compare to Other Southwest Credit Cards?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is extremely similar to the lower annual fee Southwest Priority Credit Card except for some differences:

  • The Priority Card has more travel perks like upgraded boarding and inflight discounts but charges a higher $149 annual fee
  • The Plus Card earns the same 2x points on Southwest purchases with a lower $69 yearly fee
  • Both confer 6,000-anniversary points each card year

So weigh whether the Priority Card’s additional travel benefits merit paying the steeper $149 annual cost or if the Plus Card’s earning ability with lower yearly fees covers your needs as a casual Southwest flyer.

The premium Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card also takes home 2x points on Southwest purchases but has a $99 annual fee. Compare coverage across all three Southwest credit card products when applying to select the best match aligning with your regular spending and travel habits.

Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Right for You?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card offers very generous upfront point bonuses new applicants can quickly take advantage of if Southwest is your go-to domestic airline. Still, always assess your own monthly budget and realistic spending on Southwest flights before applying to any airline-specific card.

Have an open conversation with a Chase representative about your typical Southwest travel frequency, annual flight ticket costs, previous Southwest points earned and redeemed, and current credit cards. They can honestly evaluate if the features of Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card reasonably match your financial activity and lifestyle or if a different rewards solution may be the superior fit.

The key is matching your personalized credit card choice with your regular expenditures and behaviors for seamless integration maximizing offered perks over the long haul.

Here are 5 additional FAQs about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

  1. What is the biggest benefit of the Southwest Plus Credit Card?

The biggest benefit of the Southwest Plus Card is earning 2x points on every dollar spent on Southwest purchases with no limits. This lets frequent Southwest flyers quickly rack up points for free flights.

  1. Does the Southwest Plus Card offer TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credits?

No, only the higher annual fee Southwest Priority and Premier personal cards offer TSA PreCheck and Global Entry application fee credits as a cardholder benefit. The Plus Card does not provide these airport security statement credits.

  1. Can existing Southwest cardholders get the signup bonus on the Plus Card?

In most cases, existing holders of other personal Southwest cards like the Priority or Premier are still eligible to earn the 50,000 point signup bonus if approved for the Southwest Plus Card. Additional bonus restrictions may apply.

  1. How do the Southwest cards compare for benefits?

The Southwest Plus Card has the lowest annual fee at $69 but the fewest travel perks beyond free bags. The Priority Card adds more travel benefits for its higher $149 annual fee. The Premium Premier Card also has a $149 fee but includes airport lounge access.

  1. Is there a fee for authorized users on the Southwest Plus card?

No, there is no extra fee for adding authorized users to your Southwest Plus credit card account. Each user also gets the 2x points earned on Southwest purchases and free checked bag perks when flying Southwest itineraries.

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