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The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is one of three personal Rapid Rewards earning credit cards offered by Chase Bank. You'll earn 40,000 points, and all of those points count towards the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.
Southwest’s loyalty program, Rapid Rewards, is a revenue-based frequent flyer program, so unlike traditional programs like Alaska’s Mileage Plan, the cost of an award flight in points is tied directly to the cash price of the ticket. While that leaves less room to manipulate point values than a traditional mileage-based program, it does provide a firm value on which to calculate the cost of rewards travel goals.
The Southwest Plus Card is a great card for frequent flyers living in any of Southwest's hubs, and also for anyone trying to attain one of the most valuable perks in the industry, the Southwest Companion Pass.
Welcome Bonus With a Low Minimum Spend Requirement
One of the advantages of the Southwest Plus Card is the relatively low minimum spend requirement. While there are other rewards credit cards offering similar signup bonuses, the Southwest Plus Card offers some unique advantages.
- The low spending requirement makes it a great card if you want to accumulate the maximum number of points with the least amount of overall spend.
- An annual points bonus on cardholder anniversary that comes very close in value to covering the annual fee. Lowering the out-of-pocket expense if you use those points every year.
- Points count towards the Southwest Companion Pass (more on this below).
There is also the advantage of being able to receive the signup bonus more than once. If you have previously had the Southwest Plus Card, and subsequently closed it due to a change in circumstance or having focused your travel goals elsewhere. You can obtain the signup bonus again after 24 months.
As per the T&C’s:
“The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.”
3,000 Bonus Points Each Account Anniversary
You receive 3,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points every year after your account anniversary, worth roughly $45/50 depending on how you value Southwest points. This effectively drops the annual out-of-pocket expense of the card to $20/30 if those points are redeemed in full each year.
Welcome Bonus Counts Towards Southwest Companion Pass
While this has always been a significant value-point of the Southwest co-branded cards, the announcement that points transfers from partners will no longer count towards the companion pass has made the Southwest Plus Card a lot more valuable.
The 40,000 points all count towards the Companion Pass, getting you nicely on your way to the required 110,000 points.
Unfortunately, there is no way of combining the signup bonus of the Southwest Plus Card with a mix of points from Rapid Rewards transfer partners to amass the required points for a companion pass.
Cardholders can, however, combine signup bonuses from the Southwest co-brand consumer cards with that earned on the business card as a valid way of obtaining the Companion Pass. Keeping in mind that if you receive the Companion Pass early in the year, you keep it for the rest of that year and all of the following year.
No Blackout Dates, Bags Fly Free & No Change Fees
Southwest deserves their reputation as an airline providing exceptional value, particularly when compared to the three big legacy carriers.
- Award flights booked using your Rapid Rewards points have no blackout dates, so you have the freedom to travel when you want, not when the airline has enough free space.
- Bags Fly Free® – Your first two checked bags are free (subject to size/weight restrictions). This benefit alone could potentially save between $50/100 per flight.
- And perhaps one of the most overlooked and under-valued benefits in rewards travel, Southwest charges no change fees if members need to make changes to an award ticket.
Receive Visa Signature Benefits
As a Visa Signature, cardholders receive multiple benefits simply for possessing the card, including Auto Rental CDW, Baggage Delay coverage, and Lost Luggage Protection. While the benefits are not as strong as some in the Chase Visa family, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for a card that attracts only $69 in annual fees, it offers significant protections for when the travel experience turns a little pear-shaped.
Does the Card Have Any Downsides?
The card has two features that leave it at a slight disadvantage to some of its competition:
- 3% Foreign Transaction Fee – If you're going to be spending a lot overseas there are better cards you could use that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee.
- Doesn’t earn Tier Qualifying Points – If you want to make A-List or A-List Preferred via spend alone, you’ll need the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, as the Southwest Plus Card earns no Tier Qualifying Points.
While the Southwest Plus Card can’t compete with the premium travel rewards cards that offer significant perks and charge a higher annual fee, it's a fantastic low-cost card that would suit any Rapid Rewards member looking for a low-fee travel rewards credit card. Bear in mind before applying this card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.
Offering a valuable signup bonus for its price point, the Southwest Plus Card will earn you 40,000 points after hitting the minimum spend, which can translate into a significant amount of travel if you play your cards right!
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