Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Review

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Annual Fee$69
Welcome Bonus Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 3,000 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.
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.
  • 2X points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is one of three personal Rapid Rewards earning credit cards offered by Chase Bank. New cardmembers can earn 40,000 points just for signing up for the card and meeting the minimum spend requirements, and all of those points count towards the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Logo

Southwest’s loyalty program, Rapid Rewards, is a revenue-based frequent flyer scheme, 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 if you earn the pass in 2019.

Note: If you are shooting for the Companion Pass for 2020/2021, Southwest is raising the required points from 110,000 to 125,000 from January 1, 2020. Keep in mind that all the points must post in 2020 if you want the pass for 2020/21, so don't complete the minimum spend on the card until at least January 1, 2020.

Southwest Airlines 737
photo credit: airlines470 N401WN LAX via photopin (license)

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.

Final Thoughts

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!

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Review
4.7 (93.33%) 12 votes
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Comments

  • Argh anothing Visa! lol! I’m looking for a Mastercard with no annual fee that would benefit traveling. I have so many Visas. I’ve been looking around but nothing has popped yet.

    This does look interesting. However, I hate, hate that Southwest only leaves from Dallas Love Field. I hate driving downtown and I know I could get a taxi, etc but ugh still. I want to fly them just to see what it’s all about though. That DAL just gets me everytime. I like going out of the international airport. Maybe I’ll have to look into another trip rather than one that starts in Dallas.

    Normally do their miles expire every year or as long as I have activity they stay? Sorry! Couldn’t find it on their website…possibly user error but do I really want to admit that? lol! ;o)

    • There’s the Upromise Mastercard offering some bonus cash back on dining and travel, but not as comprehensive as an airline card.

  • does anyone know if this card is subject to the 5/24 rule with Chase?

  • Good catch on the time sensitive nature of the companion pass. I had missed that the first time around, and was looking at the card/hotel point option.

  • My husband and I moved to PHX recently from FL and it’s time we considered flying Southwest and personally experience their product. The low minimum spend on this offer has a certain appeal and it may just be time to apply.

  • Cathy Krasnianski says:

    Is this card subject to the 5/24 rule?

  • Have to admit, I’ve always overlooked SWA in favor of the legacy carriers, so it’s good to be reminded that the card/program do offer some excellent value.

  • Is the Plus Card even publicly available anymore? I never see it on Chase’s website directly anymore, just the Premier. For people with any of the other SWA cards, you could always product change to this Plus card though.

  • I assume this is subject to Chase 5/24 rule?

  • It must be interesting for Southwest frequent flyers otherwise I think it’s better a programme like membership rewards which allows more flexibility on redemption of points.

  • darn that Chase 5/24 rule!

  • Should have mentioned 5/24 here! It’s one of the limited cards.

  • Def valuable towards companion pass. My experience with SWA is if your not near a hub it is like a greyhound bus with too many stops.

  • Unless you’re looking for last minute points towards qualifying for the Companion Pass, I see no reason to get the Plus card vs. the Premier card. The extra $30 in annual fees is made up for by the extra anniversary points and, perhaps more importantly depending on your situation, the lack of foreign transaction fees.

  • Sadly Chase enforces 5/24 on WN CCs.

  • If I had someone else open up a rapid rewards card and earn the 50k miles would it be possible to transfer them to my account and would they count towards the 110K that gives you the buddy pass?

  • I wish they offered a credit card with no annual fee, instead of the initial 50,000 points. Some airline cards waive the annual fee for the first year.

  • Living in a southwest hub makes this a needed card, great bonus, best ticket and bag policy, and now flights to mexico and Caribbean.

  • Ashley Menke says:

    I would definitely not recommend getting this card, they falsely promised the 60k reward points when you spend $2,000 in three months on the offer i signed up for. I spent the required amount of money and then when i did not receive the points and called to ask what happened they tell me “oh there was two offers at that time one for the 50k points and one for 10k points for spending $500 and you must have selected the wrong ad when you signed up.” First off there was no “option to choose an offer” and if there was why would i have selected the one for less!? They then tell me since 90 days have past since i signed up they cannot change it…..of course 90 days have past the time frame for spending was three billing cycles. I would have not know anything was incorrect before 90 days because i had to wait that long for the offer. I have emailed and called customer service and they refuse to do anything about it. I really like the points for spending and the amount of rewards points compared to what you flights you can redeem for but this whole thing has put such a sour taste in my mouth i will be closing this card after i pay it off and collect on flights for the points that i do have. Completely false advertising and terrible customer service. Pretty much they have my money now, they are going to collect their interest on it, and they don’t care if they lost a customer.

    • Ashley, I’d highly recommend you reach out to Chase and ask to speak to a member of the customer service management team. If you met the spend requirement of an offer that was otherwise publicly available I think you stand a reasonable chance to have something honored.

      If it means writing a letter to Chase’s Executive Office to state your case, I’d highly recommend doing that. Don’t let the frustration of an experience with a customer service over the phone/email stop you. If over the phone you can’t make progress, simply ask for proper contact information for their Executive Offices (I’ve seen the email executive.office@chase.com float around).

      Your experience has nothing to do specifically with this card, but rather a technology issue on your side, Chase’s side or a combination of both, tied with a frustrating customer service experience — don’t take it out on a great 60k offer.

      Good luck and I hope you get the points you expect!

      • Ashley Menke says:

        Howie,
        I have reached out via phone, via email, and via their in website messaging system, all to no avail. I have yet to write a letter or email to the executive office so thank you for that info which I will try but to be honest I do not have high hopes at all. I think that it could be a great card and a great rewards program if they didn’t pull bait and switch advertising. I will update here if I am ever able to get a resolution.

        • Ashley, just be sure to take a step back with a clear head before you write anything.

          At the same time keep in mind the person receiving your letter is likely to have a healthy amount of skepticism — heck, my gut reaction to reading your response was “well, she probably clicked something” — but that is because I am a cynic with just about everything in life.

          State your case, the facts, and what you’re looking for. You’ll get further with sugar/honey all day, every day. Good luck!!!

    • Linda Bosford says:

      I am going round and arohnd with the same issue. Have moved cross country but when I find my ad from signing up they and southwest fordoing business with Chase will be hearing from me till they fix it.

  • A quick question regarding the Southwest Companion pass and when the points will post to my Southwest account. SW branded cards bonus points are currently at 60,000 points right now, and the bonus expires on 10/4/17 . I would like to have the points hit my Southwest account January 2018 so that I have get the companion pass for Jan 2018 through Dec 2019.

    If I applied for two Southwest cards (either both personal or one personal and one business) on 10/3/17 which in 90 days from that date would be 1/1/18. My statements would end 11/3/17, 12/3/17 and 1/3/18. If I made sure to meet the minimum spend in the statement beginning 12/4/17 and before 1/1/18 those points that I would earn from the spend during that statement as well as the bonus for hitting the minimum spend requirements would post to my account on or after 1/3/18 which I think would be the statement close date.

    Is that correct?

    Thank you for your help

  • I’ve had the SW card which I cancelled early 2018. My husband had SW in 15/16. We are looking to get the SW with the companion pass offer, but my question is if it is in my husbands name does he have to be the traveler and I would be the companion or can I as a card holder on his account be the main traveler and my sister be the companion pass holder? Just working thru the wording in the details.

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