|Highlights||Credit Card Feature|
|Things We Like||40,000 bonus points|
|Our Least Favorite||It has a $99 annual fee|
|Our Verdict||Great card for people who fly Southwest often|
- Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 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
- Intro APR
- Annual Fee
- Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
- Credit Required
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is the frequent flyer credit card offered by Southwest Airlines, the big boy on the budget travel block. This Visa card helps you earn Rapid Rewards® points which you can then redeem towards Southwest flights. With over 90 destinations and your first and second checked bag for free, thanks to its Bags fly free® policy, Southwest is the airline of choice for many budget-conscious Americans. But does their credit card deliver the same savings that we've come to expect from Southwest?
In this Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card review, we will run you through the main pros and cons of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, one of our best credit cards for airline rewards. We'll also show you how this card compares to another budget airline credit card in the US.
Things We Like About Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
The bonus offer. You earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. This is a great bonus for first-time cardmembers as 40,000 points can be redeemed towards multiple trips on Southwest depending on your destination and the cost of flights at the time you redeem your points for travel.
You get 6,000 bonus points as an Cardmember anniversary bonus each year. After your account anniversary date each year you will receive 6,000 bonus points. If you consider the value of these bonus points, this perk goes a long way towards making up for the card's annual fee.
You earn 2 points for every $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. If you travel a lot and stick to Southwest and partners, you can earn points fast.
Earn 1 point per $1 for other purchases. Every dollar you spend on purchases using this card lets you earn 1 point. So using this card to pay for your monthly expenses can help you score award flights.
No change fees. What if something crops up unexpectedly and you need to change your flight? No worries - you will not be charged any fee if you want to get your flight changed. Do note that you'll still have to pay for any differences in airfares should that apply.
First and second bag checked in are free with Bags Fly Free®. This benefit will save you a lot of money when flying, especially now that many airlines charge you for checking in your luggage. Note though, that this isn't a perk which you get with this credit card. Southwest extends this great benefit to flyers in general, with or without this card.
No blackout dates or seat restrictions when you use your points for air tickets on more than 50 global airlines, for any class, anywhere. If a seat is available, you can get it.
You earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points. Every $10,000 of purchases you charge to this card earns 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs), and you can earn up to a maximum of 15,000 TQPs every year. That can help you reach A-List status, A-List Preferred, or even Companion Pass status, if you spend a lot.
Earning the huge amount of TQPs (110,000 in a calendar year to get Companion Pass Status) is a lot more realistic when you can earn TQPs through credit card spending, rather than relying on the TQPs you earn through flying only. All tiers come with great benefits, but if you can get your hands on a Companion Pass, you can designate 1 person to fly with you anytime you choose for 1 entire year. That can add up to huge savings if you do a lot of travel with a friend, spouse, etc.
Your points don't expire. Don't worry about your points expiring before you have a chance to fly. They won't expire as long as your card account is open. That gives you the freedom to plan for a vacation next month or next year!
Redeem your points for more than just flights. The Rapid Rewards program now lets you redeem your points for international flights to over 800 destinations on 50+ global carriers. You can also redeem points for hotel stays at more than 70,000 hotels worldwide, as well as auto rentals, access to events or store gift cards (Amazon.com, Lowes, Best Buy®, iTunes and more), and more.
You get 1 point per $1 of balance transfers you make to this card within the first 90 days of card membership. The maximum points you can earn on this offer is 15,000 points, which equates to $15,000 in balance transfers. Note that the 17.49% - 24.49% variable APR applies, so transferring balances to this card will only save you money if you are currently paying a higher interest on a card balance. Also, for each transfer, you pay $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater) as a balance transfer fee.
No foreign transaction fees. When you use this card for purchases in a foreign currency, you will benefit from no foreign transaction fee, which is a fee that most other credit cards will charge. So this gives you additional savings on your holiday spending!
This card is chip enabled, which is practical if you travel to countries where magnetic stripe terminals are not common.
You get travel insurance. When you use this card to pay for travel bookings, you enjoy several travel insurance coverages:
- Travel accident insurance: up to $250,000 accidental death or dismemberment coverage when you travel by air, bus, train, or cruise transportation.
- Lost luggage reimbursement: up to $3,000 per passenger coverage if checked or carry-on bags are lost or damaged by the carrier.
- Baggage delay insurance: in the case of a passenger carrier being responsible for baggage delays over 6 hours long, you can be reimbursed with up to $100 a day for 3 days, for reasonable purchases you have to make because of the delay (toiletries, clothes, etc.).
- Auto rental collision damage waiver: As long as you decline the waiver offered by the rental car company, you will enjoy this coverage (secondary to your existing auto insurance in the U.S.) on a complimentary basis.
Purchase protection. New purchases you make with this card will be covered for 120 days against damage or theft. This coverage provides a maximum of $500 per claim and $50,000 per account if your eligible purchases are stolen or accidentally damaged.
Additional Visa Signature perks. If you qualify for the Visa Signature version of this card (it will depend on your credit report and the information you provide), you can enjoy additional perks like travel and emergency assistance services and exclusive Visa Signature travel deals.
Our Least Favorite Things About Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
It has an annual fee. If you fly frequently on Southwest and use your credit card a lot, the perks you enjoy (complimentary travel insurance, rewards points) will likely make the $99 annual fee worth it. Most airline credit cards have a similar annual fee.
No introductory rate on purchases or balance transfers. From the very beginning, there is a 17.49% - 24.49% variable APR. That's all the more sad because this card actually lets you earn points on balance transfers.
How Other Cards Compare With Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
|Regular APR:||17.49% - 24.49% Variable|
|Credit Required:||Excellent Credit|
|Regular APR:||17.24%-26.24% Variable|
|See Rates & Fees||Terms Apply|
|Annual Fee:||Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.|
|Credit Required:||Excellent Credit|
|See Rates & Fees||Terms Apply|
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has a lot to offer, and can help you earn award flights and a better loyalty program status with Southwest Rapid Rewards. We would highly recommend this card to people who fly Southwest often because if you do, you will probably earn enough Rapid Rewards points and tier qualifying points to cover the $99 annual fee and then some.
However, all things considered, this card does not pack as many airline benefits as most other airline credit cards. Since Southwest lets your bags fly free, they couldn't reserve this as a loyalty credit card benefit like most other airlines do. You also don't get free airport lounge visits or airline credits and discounts that you get with some other airline credit cards.
So the main appeal of this card lies in the direct Rapid Rewards Points you earn, with no need to transfer or convert points, and the solid travel insurance and purchase protection benefits you get. The Rapid Rewards program itself, with options to earn points at many partners and redeem points with other airlines, hotels, for gift cards, or in other ways is itself a good reason to stick with Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card if you're a Southwest regular.
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