The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card from Chase is ideally suited for those who frequently fly on Southwest Airlines or live near a Southwest hub (Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, CA, Orlando, Phoenix and St. Louis) and plan to travel domestically in the near future.
This card offers a sign up bonus of 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of opening the card (that’s enough for 1 Free Roundtrip flight.)
You will also have the flexibility to redeem your points for other travel related items including:
- International Travel to over 800 destinations on 50+ global carriers
- Stays at over 70,000 hotels worldwide
- Car Rentals from major car rental companies
- Retail gift cards
- Great Getaways, including resorts, cruises and theme parks.
Note that the items mentioned above are available with , but are typically not the best value for your points.
In addition to the points program, the card offers many of the common benefits and services provided by Chase, such as auto rental insurance, lost luggage protection, and various purchase protection related services.
Sign up Bonus, Rewards and Transfer Options
With The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card from Chase you will receive the bonus of 40,000 points after your first purchase plus 3,000 points per year on your card member anniversary date. You will also receive 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines purchases and all Southwest Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. You will receive 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
There is a limited time balance transfer bonus of 1 point per $1 balance transfer, up to 10,000 points within the first 90 days of opening your account (this feature has a balance transfer fee of 3%). You can also earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in purchases (up to 15,000 Tier Qualifying Points Annually)
Points earned in the first year with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card
Assume you spend $3,000 per month on the Credit Card in the first 12 months.
+ 40,000 Bonus Miles – after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months your account is open
+ 36,000 Miles from Spending – 1:1 ratio of points per dollar charged on the card
= 76,000 Miles earned in the first year.
- This will give you up to $760 of free flights with Southwest (points per dollar vary with fare type – see chart below) OR
- Approximately $300-$500 in Hotel, Rental Car or other Vacation options (points vary with each selection)
Additional Benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card
Chase will offer the Southwest Rapid Rewards Card as a Visa Signature card for cardholders with strong credit. The Visa Signature Card provides the following benefits:
- Baggage Delay Reimbursement: If you experience a baggage delay, you can be reimbursed up to $300.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement: When you use your covered card to purchase an airline or common carrier ticket, you can be eligible to receive reimbursement for your checked luggage or carry-on baggage and their contents in the event of theft or misdirection by the airline or common carrier.
- Trip Delay Reimbursement: Receive up to $300 when you’re stuck for more than twelve hours due to a covered hazard.
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: The Visa Signature card provides coverage, at no additional cost, for damage due to collision or theft when you charge the entire rental to your covered card and decline the collision damage waiver offered by the rental policy.
- Extended Warranty Protection: For manufacturer’s warranties of 3 years or less, the extended protection feature doubles the eligible warranty for up to 1 additional year.
- Purchase Protection: Within the first 90 days of purchase, Purchase Protection will replace, repair or reimburse you for eligible items of personal property purchased up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per cardholder, in the event of theft, vandalism, accidentally discharged water, or certain weather conditions.
Our Take on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Card
Is it right for you?
The 40,000 point sign up bonus is good, but not the most generous Southwest credit card bonus we have seen (it used to be 50,000). However, when you combine the bonus with the travel friendly features of Southwest (no baggage fees, no change fees on flights, no blackout dates, etc..) this is a good option for someone who wants to use their points for free travel in the United States.
It is also a great card for the person who occasionally or frequently flies Southwest. The Tier Qualifying Bonus Points will help you get to A-List or A-List Preferred much quicker, or make the difference between having A-List status or not and the 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases will turbo charge your earning power. While Southwest does now have some international flight options with your Rapid Rewards points, this is probably not the best card for the international traveler.
Apply here… with this secure link to the Application Page for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Card from Chase.
For a complete list of all Travel Credit Cards go to our Travel Credit Card Page. On this page you will find all of the best travel credit cards including the best Travel Reward Cards, Airline Mile Cards, Hotel Point Cards and the latest sign up bonus offers.
Know your Credit Score
Before you apply for any credit card, you should make sure you have an understanding of your credit score and credit history. Most Travel Credit Card Companies require you to have a strong credit score, ideally they will prefer a FICO score of at least 700.
Once you apply for a credit card, the credit card company will perform a credit inquiry. Be aware that credit inquiries will affect your credit score. Each time you apply for a credit card (or any type of loan for that matter), the inquiry will reduce your score anywhere from 2-5 points.
By law, you are allowed to obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus once a year. The free annual copies of your credit report will give you all of the data that provides the foundation for your credit score, but the Credit Reports don't provide the Credit Score itself. You will need both your Credit Report and Credit Score to get the full view of your credit situation.
Here are four links to get your Free Credit Score:
- CreditReport.com Free Credit Score
- CreditSesame (no card required – provides Experian Score)
- CreditKarma (no card required – provides TransUnion Score)
- myFICO (link to the Free credit score estimator page)
Here is the link to get your Free Credit Report:
Finally, please only apply for any travel credit card if you pay your bills in full each month. Carrying a balance on any travel credit card will eliminate the benefit of the travel rewards due to the higher interest rates associated with these cards.