Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards

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What’s the best Southwest credit card for you? The answer might surprise you as you have an option that doesn’t say Southwest on the front. It could be the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which earns points you can transfer directly into your Rapid Rewards account or any of 4 other airlines including United. 

The answer depends on how much you spend each year and where you spend it (dining, travel). Southwest’s own credit cards earn good bonuses each year, but if you’re a big dining or travel spender you could find more value elsewhere.

Also pay attention to one of the best deals in Southwest travel – the Companion Pass – and the only credit card points that count for it are those from Southwest branded cards.

Note: Annual point and rewards calculations are MileCards.com estimates only and not provided by any credit card issuer. They are for comparison only, and may vary based on your actual spending and travel.

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3 cards found

$1,117

Travel Rewards Earned

76,000

Annual Points Earned
Point Transfer : Yes
Free Bag : No
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

$1,117

76,000

Yes! Free Bag : !
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.
Bonus Offer

Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Card Highlights
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Additional benefits

  • Rental car collision damage coverage is Primary
  • Trip Cancellation coverage of up to $10,000
  • Trip Delay coverage of up to $500
 
Where can you use your points?

This is one of the most flexible cards available, and is a solid choice for all kinds of flight rewards, especially if you want to try both domestic and international travel. That's because the points it earns can be transferred directly into your accounts with United, Southwest, and more. Even if it doesn't rank highest in total reward value for you in this list, you may find the fact that you can top off your mileage accounts in several programs worth more than we calculate.


Other programs you can transfer points into include British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Airlines, Amtrak, Hyatt, Marriott, and Ritz Carlton. That means you can combine points from this card with miles you've already earned at any time.


You can also use your points toward the cost of buying travel on www.UltimateRewards.com with no blackout or capacity controls. If a ticket is for sale you can buy it, with every 10,000 points worth $125. Savvy travelers find the best value is transferring points to airline miles for rewards, particularly long distance international flights via United MileagePlus. 

Estimated Rewards

For domestic flights, the best use of points is generally to transfer to Southwest, where you can you can often find flights for less than 20,000 points.


You can also transfer your points to United, which is a good value for long international flights. You can get a roundtrip to Europe in Economy Class on United or its many partners for 60,000 miles on many days and to Asia for 70,000 - 85,000 miles, even when airfares are $1,200 or more. If you're flexible with dates, Hawaii roundtrips on United are 45,000 miles.


For hotels, we assume you transfer points to Hyatt, the highest value hotel program.


If you choose to redeem travel directly through Ultimate Rewards, every 10,000 points is worth $125 in travel, or $0.0125 each toward any flight or hotel room. 


You may get more value out of the card by transfering to other partners. For example, if you transfer to British Airways Avios you can get awards on its partners American Airlines or Alaska Airlines for as little as 9,000 points round-trip. It's a useful option if you live in a city with a lot of American or Alaska non-stop flights.  And if you're heading to Hawaii you can use Avios for non-stop flights from the West Coast on Alaska or American for 25,000 points round trip, versus 45,000 miles or more with most other airline programs.

 

Points

Dollars

Sign on bonus

40,000

$572

Spending

36,000

$515

Annual bonus

0

$0

Baggage fees

NA

$0

Foreign transaction fee

NA

$30

Other (free nights, etc)

NA

$0.0

Less annual fee

NA

$0

Total

76,000

$1,117

Reward Rate

4.7%

Have your own value per point?

Recalculate

$803

Travel Rewards Earned

61,000

Annual Points Earned

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

$803

61,000

Bonus Offer

Get 25,000 points for a Roundtrip Flight after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $12 not included.

Card Highlights
  • Get 25,000 points for a Roundtrip Flight after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $12 not included.

  • Get 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary.

  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and AirTran® Airways purchases made directly with the airlines and on Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.

  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Redeem points for gift cards, car rentals, cruises, hotel stays, and international flights to over 800 Destinations on 50+ global carriers.
  • No foreign transaction fees
 
Where can you use your points?

Southwest is a good program for earning domestic travel, with Southwest points worth nearly 1.5 cents each when used for Wanna Get Away fares.


Southwest has very wide availability for flights with points and this card earns a special annual bonus of 6,000 points, which is enough for over $80 toward a Wanna Get Away fare.


The downside of the Southwest program is limited value for flying places Southwest doesn't fly. You can use your points to buy tickets on other airlines for international and Hawaii travel, but it's at a less desirable rate that makes your points worth about 1 cent each in some cases.

Estimated Rewards

Earns Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Use for flights on Southwest and Airtran. Wanna Get Away fares can be purchased with points at the rate of 60 points per dollar of airfare (70 points after March 2014). Also redeem points for Gift Cards, Car Rentals, Cruises, Hotel Stays, and International flights to over 800 Destinations on 50+ global carriers.

 

Points

Dollars

Sign on bonus

25,000

$358

Spending

30,000

$429

Annual bonus

6,000

$86

Baggage fees

NA

$0

Foreign transaction fee

NA

$30

Other (free nights, etc)

NA

$0

Less annual fee

NA

$99

Total

61,000

$803

Reward Rate

3.3%

Have your own value per point?

Recalculate

$760

Travel Rewards Earned

58,000

Annual Points Earned

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

$760

58,000

No! Free Bag : !
$69 annual fee
Bonus Offer

See details at application link.

Card Highlights
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines and AirTran®Airways purchases made directly with the airlines
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards® Hotel
    and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 3,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary.
 
Where can you use your points?

Southwest is a good program for earning domestic travel, with Southwest points worth nearly 1.5 cents each when used for Wanna Get Away fares.


Southwest has very wide availability for flights with points and this card earns a special annual bonus of 3,000 points.


The downside of the Southwest program is limited value for flying places Southwest doesn't fly. You can use your points to buy tickets on other airlines for international and Hawaii travel, but it's at a less desirable rate that makes your points worth about 1 cent each in some cases.

Estimated Rewards

Earns Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Use for flights on Southwest and Airtran. Wanna Get Away fares can be purchased with points at the rate of 70 points per dollar of airfare. Also redeem points for Gift Cards, Car Rentals, Cruises, Hotel Stays, and International flights to over 800 Destinations on 50+ global carriers.

 

Points

Dollars

Sign on bonus

25,000

$358

Spending

30,000

$429

Annual bonus

3,000

$43

Baggage fees

NA

$0

Foreign transaction fee

NA

$0

Other (free nights, etc)

NA

$0.0

Less annual fee

NA

$69

Total

58,000

$760

Reward Rate

3.2%

Have your own value per point?

Recalculate