Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards

CardFinder

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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How we calculate the savings

We think the most important things to ask when you're picking a travel rewards card are "How much can you spend?" and "Where do you want to go?"

The CardFinder ranks cards based on your answers to both questions.

MileCards.com knows all miles are not created equal and constantly monitors the actual price in miles of awards for the biggest mileage programs to the most popular destinations. We also monitor the average cost in cash for tickets to these same destinations to value the real savings you can earn. We use that intelligence in our algorithm for ranking cards based on where you want to go.

The values you see represent realistic averages you can expect if you're not flexible with dates, and factors days with and without 'Saver' level awards. If you are flexible and think you can always score the limited Saver level seats from airlines, then you can earn even higher awards. That's why we give you the option to enter your own value for each card to get your own savings rankings. 

Other things we factor:

 
Annual fees: We count the cost of annual fees when adding up the total savings number.

Free bags: Many cards offer you a free checked bag when you travel on the airline that brands the card. We assume you take advantage of 2 bags per year, but can change that in the Advanced Options section.

Foreign transaction fees: Many cards waive foreign transaction fees that are typically 3% on purchases made abroad. We factor those savings and you can change your estimated foreign purchases per year in the Advanced Options.

What the categories mean

Entering your monthly spending here lets you see exactly how many points you can earn in a year with each card. Many have bonuses based on which categories you spend and how much you spend each year. We factor those in.

Dining: Restaurants, fast food 

Airfare: Plane tickets, usually purchased from the airline associated with the card 

Gas: Gasoline purchases (for auto fuel)

Hotel: Hotel spending, usually purchased directly from the hotel 

Grocery: Supermarket spending, usually excludes super centers like Walmart or Costco 

Telco: Cable, Internet, phone services. We also include office supplies here as these tend to be associated with the same category for business credit cards. 

Other: This calculates automatically

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3 cards found
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

$1,092

Travel Rewards Earned

81,200

Annual Points Earned
Partner Offer more detail

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

$1,092

81,200

Bonus Offer

Get 50,000 points for 2 Roundtrip Flights after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $12 not included.  

Card Highlights

The information for the this product has been collected independently. The card details for this product have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

 

Learn about the offer here

 

  • Get 50,000 points for 2 Roundtrip Flights after you spend $2,000 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 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

50,000

$715

Spending

25,200

$360

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

81,200

$1,092

Reward Rate

4.6%

Have your own value per point?

Recalculate

$1,014

Travel Rewards Earned

68,800

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

$1,014

68,800

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

28,800

$412

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

68,800

$1,014

Reward Rate

4.2%

Have your own value per point?

Recalculate
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

$692

Travel Rewards Earned

53,200

Annual Points Earned
Partner Offer more detail

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

$692

53,200

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

Card Highlights

The information for the this product has been collected independently. The card details for this product have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

You can earn 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, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. You also get 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

25,200

$360

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

53,200

$692

Reward Rate

2.9%

Have your own value per point?

Recalculate