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The no annual fee Southwest credit card that’s out of reach

by on Wed May 27, 2015 • 15 Comments


The three publicly available Southwest credit cards are great if you want to take advantage of the Companion Pass that lets you bring a companion along for no airfare on every Southwest flight you take for over a year.

And right now they’re offering their seasonal high bonus deals of 50,000 points each.

But all of them have annual fees – $69 for the entry level Rapid Rewards Plus credit card – and $99 for the higher earning Premier personal and business cards.

They offset them somewhat with annual point bonuses. 3.000 points for the Plus and 6,000 points for the Premier.

Yet Chase offers a no annual fee Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card.

It’s for employees of Southwest airlines only, and called the Rapid Rewards® Employee Credit Card.

  • The sign on bonus isn’t as good as the deals sometimes offered on the regular cards for the public. It’s currently 25,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.
  • The card appears to be a standard ‘Plus’ card, and it earns the same 3,000 point anniversary bonus of the public version, which is nice considering this is a no fee version.

(The information related to The Southwest Rapid Rewards Employee Credit Card has been collected by and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.)

But there are some even better ongoing point kickers. You get:

  • 2,500 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in a calendar year
  • 2,500 MORE bonus points after spending a total of $10,000 or more on purchases in the same calendar year

So you can earn 5,000 extra points a year when you spend $10,000 on the card, which isn’t tough considering it works out to less than $1,000 a month.

If you spend exactly $10,000 a year on the card, you’re effectively earning 1.8 miles per dollar by holding the card thanks to the 5,000 point bonus and the 3,000 point anniversary bonus.

And since Southwest points for flights  are often worth more than 1 cent each, this is a better than 2% cash value card when you use the points for Southwest flights.

All for no annual fee.

Unfortunately friends and family of employees aren’t eligible for the card. They strictly make this card available only to the 46,000 employees of Southwest, and you’ll be asked for your active employee number when you apply.

But it’s always good to get a glimpse of how far card benefits can stretch with the right circumstances.


The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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15 thoughts on The no annual fee Southwest credit card that’s out of reach


    if I have a southwest Chase credit card but now employed by Southwest, can I convert my card to the employee card?

  2. SWA Fly Guy

    While everything you said above is true, you left out one bug caveat: with the employee card you earn point, but not status. You can’t become Companion or A-Plus no matter how much you spend.

      1. Ross

        I have a no annual fee Southwest card for the general public, but it’s sort of like a unicorn. There’s just one catch: it was formerly an AirTran Airlines Visa card with no annual fee that was converted to a Southwest Rapid Rewards card when Southwest bought AirTran in 2011. I don’t receive 3,000 RR points on my anniversary date since I don’t pay the $69 annual fee but I rarely fly Southwest so no big deal. I still earn the same points on Southwest fares and regular purchases like the RR Plus card.


      @Mary Kay – Unfortunately nothing with no annual fee exists right now – unless you are a Southwest Airlines employee.


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