The Best Southwest Airlines Credit Card

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Updated: 5 days ago

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points are possibly the most user-friendly points out there, so it makes sense that you’d be interested in finding the best Southwest credit card. While other points currencies are best used on partner airlines or transferred between programs, when you earn Rapid Rewards, you’ll almost certainly redeem them on Southwest; and because their value is nearly constant across all routes, you won’t have to worry about whether you could be getting more for your points. Add in the fact that Southwest carries the most domestic passengers in the United States, and it becomes clear that knowing how to earn Southwest points can save you a lot of money.

Best Southwest Credit Card Offers of October 2019

There are five Southwest credit card offers that earn Rapid Rewards points directly – three personal and two small business cards. All four cards have similar earning rates, and the big distinctions are the annual fees and the extra benefits beyond just earning points. Each card offers a huge welcome bonus that can help take you anywhere in Southwest’s network (which now includes Hawaii!). Here are the best Southwest Airline credit card offers available today:

Earn 80,000 points

New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
Annual Fee: $199
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

This card allows you to earn 80,000 Rapid Rewards® points which is almost 75% of what you need to earn within a calendar year for Southwest's Companion Pass.

Read our Review

Current Offer

  • Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available
  • Inflight WiFi Credits
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® Fee Credit
  • Employee cards at no additional cost, earn points on employee spending.
on Chase's secure site
Earn up to 60,000 points

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
Annual Fee: $149
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

Read our Review

Current Offer
Earn up to 60,000 points. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open.

Card Details
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.

on Chase's secure site
Earn 60,000 points

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
Annual Fee: $99
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

This card allows you to earn 60,000 Rapid Rewards® points which is a bit more than 50% of what you need to earn within a calendar year for Southwest's Companion Pass.

Current Offer
Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Card Details
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.

on Chase's secure site
Earn up to 60,000 points

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
Annual Fee: $99
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program is revenue based, so these points will get you quite a bit of credit towards travel on Southwest. While Rapid Rewards points aren’t the most aspirational currency, they are extremely practical. This sign-up bonus can be especially valuable if you’re going for Southwest Companion Pass.

Current Offer
Earn up to 60,000 points. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open.

Card Details
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.

on Chase's secure site
Earn up to 60,000 points

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Annual Fee: $69
on Chase's secure site
Why we like this card

Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program is revenue based, so these points will get you quite a bit of credit towards travel on Southwest. While Rapid Rewards points aren’t the most aspirational currency, they are extremely practical. This sign-up bonus can be especially valuable if you’re going for Southwest Companion Pass.

Read our Review

Current Offer
Earn up to 60,000 points. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open.

Card Details
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.

on Chase's secure site

How To Earn The Most Southwest Points

All four of the credit cards mentioned are the best way to earn Southwest Points quickly, thanks to the hefty welcome bonuses. However, in the long run there are other credit cards from Chase that can earn even more points for the spending you do everyday.

This is because Chase Ultimate Rewards can be transferred directly to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account (as well as to several other frequent flyer programs). While the Southwest-branded cards will earn you 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines flights and 1 point per dollar on everything else, many of cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points offer bonuses on different spending categories.

While transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards is a great way to earn free travel on Southwest, they won’t help you earn the Companion Pass (more on this awesome benefit below!).

Southwest Credit Card Benefits

While there may be better ways to earn Southwest points on an ongoing basis, the Southwest credit cards offer some benefits you won’t want to miss, even if you only fly Southwest occasionally:

  1. Double points on Southwest Airlines — Regardless of which Southwest credit card you choose, you’ll earn 2x points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases, and 1x point per dollar spent on everything else.
  2. Extra points on your card anniversary — One of the great Southwest credit card benefits is getting bonus points each year when you pay your annual fee. These range from 3,000 to 7,500 Rapid Rewards points depending on which card you have (the higher the annual fee, the bigger anniversary bonus you’ll receive). That’s worth between $40 and $100 of travel on Wanna Get Away fares!
  3. Earn credit towards the Southwest Companion Pass — The points that you earn through the Southwest co-branded credit cards can help you earn the coveted Companion Pass, which is one of the best deals in the world of points and miles. If you have a partner that you travel with over and over, there’s really nothing quite as useful as the Southwest Companion Pass (in fact, some of us only convinced our significant others to get on board with Points & Miles after they saw the money we saved with it!)
  4. Combine points from personal and business spending — If you have the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card, the points you earn are automatically pooled into your Rapid Rewards account, along with any points you’re earning from flying or with your personal credit card. You can even earn the welcome bonus on both the business and a personal card!
  5. Upgraded boarding — This unique benefit is exclusive to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card. With Southwest’s famous open-seating system, it can be important to get on the plane right away. Priority cardholders get reimbursed for four upgraded boardings per year, which can mean the difference between a middle seat by the bathroom and a luxurious exit row!

So, you love the convenience and consistency of the Southwest Rapid Rewards program and you need to figure out which card to choose? Here’s a quick summary:

Best Overall
(Including points towards Companion Pass)
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit CardApply Now
Best for Travel (Plus transfer points to Southwest)
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardApply Now
Best for In-Flight WiFi (Plus best business benefits)
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit CardApply Now
Best for Business *Spending*
(Plus transfer points to Southwest)
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit CardApply Now
Best for Low Annual Fee
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit CardApply Now

As you can see, there are lots of ways to earn Rapid Rewards points, but you should know of a few restrictions:

  • You can only earn the welcome bonus on a Southwest personal card (Priority, Plus, or Premier) if you do not currently hold a Southwest personal credit card AND you have not earned a welcome bonus on a personal credit card in the past 24 months
  • Similarly, you can only earn the welcome bonus on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card if you do not currently have the card, and you have not earned a signup bonus on a Southwest business card in the last 24 months.
    All these cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so you may not be approved if you’ve opened five or more new credit cards in the past two years

The best southwest credit card for our money is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card — in addition to the great benefits listed above, this Southwest credit card offers an annual travel credit. That means the first $75 you spend on Southwest Airlines each year will immediately be wiped away!

But there are several other great cards which allow you to earn Southwest points, so you have plenty of options.

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