MoneyGeek's Take

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Review

If you prefer Southwest Airlines over other airlines when you book your domestic flights, why not take advantage of the airline’s loyalty program and get benefits and travel rewards? You can enjoy maximum benefits without paying high fees using the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus, a co-branded airline credit card in partnership between Chase and Southwest.

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The easiest, most straightforward way to accumulate points is by flying on Southwest Airlines. Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus benefits include the same welcome offer as other Chase and Southwest cards. With the same redemption rate as the more expensive Chase-Southwest Premier and Priority cards, this card gets you as much bang for your buck for an average annual fee.

Card Details to Know Up Front
  • Bonus, Fee or Feature
    Has or Not
  • Has Annual Fee
  • Has Balance Transfer Offer
  • Has APR Offer
  • Cash Back Rewards
  • Travel Rewards
Click to see this card’s rates, fees and how they compare to other cards in our dataset.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus at a Glance

For a starter credit card with a great sign-up bonus, the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus comes with generous benefits. You must have a good to excellent credit score, of around 670 or higher, to qualify for this card. Cardholders can accumulate unlimited points with no expiration date on all their purchases. Every dollar spent is equivalent to one or two points. You also get two free checked bags, which instantly saves you money on your travel.


  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

    The best starter card for the Southwest Airlines flyer


    • Good–ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $69Annual Fee
    • 1–2 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 1xRewards Rate on Gas

Pros & Cons Explained

Before you apply for a Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus, take a good look at whether the pros outweigh the cons to determine if this is the best card that allows you to earn the most points for the greatest benefits.

Pros

  • Benefits
    Description
  • Lowest Annual Fee for basic reward benefits
    While we rate Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus as having an average annual fee, it charges the lowest fee with the same basic benefits as other co-branded Chase and Southwest credit cards.
  • Earn unlimited points with no expiration
    Each dollar spent has an equivalent point. Points have equivalent value convertible to discounts on flights to more than 90 destinations, hotel stays or car rentals. You can even get gift cards and merchandise. Get maximum points as long as you purchase these products and services through the Rapid Rewards shopping portal.
  • Additional travel perks
    Aside from the two free checked bags, you’ll be able to get reimbursed up to $3,000 in case there is any luggage lost or damaged by the carrier. In case of flight delays, the Baggage Delay Insurance perk insures $100 per day, up to 3 days.

Cons

  • Drawbacks
    Description
  • Annual fee
    Considering that other cards waive annual fees, a $69 fee is expensive. Though under the medium to low category, the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus annual fee is still a bit expensive especially for Southwest flyers who only travel a couple of times a year.
  • Basic rewards and benefits
    If you don’t have a travel credit card that earns you miles on purchases yet, Chase Southwest Rapids Rewards Plus is a great bargain. However, other side perks like earning tier qualifying points, getting upgraded boardings or even discounts on flight drinks are not included in this card.
  • Overvalued conversion
    Rapid Rewards points do not convert as high as you would expect. Though 1 dollar spent on the card earns you 2 points, the average value of each point is around 1.3 to 1.5 cents. That means you would need about 10,000 points to get a free one or two-way flight.
  • No other airline partners
    Southwest is not affiliated with any other airlines. Also, there are only economy seats in Southwest. Consequently, the card does not offer as much flexibility when it comes to airline and cabin preference.
  • Very high APR
    If you’re thinking of taking out a cash advance through the card, you might want to think again since apart from the regular APR, there is still an APR billed daily.
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LOOKING FOR THE BEST CREDIT CARDS OF 2021?

When you’re on the lookout for your first or a new credit card, know that there are different types of credit cards that work for specific needs. While the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus has great travel benefits, you might want to check out our list of the best travel credit cards to see the top options.

Bonuses & Rewards Explained

There is no cap in earning points. Points accumulated on the card have no expiration. With Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus, you can earn an equivalent of 2 points for purchases made from Southwest Airlines and Southwest Airlines partners. Earn 1 point for every dollar spent on other merchants.

1

Earn points

You can earn points by flying Southwest Airlines, through the airline’s shopping portal and dining program.

2

Straightforward rewards redemption program

Points can be exchanged for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, gift cards, access to exclusive events and merchandise.

3

Different ways to earn bonus points

This includes the welcome offer of 40,000 points for $1,000 in purchases in the first three months, 3,000 bonus points after a year, 3x points on dining in the first year.

4

Accumulate 125,000 points for the ultimate perk

All accumulated points count towards the Companion Pass, which allows cardholders to bring a companion on their next trip for free, except for taxes and other boarding fees.

Other Features Explained

The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus comes with a list of travel perks and other benefits that you can enjoy when you use the card. These features may make the card the right one for your wallet.

  • Card Feature
    Description
  • First two checked bags are free
    When converted in dollars, two checked bags can cost around $30 to $75 depending on the airline. With an exclusive perk like this, it gives you an automatic discount just by using the card.
  • No change fees
    No need to worry about paying fees when you need to cancel your flight. Simply cancel and apply the airline ticket value on your next purchase.
  • Unlimited reward seats
    Unlike many other basic credit cards, there are no blackout dates or seat restrictions. You can travel with discounts whenever you like.
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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus has an ongoing variable APR rate of 15.99% to 22.99%. This is pretty high considering that many other cards have an APR of 9% or less. You can avoid paying this interest by taking advantage of the grace period. Paying the entire balance in full before the end of a billing cycle can waive these fees since the interest is calculated on the transaction date.

Understanding the Fine Print

Before you apply for any credit card, know that there are associated fees for every transaction. Ideally, you need to pay all your balances before the due date. However, in cases where you miss a payment, APR comes in. Whether you’ll be charged a high or low balance transfer fee or cash advance also lets you know if it’s smart to do the transaction on this particular card.

  • Card Feature
    Amount or Rate
  • APR
    15.99%–22.99%
  • Annual Fee
    $69
  • Cash Back Rewards
  • Rewards Rate
    1–2 Points per $1*
  • Airline Benefits
  • This is an icon

    High APR

    Rewards credit cards normally have a high APR. APR is the interest you pay when you carry a balance on your card or if you miss any payments. While it is calculated at an annual rate, know that APR can be billed daily. The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus comes at a pretty high APR rate of 15.99% to 12.99% if you think about other cards with an APR rate of 9% and below. You can always negotiate with your credit card provider to ask for a lower APR, but remember that you should have a good credit standing before making this request.

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    High Cash Advance APR and Fees

    Before you take out a cash advance, be mindful of the fees you would have to pay. We don’t recommend taking out a cash advance on your Chase Southwest credit card account, as the APR can be really high at 22.99%. Top that with the cash advance fee of $10 or 5% of the amount, whichever is higher.

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    Balance Transfer Fees

    Balance transfers can be a good way to save money if you’re paying a credit card balance with high interest from another credit card with a lower interest. A decent balance transfer fee should be up to 3% only. However, making this transaction with Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is also not advisable as the fees are very high at $5 or 5%, whichever is higher.

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    Annual Fee

    This card has an annual fee of $69, so you’ll want to make sure your spending allows you to at least break even in terms of rewards before you apply.

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FINDING YOUR CARD'S RATES AND FEES

Whether it’s your first time having a travel credit card or you’re looking to add another card to complement an existing one, evaluate the APR, cash advance fees and other charges. You also want to know how much interest you have to pay based on your ADB. If you want to know how these fees compare with your current credit, you can view this in the card issuer’s website, in your online account or card billing statement. This information can also be found on the credit card agreement database from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website.

Who Should & Shouldn’t Consider Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus?

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Other Considerations for Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

Think about how you are going to take advantage of the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card benefits and offers, whether it's your first time applying for one or you’re looking to add one more. Aside from whether you can afford to pay off your monthly and annual fees, consider how you plan to use the card. Remember that your payment history is the major factor that affects your overall credit scores.

Things to Consider if This is Will Be Your First or Only Credit Card

Before you proceed with a Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus application, consider whether you travel enough or make enough purchases with respective rewards on the card to take full advantage. The ultimate goal, especially for cards without a waived annual fee, is to have as many card benefits and perks that can offset those fees.

Also, you might want to investigate whether the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit limit is enough for your travel spending and how you plan to use the cards to rack up points.

Think of the high interest and other rates that could affect your monthly fees. Given the card’s high APR and balance transfer rate, if you don’t plan to pay off your balances each month or if you’re considering making a balance transfer from a different card, this card may not be the best option.

Things to Consider if This is Will Be an Additional Card in Your Wallet

In general, if you have an existing credit card and plan to add another, you want to look at what the current one lacks that the new one could make up for. In obvious cases, you might already have a travel credit card that works well outside the U.S. and one that does not incur foreign transaction fees. Or maybe you have a cash back credit card. If you need a domestic travel card to compliment your other cards, this could be a good option.

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WHY TRUST OUR REVIEWS

When ranking a high number of credit card options, MoneyGeek follows a standardized rating system and review process in order to provide a more thorough, objective and up-to-date rankings. We based our review on information collected from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the average spending of cardholders and many others. We factor in not just the fees but also the benefits and how they compare with other cards in the same categories.

How Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Compares to Other Cards

Out of the three co-branded Chase and Southwest Airlines personal credit cards, the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus has the cheapest annual fee. However, if you’re looking to make purchases overseas, it’s higher-end counterparts, the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier and Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority may be better options. These two are especially great when you’re looking to get on priority boardings.

Quick Comparison of Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

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Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

  • Annual Fee: $69
  • Welcome Offer: 40,000 points for $1000 purchase on the first three months
  • Rewards Rate: 1X-2X points for $1
  • APR Rate: 15.99% to 22.99%
  • APR Offer: None
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%
  • Best For: Occasional Southwest Flyers who would benefit from the rewards and perks even with limited travel
creditCard1

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Offer: 20,000 bonus miles after a $500 purchase on the first three months
  • Rewards Rate: 1.25 Miles per $1
  • APR Rate: 15.49% to 25.49%
  • APR Offer: 0% for new purchases on the first 12 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
  • Best For: People who want a travel rewards cards that has no annual and foreign transaction fees

Other Helpful Decision-Making Q&As

Is Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus a good card for your travel needs? Take a look at these common questions to help you decide.

Still not sure about this card? Consider these options.

The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card is a great option for people who like to fly on Southwest Airlines from time to time. If you aren’t sure if this card is right for you, you can consider other cards, including business cards, gas cards or even balance transfer cards depending on your unique needs. Take the time to evaluate what you are looking for in a credit card before you start applying.

Learn more about credit cards in general

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