Best Airline Credit Cards for Southwest Flyers in 2024

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Updated: March 14, 2024

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Chase makes available different Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards for individuals and businesses. It is common for these cards to come with welcome offers through which you may earn bonus points by meeting basic spend-based requirements.

The top credit cards for Southwest Flyers let you earn points faster when you spend on bonus categories. For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers up to 2x points on category-based spending. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, on the other hand, offers up to 3x points and has the same bonus categories.

Annual fees are not the same across all the top Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards. This is also the case with the airline/airport benefits you stand to enjoy. Other aspects that need your attention in selecting a suitable card include foreign transaction fees and APRs.

MoneyGeek experts make it a point to go through all the new and existing credit cards from this category each month. They carry out in-depth comparisons and select the best credit cards for Southwest flyers based on parameters such as reward rates, welcome offers, annual fees, foreign transaction fees, APRs and added perks.

If you think you might benefit more by getting a non-co-branded credit card with airline rewards or a co-branded card from a different airline, you may want to consider checking our overall list of the best airline credit cards.

15%Miles Rewards Rate
 
10%Welcome Offer
 
-6%APR and Fees

MoneyGeek’s Take: Top 3 Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards

Quick Summary

Not all Southwest credit cards come with the same welcome offers, and these remain subject to change. How many points you earn per dollar depends on the card you get and its bonus categories. Choosing the right card requires that you also pay attention to airline/airport benefits on offer, the annual fee you need to pay, the APR that might apply on your card and whether or not you’ll need to pay foreign transaction fees.

You can view other good options by scrolling further down the page.


  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

    Best starter card for the Southwest Airlines flyer


    • 1–2 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 21.49% – 28.49% VariableAPR
    • $69Annual Fee
    • Good–ExcellentRecommended Credit

    The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card stands out as a fantastic choice for Southwest loyalists. With its substantial welcome bonus, you're set on a path of great travel rewards from the get-go. It consistently rewards you every year on your card's anniversary and doubles up on points when you spend on travel and certain services. The ability to earn a Companion Pass and flexible redemption options make it a top choice for frequent travelers. While there is an annual fee, the perks and rewards can easily outweigh it if you travel a lot with Southwest.

    Pros

    • Generous bonus point offer
    • Earns bonus points every anniversary
    • Bonus rewards for travel-related spending
    • Earn Southwest-specific perks

    Cons

    • With annual fee
    • Relatively low bonus points
    • Focus mainly on Southwest®
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 on purchases within three months of opening your account.
    • Earn 3,000 points every year on your card anniversary.
    • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
    • Earn 2X points on local transit, rideshares and other commuting purchases.
    • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services,and select streaming subscriptions.
    • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • Enjoy two EarlyBird Check-In® credits each year.
    • The issuer is a member of the FDIC.
    Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

    A great miles rewards card with no foreign transaction fee for frequent Southwest customers


    • 1–2 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 21.49% – 28.49% VariableAPR
    • $99Annual Fee
    • Good–ExcellentRecommended Credit

    The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card shines when it comes to rewarding loyal Southwest customers. Imagine traveling without the hassle of foreign transaction fees and being greeted every anniversary with a bonus. You'll also get a boost in points, not just for your flights, but for daily expenses like local transit and even your video streaming sessions. Although it does come with an annual fee, and its perks are tailored mostly towards Southwest enthusiasts, the card's generous bonus offers can certainly make it a worthy companion for the frequent traveler.

    Pros

    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Generous bonus points offer
    • Receive anniversary bonus points
    • Earn points on various categories

    Cons

    • With annual fee
    • Limited travel benefits
    • Specific to Southwest purchases
    • Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • 6,000 anniversary points each year.
    • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
    • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
    • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
    • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
    • No foreign transaction fees.
    • Member FDIC


    *The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Moneygeek.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. *
    Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

    A great miles credit card for international purchases with multiple miles-earning and redeeming opportunities


    • 1–2 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 21.49% – 28.49% VariableAPR
    • $99Annual Fee
    • Good–ExcellentRecommended Credit

    We recommend this Chase credit card to business owners who use Southwest Airlines frequently. While this card charges a $99 annual fee, it comes with a sizable spend-based welcome offer. It also rewards you with 6,000 bonus points after each account anniversary.

    This card offers 3X points per dollar on Southwest Airlines purchases. It offer 2X points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases, and on local transit and commuting, including rideshare services. All other purchases come with 1X points.

    All cardholders get 25% back on Southwest in-flight purchases and two EarlyBird check-ins each year. You also earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status every time you spend $10,000. Using this card outside of the U.S. is perfect because it comes with no foreign transaction fees.

    Pros

    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Earn miles for unlimited rewards
    • Introductory and anniversary bonus points
    • Free employee cards

    Cons

    • $99 annual fee
    • High APR
    • Limited travel perks
    • Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening and an additional 60,000 points when you spend $15,000 in 9 months.
    • Bonus categories for earning reward points faster
    • No blackout dates for flights booked with points
    • Individual spending limits available for authorized users
    • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
    • Earn 3X points on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
    • Earn 2X points on on local transit, commuting (including rideshare), internet, cable, phone services and select streaming
    • Earn 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
    • Member FDIC
    Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Summary of the Best Airline Cards for Southwest Flyers

The corresponding Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards comparison table gives you an indication of who might benefit by getting these cards and the credit you need to apply as well as reward rates and annual fees.

  • Credit Card
    Best For
    Avg. Reward Rate
    Annual Fee
    Credit Needed
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
    Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
    Best starter card for the Southwest Airlines flyer
    1–2 Points per $1*
    $69
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
    Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
    A great miles rewards card with no foreign transaction fee for frequent Southwest customers
    1–2 Points per $1*
    $99
  • Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
    Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
    A great miles credit card for international purchases with multiple miles-earning and redeeming opportunities
    1–2 Points per $1*
    $99
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
    Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
    A great card for Southwest frequent flyers
    1–2 Points per $1
    $149
  • Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
    Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
    An excellent business card with Southwest and other travel benefits
    1–3 Points per $1*
    $199
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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

The welcome bonus from the Southwest credit cards counts towards earning the Southwest Companion Pass. This benefit allows your designated companion to fly with you for free on any Southwest flight for more than a full year, even when using your points to book the trip. -- Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com.

How to Compare Airline Credit Cards & Intro Offers

The top Southwest credit cards come with specific features and benefits. This requires that you pay attention to different aspects when making a selection.

1
Rewards rate

The card you get and its bonus categories have a bearing on the points-per-dollar rate. For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card offers 2x points per dollar on Southwest purchases; on Rapid Rewards car rental and hotel partners; on local transit and commuting, including rideshare; and on phone, cable, internet and select streaming services. All other purchases come with 1x points per dollar. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Business Card, on the other hand, offers 3x points per dollar on Southwest purchases, 2x points on bonus categories and 1x points on all other purchases. This card does not include phone, cable, internet, and streaming services under its bonus categories.

2
Welcome offer

Chase credit cards for Southwest flyers usually come with spend-based welcome offers. For instance, you may stand to earn 40,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months.

3
Annual fee

Chase currently does not offer a Southwest Rapid Rewards card with no annual fee. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card serves as the most basic option for personal customers. It has an annual fee of $69. The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card comes with a $149 annual fee but includes a yearly $75 Southwest credit that offsets the higher price. If you get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card, you need to pay an annual fee of $199.

4
Airline/airport benefits

These essentially depend on the annual fee that comes with your card. For instance, the top-of-the-line Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card offers 7,500 bonus points after every account anniversary, a $75 Southwest annual travel credit, availability-based four upgraded boardings each year, 25% back on in-flight purchases and 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List and A-List Preferred status for every $10,000 you spend each year.

5
Foreign transaction fee

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is the only one from the existing list that charges foreign transaction fees. All the other top credit cards for Southwest flyers do away with this fee.

6
APR

This aspect requires your attention if you plan to maintain revolving balances in your account. If this is the case, getting a low-interest credit card with or without rewards might work better for you.

7
Added features

Additional card-specific features and perks you may look forward to include free checked bags on Southwest flights, purchase protection, extended warranty and travel insurance coverage.

Further Reading

About Rajiv Baniwal


Rajiv Baniwal headshot

Rajiv Baniwal is a former finance writer at MoneyGeek, with more than 15 years of experience covering financial topics. His expertise includes mortgages, loans, credit cards, insurance and international money transfers.

Baniwal has a bachelor’s degree in art studies from Delhi University.


    *Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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