MoneyGeek's Take

Best Airline Credit Cards for Southwest Flyers in 2022

The best credit cards for Southwest Flyers come with higher-than-usual reward rates on category-based spending. These cards commonly offer bonus points for new cardholders through spend-based welcome offers.

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This article is part of our larger series on Best Airline Credit Cards

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 Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card offers up to 2x points on category-based spending. The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier 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.

This article is part of our larger series on
Best Airline Credit Cards

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.


  • 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

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

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


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $99Annual Fee
    • 1–2 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 1xRewards Rate on Groceries

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business

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


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $99Annual Fee
    • 1–2 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 1xRewards Rate on TV, Phone, Internet Services

    Terms, rates and fees apply

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
  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus
    The best starter card for the Southwest Airlines flyer
    1–2 Points per $1*
    $69
    Good-Excellent
  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
    A great miles rewards card with no foreign transaction fee for frequent Southwest customers
    1–2 Points per $1*
    $99
    Good-Excellent
  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business
    A great miles credit card for international purchases with multiple miles-earning and redeeming opportunities
    1–2 Points per $1*
    $99
    Good-Excellent
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
    A great card for Southwest frequent flyers
    1–2 Points per $1
    $149
    Good-Excellent
  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business
    An excellent business card with Southwest and other travel benefits
    1–3 Points per $1*
    $199
    Good-Excellent
tip icon
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.

About Our Rankings

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.

Top Rating Criteria for Airline Cards

rewards
Rewards Rate
signupBonus
Welcome Offer
annualFee
Annual Fee

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 Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus 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 Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier 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 Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus 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 Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus 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 the Author


expert-profile

Rajiv Baniwal has been writing about different financial topics for over 15 years. Meticulous in his research, he makes sure he provides accurate and up-to-date information. His areas of expertise include mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, insurance and international money transfers.


*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.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity.
Advertiser Disclosure: MoneyGeek has partnered with CardRatings.com and CreditCards.com for our coverage of credit card products. MoneyGeek, CardRatings and CreditCards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. To ensure thorough comparisons and reviews, MoneyGeek features products from both paid partners and unaffiliated card issuers that are not paid partners.