Best Southwest Credit Card Overall
- $0 foreign transaction fees
- Chase’s friend referral bonus is inferior to Southwest’s referral bonus: earn up to 75,000 points versus 100,000 points annually.
- Purchasing Southwest flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards® points requires more steps than points earned through a co-branded Southwest card. Southwest Rapid Rewards cardmembers can keep track of points earned in one place, the Southwest dashboard.
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 arent 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.
Why Get A Southwest Credit Card
There are many reasons to be excited over Southwests increased welcome offers. First, Southwest Rapid Rewards points are loosely pegged to a dollar valueeach point is worth between 1.3 to 1.45 cents when redeemed for the airlines cheapest Wanna Get Away fares. That means that a 75,000 Rapid Rewards points bonus is worth approximately $975$1,088 on Southwest flights. Cha-ching!
Second, great travel benefits are bundled into Southwests cards. Depending on the card, benefits may include bonus points for eligible spending in select categories, passes for complimentary EarlyBird Check-In on Southwest flights , and annual fee credits for Rapid Rewards points transfers.
Third, hefty intro bonuses make it easier to earn Southwests ultra-valuable Companion Pass, which is essentially a voucher good for unlimited two-for-one travel on both paid and award tickets on Southwest Airlines. Earning a Companion Pass typically requires 100 qualifying one-way flight segments or amassing 125,000 qualifying points. Luckily, welcome bonuses count as qualifying points, presenting an almost too-good-to-be-true fast track. In fact, if you double-down on Southwest credit cards, with a personal card under the current, limited-time offer and a Southwest business credit card, you could quickly land Southwests coveted Companion Pass for the rest of 2022 and keep it through all of 2023.
Chase Freedom Flex: 600+ Credit Score Needed
The Chase Freedom Flex offers cash back rewards and special introductory rates. While we found a reference to a cardmembers acceptance with a score of 500 online, most cardmember comments indicate a more realistic minimum of around 645.
The repoted minimum credit limit is $500, and it comes with solid introductory APR and balance transfer offers.
Dont Open Or Close Any Accounts
Finally, it can help to lay low for a while as you work to improve your credit. This means keeping old accounts open since they lengthen your credit history. It also means refraining from opening new accounts.
If you take steps to boost your score and give it some time, youre more likely to be approved for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card or other Southwest cards later on.
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Available Southwest Credit Cards
Chase and Southwest Airlines have partnered to offer several Southwest credit cards, including three personal cards and two for business owners. Welcome bonus offers for these cards change periodically throughout the year.
Let’s a take a closer look at which cards are available, plus their current sign-up offerings.
Review: Is The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus The Best Credit Card For You
Chase issues five different Southwest credit cards. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is the entry-level version, with the lowest annual fee of the bunch. That makes it ideal for those who want to minimize their out-of-pocket cost while still earning a lot of Southwest points.
The card is offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The bonus points you’ll earn equate to $700 in Southwest travel, on average .
However, a low annual fee also means fewer ongoing benefits. This shouldn’t be a factor if you’re just an occasional traveler, but frequent Southwest flyers could get better value from the additional perks on the other Southwest credit cards. The great thing about Southwest points is that they never expire, so there’s no pressure to redeem your points right away.
Before you decide on whether the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is the right pick for you, you’ll want to compare it to the other Southwest cards, because you can only have one personal version at a time. And if you prefer flexibility, a card that earns transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points might be a better bet.
Southwest is one of over a dozen Chase airline and hotel transfer partners, and cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® have broader bonus categories and more benefits.
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What Credit Score Is Needed For The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card
To qualify for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card and most other travel credit cards, youll need to have a credit score that falls within the good to excellent range. Generally speaking, FICO scores of 670 or higher are considered good, whereas scores above 740 are considered very good and scores of 800+ are considered excellent.
But there are additional factors beyond your credit score that can play a role in your eligibility. For example, card issuers want to see a steady source of income on your application, even if it is household income and not your own.
Also, note that Chase limits new cards to individuals who they consider heavy credit or rewards users. Generally, the Chase 5/24 rule says you cant qualify for one of their cards if youve had more than five new cards or credit inquiries from any issuer in the last 24 months.
What Credit Score Do You Need For Southwest Credit Card
Among the consumer credit cards offered by Southwest, this one stands out for its rewards program. Youre not alone if youre a fan of Southwest Airlines. In fact, a Morning Consult poll indicated that Southwest Airlines is the most popular in the US. As one of the most cost-effective ways to travel, its simple to see why so many people choose to fly.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, one of the finest airline credit cards, will help you stretch your money further. It is possible to earn prizes and gain access to perks that will enhance your holiday experience. Find out about the features and benefits of the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus card in this review.
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Southwest Airlines Credit Score Requirements By Card
Your credit score is an important factor, but there are plenty of other things that will impact your chances of being approved for a Southwest Airlines credit card, too. Some other key criteria include your income, existing debt load, number of open credit accounts, recent credit inquiries, employment status and housing status.
If You Want To Apply For A Personal Card:
You are eligible to do so as long as you abide by the following rules:
- The Chase 5/24 rule: Youll almost certainly be rejected for a Southwest credit card if youve opened five or more credit cards within the past 24 months excluding most business cards.
- Card family restrictions: If youve already got a Southwest personal card, you cant open another until youve canceled your current card.
- Sign-up bonus rules: You cant open the card if youve earned a sign-up bonus from a Southwest personal card within the past 24 months
The important note here is that having a Southwest business credit card doesnt impact your eligibility for personal cards in any way.
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What Is The Best Southwest Credit Card
There are three personal and two small business versions of the Southwest Airlines credit card.
The best personal option is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card. This card has a $149 annual fee which can seem expensive at first. However, this card has these valuable perks:
- $75 annual Southwest travel credit
- 4 Upgraded Bookings per year
- 7,500 bonus Rapid Rewards each card anniversary
- No foreign transaction fee
- 25% back on inflight purchases
As this is the flagship Southwest credit card, it has a few more perks than the other personal credit cards.
Cardholders earn unlimited:
- 3x points on Southwest® purchases
- 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
- 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases
New Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
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.
- Lowest Annual Fee for basic reward benefitsWhile 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 expirationEach 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 perksAside from the two free checked bags, youll 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.
When youre 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.
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Why Southwest Premier Stands Out
The $99 annual fee can easily pay for itself quickly with 3X rewards on Southwest purchases plus an opportunity to earn points toward A-List status when you fly Southwest. A-List passengers get perks such as priority boarding, a priority and express lane for faster check-in at the airport, a 25% earning bonus and a special phone line for faster customer service.
Disadvantages Of The Southwest Premier Credit Card
The Southwest Premier card isnt great when it comes to bonus categories. While it now earns 3 points for every dollar you spend on Southwest and 2 points per dollar on select other purchases, most of your everyday purchases will still only earn 1 point per dollar.
Since Southwest points are generally worth 1.4 cents apiece when redeemed for the carriers Wanna Get Away fares, that means youre only earning an effective 1.4% return on most of your purchases. Thats less than CNN Underscoreds benchmark credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card, which earns 2% cash back on all purchases 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay it off and doesnt charge an annual fee.
Even other travel cards can earn a better return. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 3 points per dollar on dining and select online grocery purchases, and 2 points per dollar on all travel purchases . You then have the flexibility to transfer your Chase points to Southwest at a 1-to-1 ratio, or to one of the other 13 airline and hotel partner loyalty programs.
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Other Credit Cards Similar To The Southwest Premier
Within the Southwest family, there are actually five different credit cards three personal and two business cards so there are four other Southwest cards to consider.
On the personal side, the Southwest Plus card has slightly fewer benefits than the Southwest Premier but a lower annual fee. The anniversary bonus points on the Southwest Premier can make up for the difference in cost, but only if you keep the card for at least a few years.
Or, if youre a Southwest frequent flyer whos looking for a card with lots of benefits, then youll want to consider the Southwest Priority card. The earning rates on the Southwest Priority are the same as the Southwest Premier, but youll get a $75 Southwest annual travel credit, four upgraded boardings per year and 7,500 bonus points on every card holder anniversary starting with the second year you have the card.
Finally, if youre looking for a card that provides more flexibility but still offers the opportunity to redeem points on Southwest, you might want to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Points from both cards transfer to Southwest, along with many other travel partners, such as JetBlue, United and Hyatt, at a 1-to-1 ratio. But keep in mind that points earned on these two cards wont count toward the Southwest Companion Pass like they do on Southwest credit cards.
How To Maximize Your Rewards
You can increase your return on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa credit card in multiple ways. To do that, you need to spend $5,000, on any purchases, within the first three months after account approval. That earns you 50,000 points, worth $725 when used to buy flights.
Also, to take advantage of the airline’s frequent fare sales, be sure to sign up for Southwest’s mailing list to get notifications when it runs fare deals. To start receiving emails, click on “Special Offers” at the top of any page on the airline’s website and click the “Sign me up” button.
If you didn’t book your ticket during a fare sale, no problem. Southwest offers free cancellations on award tickets, so check now and then to see if the price has dropped. If it has, you simply cancel your flight and book it again to save the difference.
Another way to earn points with the card is to refer your friends and family members. You’ll receive 20,000 bonus points for each friend or business you refer that applies and gets approved for a qualifying Southwest credit card. You can earn up to 100,000 points each year through referrals.
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Capital One Venture X
If youre looking for a card outside the Chase family, Capital One Venture X is an excellent choice for people with excellent credit.
Youll earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first three months, plus an anniversary bonus worth 10,000 miles each year. You also get $300 in Capital One travel credit annually, which helps to defray the cost of the $395 annual fee. You also get a $100 annual credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, so if you use these services, your annual fee will be completely covered.
Predict Your Annual Spend In Bonus Categories
For flights paid for in cash , youll not only earn points by flying, but also by spending. When you use your Southwest credit card, youll earn bonus points on every Southwest purchase.
While most Southwest cards earn 3x on these purchases, the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card earns 4x on Southwest purchases, as well as 3x on Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners.
Being realistic about how much you fly Southwest can help you determine whether the card will be worth it for you.
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United Club Infinite Card: 670+ Credit Score Needed
If you are a committed United customer and want a premium credit card, then you may be willing to shell out the hefty annual fee for the United Club Infinite Card. Indications point to a minimum credit score of 670 for approval.
- Tiered rewards, including 4 miles per $1 spent with United
- Free access to all United Club locations and Star Alliance affiliated lounges worldwide
- Free first and second checked bags
- $525 annual fee
Given its high annual fee, its not surprising that the card bids for consumers with good to excellent credit scores.
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 youll be charged a high or low balance transfer fee or cash advance also lets you know if its smart to do the transaction on this particular card.
- Card Feature
- 12 Points per $1*
- Airline Benefits
- Rewards Rate on Online Shopping1x
- Rewards Rate on TV, Phone, Internet Services1x
- Rewards Rate on Air Travel2x
Whether its your first time having a travel credit card or youre 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 issuers website, in your online account or card billing statement. This information can also be found on the from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.
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