What Are The Benefits Of Having A Southwest Credit Card
The benefits of having a Southwest Airlines credit card include:
- Earning travel points to redeem for a free Southwest flight
- Getting 3x points or 2x points on Southwest purchases
- Receiving bonus anniversary points every card membership year
- Earning qualifying points toward a Southwest Companion Pass and tier-qualifying points toward A-List status
- Complimentary travel protections, including lost luggage reimbursement and baggage delay insurance
- Extra travel perks, such as 20% back on in-flight purchases with Southwest and free Upgraded Boardings when available
Since there are multiple Southwest cards, the exact benefits depend on which card you have. If you’re trying to decide on one, you can use The Ascent’s compare credit cards tool to see the features that different Southwest credit cards offer side by side.
How Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards Work
When you apply for a Southwest credit card, your card will be attached to your Southwest Rapid Rewards loyalty number. If you don’t already have one, a new member number will be created for you.
You’ll earn a welcome bonus if you meet the minimum spending requirements as a new cardholder. All of your purchases will earn points as well. Depending on which card you applied for, you’ll receive more points for spending in certain categories, like dining or Southwest purchases.
All of the points you earn with your Southwest credit card are redeemable for any seat on any Southwest flight.
Each Southwest Rapid Rewards point is worth about 1.4 cents on average, according to NerdWallets most recent valuations. The number of points required to book a flight depends on the cash price of the flight and which ticket type you buy . Taxes and fees are extra and must be paid in cash.
Southwest points never expire as long as your loyalty account remains open. If you close your credit card, all points already transferred to Southwest are yours to keep.
» Learn more:How does a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card work
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
This card is also offering 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
This is a solid, middle-of-the-road Southwest card that doesnt charge foreign transaction fees and can help you earn tier-qualifying points for A-List status, but keeps the annual fee under $100. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card awards 6,000 bonus points at each account anniversary . Its a very solid choice, especially while it has the same sign-up bonus as the higher annual fee card.
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Is This The Best Time To Get A Southwest Credit Card
If you believe youll be traveling on Southwest in 2022 and even 2023 then this is one of the better offers weve seen for all three Southwest personal cards. Especially because if youre able to earn the Companion Pass, you can use the points earned and the pass through the end of next year. And with airfare costing a pretty penny these days, being able to fly a family member or friend with you for almost free is a huge perk.
However, if travel is truly not in your future in 2022, then we suggest holding off on applying for a Southwest credit card right now. In past years, its common to see similar offers come around a few times per year, so you can always wait until later this year or next year which could then potentially help you earn the pass for the 2023 and 2024 calendar year.
For personal cards:
Neo Financial Mastercard Essential*
The Neo Financial Mastercard Essential works with thousands of partnering vendorsbig box, chains and localacross Canada to deliver noteworthy cash back rewards. Spends earn you an average of 4% cash back, with 1% being the minimum. That guaranteed 1% beats most cards, as the typical base rate for cash back cards is 0.5%. And Neos bonus rewards of 15% back on your first purchase sweetens the deal. Those looking for even beefier bonuses can consider the Neo Financial Mastercard Plus or Max for higher earn rates .
To find out if a local business is a partner, check Neos local map guide in its app. When you use your Neo credit card, you can score special deals plus cash back. Its a win-win. It also has bigger partners too, like Bell, Canadian Tire and Esso.
- Annual fee: $0
- Welcome offer: Earn 15% cash back on your first purchase.
- Earn rate: It does vary, but it averages 4% back on the free standard plan, with a minimum 1% cash back.
- Additional benefits: Mastercard Zero Liability fraud protection freeze your lost card
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Which Credit Card Offers The Most Value
When in doubt, it can help to come up with a rough estimate of how much money you’d save with different credit cards. Start by adding up the value of all the card’s benefits, such as:
- Sign-up bonus
- Spending credits it offers
- Any regular bonuses it offers
- Rewards points
- Extra travel perks
Take that value and subtract the card’s annual fee. This will give you an estimate of its value for the first year. You can take out the value of the sign-up bonus to estimate its value in subsequent years, since you only get the sign-up bonus once as a new cardholder.
While this takes a little time, it’s a good way to evaluate different cards if you’re stuck between a few options.
We Analyzed 19 Popular Credit Cards Using An Average American’s Annual Spending Budget And Digging Into The Perks And Drawbacks To Find The Best Airline Rewards Credit Cards Based On Your Travel Habits
Selects editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links for products from our affiliate partners.
If you frequently fly with the same airline, using the right credit card can earn you increased rewards and special perks when you travel. After all, loyalty should count for something, right?
There are dozens of airline cards on the market, and they are definitely not all created equal. In order to cut through the noise, we analyzed 19 popular options using an average American’s annual spending budget and digging into each card’s perks and drawbacks to find the best of the best based on your travel habits.
If you’re not loyal to a specific airline, you might want to take a look at our list of the best travel credit cards,which provides alternative cards that offer competitive rewards rates on broader travel purchases, such as hotels and cruises, in addition to airfare. These cards offer travel insurance, more flexibility and often allow points to be transferred to frequent flyer programs.
Here are Select’s picks for the top airlines credit cards:
New cardmembers can earn 50,000 miles after they spend $2,500 within the first three months from account opening. High spenders can also take advantage of a $125 American Airlines credit when you spend $20,000 within the first year .
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Which Southwest Airlines Credit Card Should I Get
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Choosing a Southwest Airlines credit card can be tricky because differences among the three consumer cards may seem subtle at first glance. But you receive progressively more value from the cards with higher annual fees.
The trio of cards share a primary perk: free frequent-flyer points posted to your account annually. So the decision comes down to the extra value you get for the $99 annual fee of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card compared with the $69 you’ll pay for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and then whether it’s worth paying $149 to step up to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.
Cards That Let You Transfer Points To Southwest
In addition to co-branded Southwest Airlines credit cards, Chase offers several premier options that let you transfer what you earn to Southwest and other Chase Ultimate Rewards partners at a 1:1 ratio. In other words, you can sign up for these cards, earn rewards and move your points to the airline for free later on.
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Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card: Best For Frequent Southwest Flyers
The Priority card is the top-of-the-line card thats ideal for frequent Southwest flyers. While it has an annual fee of $149, youll find that the card more than makes up for it by offering you both points and perks. For example, youll receive four free upgraded boardings each calendar year when available. This allows you to upgrade your boarding position at the gate to A1A15, which normally costs $30, $40 or $50 per flight. Youll also receive 7,500 bonus points each year on your account anniversary, worth over $100 in Southwest travel, as well as a $75 annual travel credit.
These benefits come on top of everything you receive from the Premier card, including the limited-time offer: Earn 75,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. You also earn 3X points on Southwest purchases 2X points on local transit, commuting and rideshare and 2X points on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming services. Youll also earn 1,500 TQP for every $10,000 spent each year .
For the additional $50 in annual fees beyond the Premier card, the Priority card offers you at least $120 worth in upgraded boarding, plus 1,500 additional bonus points each year on your account anniversary. Thats a fantastic value for those who are willing to spend a little more on the annual fee.
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What Is Southwest Companion Pass
Southwest Companion Pass allows one traveling companion to fly with you for free whenever you purchase or redeem points for a trip.
You can change your designated companion up to three times per year.
One way to get the pass is to earn 125,000 qualifying points in a year. All points earned with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, including sign-up and anniversary bonuses, count toward the pass.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
This card is offering 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
The Priority card comes with a $149 annual fee. Thats the highest annual fee of the personal Southwest cards, but the cards annual $75 credit drops that to $74 if you make full use of it. At that price, its cheaper than the Premier credit card and has the best perks of the bunch, making it my top pick of the personal cards for those who actively fly Southwest.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card awards 7,500 bonus Rapid Rewards points at each account anniversary an annual $75 annual Southwest travel credit 25% back on inflight drinks, Wi-Fi, messaging and movies and four Upgraded Boardings in the A1A15 position each year .
Note that upgraded boarding is only available the day of travel, and is not the same thing as Southwests EarlyBird Check-In that sells for $15+ per person per flight.
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Current Welcome Bonus Offer For Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards
New Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card applicants can take advantage of the same welcome bonus, regardless of whether they sign up for the Plus, Premier or Priority card: Earn the highly coveted Companion Pass® through Feb. 28, 2023, plus 30,000 points, after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. With Companion Pass, you can bring your friend along for free on every trip through February 28, 2023.
Enjoy Ongoing Southwest Airlines Credit Card Benefits
The three Southwest credit cards have varying annual fees and card benefits. All three cards offer an anniversary point bonus.
Southwest consumer 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
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card cardholders also get 2 EarlyBird Check-In® abilities each year.
The most luxurious of your three consumer card options is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card:
- 7,500-anniversary points each year
- $149 annual fee
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Southwest Business Credit Card Comparison
The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card charges a $99 annual fee, while the Performance Business card is more expensive, at $199. However, the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card has a better anniversary bonus, giving 9,000 points on each cardmember anniversary compared to the 6,000 points you’ll get each year with the Premier Business card.
The biggest difference between these two cards is their ongoing earnings potential. While you’ll earn 3x points per dollar on Southwest purchases and 2x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners with the Premier Business Card, you’ll earn 4x points and 3x points per dollar in these categories, respectively, with the Performance Business card.
And with the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card you’ll earn 2x points per dollar on the following business expenses as well:
- Social media and search engine advertising
- Internet, cable, and phone services
Both cards also earn 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, and offer up to $500 in fee credits for points transfers each year.
As with the personal Southwest credit cards, the points you earn from the Southwest small-business cards count toward the Companion Pass.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
A few non-Chase credit cards are a good fit for Southwest flyers too. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2 miles per $1 on purchases.
However, if you are wanting to earn a few more miles on travel, good newsearn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Plus, Venture cardholders will earn 5x miles when booking through the Turo app or on Turo.com .
You can redeem Capital One miles as a travel statement credit for travel purchases including Southwest flights. Every point is worth 1 cent each. There isnt a minimum redemption amount.
This card also offers you Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit as well. There is a $95 annual fee but you dont have to worry about foreign transaction fees.
New Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card cardholders can earn 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This is equal to $750 in travel.
Periodic Southwest flyers may appreciate the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.
It focuses solely on earning Rapid Rewards points and doesnt offer additional benefits like Upgraded Bookings. As a result, its annual fee is only $99 instead of the benefit-rich Priority Cards $149 annual fee. Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.
You also earn unlimited:
Additionally, get 25% back on inflight purchases.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card cardholders also get 2 EarlyBird Check-In® abilities each year.
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Also Consider: Scotiabank Gold American Express*
The Scotiabank Gold American Express has been a longtime favourite for Canadians, especially those who travel. The first thing youll notice about this card is the Scotia Rewards earn rate is a very healthy 5 points per $1 on groceries, dining and entertainment. Gas gets 3 points per $1, as do spends in two other categories: Public transit and eligible streaming services. All other purchases earn you 1 point per $1 spent. This card also doesnt charge a foreign transaction feeits one of the very few Canadian cards to offer this perk. Consider it a 2.5% bonus on all foreign currency transactions, including online purchases.
- Annual fee: $120
- Welcome offer: You can earn up to 40,000 Scene and travel points by spending $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months. You can also earn an additional 20,000 points when you spend $7,500 in everyday purchases in your first year. Apply by January 1 2022.
- Earn rate: 5 points per $1 spent on groceries, dining and entertainment 3 points per $1 on gas, public transit and eligible streaming services and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
- Income requirement: $12,000