The Smart Investor has collected card information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.
When it comes to a travels rewards card that can be beneficial to both loyalty users as well as a more casual spender, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is the best of both worlds. The card has a great sign-up bonus, as well as many options for domestic traveling.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is branded by Southwest Airlines. It offers a wide variety of rewards options that extend past the typical travel rewards, which is something that separates the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card from others within the same distinctions. Combine this with a lower annual fee than competitor cards, and it makes sense as to why the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card is a great option to consider adding to your wallet.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus
On Southwest’s Secure Website
Not Only for Southwest Loyalists
Good – Excellent
Sign-Up Bonus – 40k points after spending $1,000 on purchases, additional 20k points if the spend is over $12k within the first year
Point Redemption – many benefits outside of just Southwest Airlines flights
Fees – $69 Annual Fee
Limited International Travel – when it comes to traveling abroad, options are limited
- No seat restrictions when you fly
- Bags will fly for free
- No blackout dates
- Points are redeemable for hotel stays, a variety of gift cards, access to a number of events, and more
Here’s a summary of the main pros & cons (click to see explanation or scroll down):
|Sign-Up Bonus||Limited International Travel|
|No Blackout Dates||Accumulation of Points|
|Cardholder Anniversary Gift||Southwest Flights Only|
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card – Benefits
Let’s take a look at the benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.
When new card holders sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, they will get 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months the account is open. As an added bonus, if a cardholder spends $12,000 within their first year, they will earn an additional 20,000 points. The initial 40,000 points is already an extremely generous offer, especially with a low spending limit of $1,000 to achieve it. Pair this with the additional 20,000 points, this sign-up bonus is a great incentive for anyone.
No Blackout Dates
Because the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is a travel rewards card, not having to worry about blackout dates causing a dilemma when scheduling trips is a huge benefit that many travel cards fail to offer to their customers. On top of this, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card offers no seat restrictions when you fly, meaning you don’t have to worry about only get the last open seats on an available flight. These two perks separately are hard to come by with any travel rewards card. So being able to have both of these with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is a huge benefit to any cardholder. Oh, and did we mention that your bags will fly for free?
Points that are earned using the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card can be redeemed for a number of things outside of just Southwest Airlines flights. These points are redeemable for hotel stays, a variety of gift cards, access to a number of events, and more. While the best rewards do come in the travel area, meaning the flights and hotel stays, it is nice to have the flexibility and options to look into other means of rewards. These points also don’t expire over time, just so long that the account stays open.
Cardholder Anniversary Gift
Every year a cardholder has an open account with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, they will receive 3,000 points as a loyalty perk for having the account. While this isn’t a huge perk, this is still a nice little effort from Southwest to give people more of a reason to keep this card open.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card – Drawbacks
Let’s take a look at the drawbacks of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.
Limited International Travel
Although there are a many options for domestic travel within the United States, traveling internationally is a different story. There are very limited options when it comes to traveling abroad, so if international travel is something that a potential cardholder was hoping to benefit from, then they might want to look at other options.
Accumulation of Points
The rewards that are earned from the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card are quiet great, but accumulating enough points in order to truly benefit from these rewards can be a challenge. Cardholders earn 2 points per every $1 spent on Southwest Purchases, Rapid Rewards Hotels, and Car Rental Partner purchases, which isn’t bad if you are a Southwest loyalist already. However, all other purchases only give a cardholder 1 point per every $1 spend, which is average at best.
There is an annual fee of $69 for having the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card. While this is lower than other cards that are both travel rewards based and not travel rewards based, there is also a 3% foreign transaction fee. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card also have no intro APR for new cardholders, and the variable APR is 17.99%-24.99%.
Southwest Flights Only
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card has some great flight options for Southwest airlines. However, because Southwest doesn’t have any partner airlines, cardholders who are looking to use these points to flight are limited to only flying Southwest. While this card is designed for Southwest purchases and more specifically for Southwest loyalists, not having any flexibility is something that could deter potential cardholders from applying.
Alternatives to Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card
The Citi/ AAdvantage Platinum Select WorldElite Mastercard earns the card holder double miles on all American Airline purchases, gas, and at restaurants. It also can make flying a little bit less of a hassle since the Citi/ AAdvantage Platinum Select WorldElite Mastercard gives the card holder a free checked bag, as well as a few other perks that can be nice when it comes to flying.
When comparing The AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard to the United Explorer Card, people who fly more frequently would be better off using the AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. If the cardholder wasn’t an American Airlines flyer before, this card would be a great reason to reconsider. Even if the cardholder wouldn’t want to fly soley American Airline, the wide assortment of partner sites that this card can accumulate points with makes it a great addition to the wallet of any frequent flyer. Add this on to the better rewards available when compared to the United Explorer Card, and it can be clearly seen as to why the AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is a superior choice.
The United Explorer Card is a Visa credit card offered through Chase bank that is an Airline branded card through United Airlines. This card is designed entirely for frequent fliers of United Airlines, and has great perks that make the cardholders overall travel experience less expensive and much more stress-free. From seat upgrades to 25% off discounts on all in-flight purchases, the United Explorer Card can make flying with United Airlines a much more relaxing process.
The sister card to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Priority credit card offers similar, yet different, perks for Southwest loyalists. The Priority card offers 7,500 points for a cardholders anniversary compared to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card’s 3,000, doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, and gives cardholders a $75 Southwest travel credit each year, all on top of the same benefits and perks that the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card already offers. The biggest pitfall between these two is that the Priority card has an annual fee of $149, but makes up for the difference in a variety of ways.
Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card Right for You?
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is a strong credit card that is certainly designed for Southwest loyalists. The travels perks, flexibility in point redemption, and generous sign-up bonus are all great reasons to consider this card. With this being said, the card doesn’t travel as well as other Southwest cards, so potential applicants should do their research before committing to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card.