Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Review 2020

Rating:
4.4/5
4.4 stars out of 5

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. 

You’ll be able to earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines flights, hotel & car rental partners and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases made with your card

You’ll also earn 3,000 anniversary points after your Cardmember anniversary

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.

The card comes with an annual fee of $69. In spite of it’s lower compared to other travel cards, it’s still something you should take into account.

Overall, 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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

On Southwest’s Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

  • Not Only for Southwest Loyalists

Credit Rating Requirements

  • Good – Excellent

PROS

  • Sign-Up Bonus
  • Point Redemption

CONS

  • Fees – $69 Annual Fee
  • Limited International Travel

Highlights

  • 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
  • 15.99% - 22.99% variable APR

Here’s a summary of the main pros & cons (click to see explanation or scroll down):

Pros

Cons

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.

  • Sign-Up Bonus

 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.

  • Point Rewards Plan

Under the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, you’ll be able to earn rewards in each and every purchase you make:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines flights, hotel & car rental partners
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases made with your card

You’ll also earn 3,000 anniversary points after your Cardmember anniversary

  • 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?

  • Point Redemption

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.

  • Fees

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

There are several other travel-focused credit cards that offer higher travel reward rates and bonuses when signing up. Let’s take a look at them and see if one is better suited for you than the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card:

This card is good for infrequent American Airlines flyers who are looking for an introduction to AAdvantage miles, as both the travel point and the everyday point accumulation is good – it earns the user bonus miles on grocery purchases. This along with the fact that it does not have an annual fee makes it an appealing card to people who are new to travel rewards.

Purchases that are through American Airlines automatically give 2x miles for every dollar spent, as well as for every dollar spend at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services. In addition, you earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on other purchases

The card offers  10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

However, there are better cards out there as far as travel rewards credit cards are concerned, and depending on the card holders credit history, travel needs and frequency. 

  • United Explorer Credit Card

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. 

With United Explorer card, you can earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, at restaurants and on hotel stays and  mile per $1 spent on all other purchases, The miles that you accumulate through using this card don’t expire, just so long as the account is active. 

When you sign up for the United Explorer Card, the new cardholder will receive 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 or more in the first three months that the account is active. 

The card comes with an annual fee of $69 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year) and the variable APR is 16.49% – 23.49%, based on your credit worthiness. 

  • IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

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. 

With United Explorer card, you can earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, at restaurants and on hotel stays and  mile per $1 spent on all other purchases, The miles that you accumulate through using this card don’t expire, just so long as the account is active. 

When you sign up for the United Explorer Card, the new cardholder will receive 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 or more in the first three months that the account is active. 

The card comes with an annual fee of $69 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year) and the variable APR is 16.49% – 23.49%, based on your credit worthiness. 

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 card has a great sign-up bonus, as well as many options for domestic traveling.

The travels perks, flexibility in point redemption, and its points rewards plan are all great reasons to consider this card.  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.