Ultimate Guide: Southwest Airlines Credit Cards For 2020


Chase Southwest Airline Credit Cards: Plus, Premier, and Priority Cards

***This review reflects the current public offers available for these credit cards.  Offer is valid through 2/11/2019.  Updates will be provided as the new user sign up offers change***

Chase Bank offers three consumers credit cards in cooperation with Southwest Airlines.  Each of these cards allows consumers to earn rewards through with their Rapid Reward Accounts.  Points can be redeemed for travel with Southwest Airlines.  The Southwest Rapid Reward Travel Cards are among of the most popular airline credit cards.  We will take a look at each card and review the different features consumers can expect from each option.

Southwest Rapid Reward Cards – Quick Overview

The Rapid Rewards Plus Card is the “entry level” Southwest Card with the lowest annual fee.  The Priority Card has the highest annual fee and comes with the most cardholder benefits.  Each card provides an annual anniversary point bonus just maintaining an active account.  Currently, cardholders can apply for a new card and receive an additional sign up bonus when specific spending requirements are met.  Most notably, new cardholders for each card are eligible to receive a Southwest Companion Pass if they meet sign up spending thresholds.

Not Interested In Traveling With Southwest Airlines?  Check Out Our Write Ups On Some Other Popular Travel Cards!

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

As mentioned above, the Southwest Plus Card is the first tier of the Southwest family of credit cards.  Cardholders will enjoy many benefits including:

  • 2x Rapid Reward Points for Southwest Purchases
  • 1x Rapid Reward Points for all other purchases
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year you maintain your account
  • $69 annual fee applied to your statement each year

Southwest fans who are looking for a lower fee credit card will find a lot of value with The Plus Card.  Most estimates put Southwest Point values at 1.5-2 cents per point.  This means that the annual 3,000 point bonus would cover the majority of the card’s annual fee.  One downside for this card is that cardholders will be subject to foreign transaction fees.  It is worth pointing out that Southwest Airlines is expanding to more international locations (such as Mexico) so this may be a concern for some travelers.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card


The Southwest Premier Card is the second tier card of the Southwest Family of credit cards.  Cardholder benefits include:

  • 2x Rapid Reward Points for Southwest Purchases
  • 1x Rapid Reward Points for all other purchases
  • 6,000 anniversary points each year you maintain your account
  • No foreign transaction fee for purchases made abroad
  • $99 annual fee applied to your statement each year

There are several big differences between the Plus Card and the Premier Card.  First, Premier cardholders will be subject to a higher annual fee ($69 vs $99).  Second, cardholders will receive double the annual anniversary bonus with the premier card (3,000 points vs 6,000 points).  This would more than cover the additional fee even at the low end rate of 1.5 cents per point.  Finally, Premier Cardholders will not be subject to a foreign transaction fee when traveling outside of the United States.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority

The Southwest Priority Card is the second top tier card of the Southwest Family of credit cards.  Cardholder benefits include:

  • 2x Rapid Reward Points for Southwest Purchases
  • 1x Rapid Reward Points for all other purchases
  • 7,500 anniversary points each year you maintain your account
  • No foreign transaction fee for purchases made abroad
  • $75 Southwest Airline travel credit each year
  • Four upgraded boarding available annually (subject to availability)
  • 20% back on in flight drinks and in flight Wi-Fi purchases
  • $149 annual fee applied to your statement each year

As you can see, the Priority card provides the most cardholder benefits.  There are several features worth pointing out.  First, the card provides the highest annual point bonus.  This will go a long way towards covering the annual fee at 7,500 points each year.  Furthermore, cardholders will receive a $75 Southwest Credit each year.  Regular Southwest Customers will easily cover the annual fee associated with the Priority Card.

Another big feature cardholders will enjoy is the upgraded boarding priority.  Customers will automatically receive this upgrade when it is available on flights they book with this card.  This will be a huge convenience for regular Southwest Travelers.  The 20% back on in flight Wi-Fi and drinks will be a big perk for customers who enjoy having a drink and getting online during a flight.

New Cardholder Sign Up Bonus For The Southwest Rapid Reward Cards

Currently, each of the three cards offer the same public sign up bonus.  This offer is available through February 11th, 2020.  Historically, these cards often provide varying levels of sign up offers.  At this time, each card provides 30,000 Rapid Reward Points and Companion Pass eligibility for new cardholders.  Cardholders will need to spend $4,000 on their new card in the first 3 months of opening their new account.  Once completed, customers will have 30,000 points added to their Rapid Rewards Account.

Consumers are extremely excited about the companion pass offer available for these credit cards.  A Southwest Companion Pass provides a recipients to designate one traveler to receive free flights when booking with you.  This essentially provides a buy one get one deal for flights.  The Companion Pass must be designated for a specific individual.  This means cardholders will not be able to make trips with multiple companions on their travel.  If you regularly travel with someone (such as a spouse, friend or significant other) this could be a huge windfall of savings.

The Companion Pass is generally reserved to Rapid Reward Members who earn 110,00 points in a given year.  It makes sense that consumers are flocking to this offer given the big point requirement outside of this offer.  The Companion Pass available for this offer is valid through April 31st, 2020.

Which Southwest Credit Card Is Right For You?

Overall, we crown the Priority Card as the clear winner.  This card comes out on top with the big benefits of an annual 7,500 point bonus and the yearly $75 Southwest Credit.  While it has the highest annual fee, these features will more than make up for this expense for regular Southwest Airline Customers.

For consumers who are not interested in the higher annual fee found with the Priority Card, we would recommend the Premier Card over the Plus Card.  The increase to 6,000 anniversary points will easily make up the additional annual fee.

Finally,  The Plus Card may be your choice if you are only interested in the new customer sign up bonus and the companion pass.  Personally, I would still recommend The Premier or Priority Card but if an annual fee is your main concern, then the Plus Card may be the choice for you.

Previous articleAmerican Express Green Card Review 2020
Next articleAviator Business Card – Earn 50,000 AAdvantage Bonus Miles
Elizabeth Weintraub
Elizabeth Weintraub is a former writer for The Balance. She has an extensive background in real estate spanning more than 40 years, including experience in related industries such as title and escrow. Weintruab began in the real estate business in 1974 as a title searcher at First American Title in Boulder, Colorado. After moving to Newport Beach, California, she became an escrow officer in 1976 and advanced to certified status as designated by the California Escrow Association.