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If you're not currently a Southwest Rapid Rewards cardholder, this is an excellent time to consider getting on board. For a limited time, Southwest Airlines' consumer Rapid Rewards credit card suite offers new cardmembers the chance to earn 50,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening. For business owners, you can earn a large welcome bonus as well by opening a Southwest Airlines business credit card.

According to our points and miles valuation guide, your bonus offer can be worth at least $700 in free Southwest flights. We'll go over the similarities and differences of each offering, and how to choose the right one based on your needs.

Southwest Credit Card Comparison

Southwest credit cards offer a variety of bonus categories that make earning rewards points for free travel faster than ever. Currently, Southwest offers three consumer credit cards and two business credit cards. Here's how they compare and stack up to each other:

  • Best for a Lower Annual Fee: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
  • Best for Occasional Southwest Flyers: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
  • Best for Frequent Southwest Flyers: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
  • Best Low-Annual Fee Business Card: Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
  • Best Overall for Small Business Owners: Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

Compare Southwest Consumer Credit Cards

Credit Card Annual Fee Intro Bonus Perks Learn More

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

$69 50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
$99 50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

$149 50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 25% back on inflight drinks & Wi-Fi
  • 4 upgraded boardings when available

Compare Southwest Business Credit Cards

Credit Card Annual Fee Intro Bonus Perks Learn More

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

$99 60,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $840 (60,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

  • 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins annually
  • 25% back on inflight purchases

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

$199 80,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Dollar Equivalent: $1,120 (80,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

  • Up to 365 inflight Wi-Fi credits annually
  • 4 upgraded boarding passes annually when available
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit up to $100 every 4 years

Who Should Get a Southwest Card?

If you love to fly Southwest Airlines, getting a Southwest credit card is worth it because it offers plenty of value to loyal flyers. While each card carries an annual fee, they also open the door to various perks and rewards-earning opportunities. 

With generous welcome bonus offers, you can earn valuable points after meeting minimum spend requirements, plus additional points for spending each year of card ownership. Having a Southwest credit card can help Rapid Rewards members get closer to earning the coveted Southwest Companion Pass®

Who Shouldn't Get a Southwest Card?

Suppose you prefer flying with another airline or you don't live near a Southwest hub. In that case, it makes more sense to research other airline credit cards or general travel rewards credit cards that earn more flexible points and miles you can redeem several ways. Southwest credit cards offer several travel benefits but lack luxury perks, and the airline doesn't offer premium cabins or operate airport lounges. You may be better suited for other cobranded airline cards if you prefer to travel in style.

Recommended Travel Credit Cards

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 1x- 5xPoints More Info

The card offers 5x points per dollar on Chase Travel℠, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

$69 1x - 2xPoints More Info

Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

United Gateway℠ Card

20,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Dollar Equivalent: $280 (20,000 United MileagePlus Miles * 0.014 base)

$0 1x - 2xPoints More Info

Earn 2X United miles per dollar on United purchases, local transit and commuting and at gas stations. You’ll earn 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Citi Premier® Card

60,000Citi ThankYou Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,080 (60,000 Citi ThankYou Points * 0.018 base)

$95 1X-10XPoints More Info

10X total ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets 1X -- Earn 1 Point on All Other Purchases

Another option is to consider a credit card with a generous sign-up bonus offer. This way you can earn a promotion in the form of cash back or points and spend it the way you want.

Pros and Cons of Southwest Credit Cards

Pros

  • Generous welcome bonus offers
  • Earn qualifying points toward a Southwest Companion Pass®
  • Earn qualifying points toward A-List status
  • Travel protections like lost luggage reimbursement and baggage delay insurance
  • Flexible spending categories

Cons

  • Annual fees
  • Rewards have limited flexibility
  • No airport lounge access
  • No premium cabins on Southwest flights
  • Limited international flights
  • No airline alliance partners

Perks of Southwest Credit Cards

The specific benefits and perks you'll receive depend on your Southwest card, but some nice perks can include:

  • Anniversary bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fees (depending on the card)
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Upgraded boardings
  • EarlyBird Check-ins
  • Annual travel credit
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase damage and theft protection
  • Inflight Wi-Fi credits 
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit 

Southwest's Rapid Rewards consumer cards are considered to be among the best rewards credit cards. Similarly, they're regularly ranked by Slickdeals in the top-rated travel credit card category.

The consumer Rapid Rewards cards below are eligible for Southwest's robust bonus offer.

Best Southwest Card for a Lower Annual Fee

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

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Secure application on issuer’s website

  • Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work
  • APR21.49% - 28.49% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$69
  • Sign Up Bonus 50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

This is a great starter card for infrequent domestic travelers who want to earn rewards toward discounted Southwest flights without a huge annual fee. You won't get a ton of perks compared to other Southwest cards, and this card does charge foreign transaction fees so probably isn’t best for international travelers.

Overview

This is the entry-level card for aspiring Rapid Rewards point earners, and new cardholders can earn a nice sign-up bonus, which can help get you closer to booking flights for your next travel destination. This card also earns 3,000 anniversary points each year and 2 EarlyBird check-ins annually.

Above all, for a modest $69 annual fee, the Rapid Rewards Plus credit card helps you rack up points as cheaply as possible.

Pros

  • 2x points on Southwest purchases, local transit and commuting, select streaming and more
  • Annual fee that's palatable
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass®

Cons

  • In exchange for a lower annual fee, the card's ongoing benefits may seem lackluster
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Why We Chose It 

This entry-level card is a perfect fit for casual travelers who want to earn rewards toward free flights. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card has the lowest annual fee among the suite of Southwest cards. It comes with a $69 annual fee applied to the first billing statement. It also earns 3,000 anniversary points each year and offers basic travel and purchase protections.

Sign-Up Bonus

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card offers new cardholders a handy sign-up bonus. New card members can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 during the first three months of account opening.

Our points and miles valuation guide estimates the offer to be worth $700 in free Southwest flights.

On your cardmember anniversary, you’ll also receive 3,000 points and 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins annually.

Rewards Rate

In addition to the sign-up bonus, you’ll earn Southwest points for using the card for purchases. Currently, cardmembers earn:

  • 2X points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases and with Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners
  • 2X points on local transit and commuting, including ride-sharing
  • 2X points on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming services
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card has the lowest annual fee among all Southwest credit cards. The card has a $69 annual fee applied to the first billing statement. Always factor the annual fee cost in when determining the value of any rewards credit card.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Unlike most Southwest Airlines credit cards, the Plus card does charge a foreign transaction fee. Purchases made with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card outside the U.S. are subject to a 3% fee.

Card Perks

As Southwest’s entry-level card, there aren’t many extra perks attached to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card. Like all Southwest Rapid Rewards members, you’ll enjoy free first and second checked bags, no change fees and no blackout dates on rewards flights. Travel perks featured with this airline credit card include:

  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase damage and theft protection

Drawbacks

  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Limited card benefits

Who It's Good For

If you're a domestic Southwest flyer looking for a simple, low-annual-fee card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is a solid choice. You'll enjoy basic travel and airline perks, as well as elevated rewards on Southwest purchases.

Who It's Not Good For

This card is not the best fit for those who fly frequently on Southwest or for use abroad, as it does incur a foreign transaction fee. If you're looking for a card with luxury perks, consider a premium travel card.

Best Card for Occasional Southwest Flyers

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

This product is currently not available via Slickdeals. All information about this product was collected by Slickdeals and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

  • Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work
  • APR21.49% - 28.49% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$99
  • Sign Up Bonus 50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

This middle-of-the-pack Southwest card is a good option for occasional travelers. In exchange for a moderate annual fee, you'll enjoy strong travel perks on top of 6,000 bonus points every anniversary. Another nice perk is this card charges no foreign transaction fees, unlike the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus.

Overview

In addition to perks like no foreign transaction fees and being able to earn A-list flight status, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card also offers a generous 6,000 bonus points every cardholder anniversary. It’s these types of benefits that help round out the value of the $99 annual fee.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card also offers two EarlyBird Check-Ins each year.

Pros

  • Land A-List status faster with 1,500 TQPs for every $10,000 you spend
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass®
  • 6,000 bonus points awarded every cardmember anniversary

Cons

  • $99 annual fee
  • Must fly Southwest often for this card to make sense

Why We Chose It 

Southwest's mid-tier consumer card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier credit card offers a few more benefits than the Plus card with a slightly higher annual fee of $99. Unlike the Plus card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. It also earns higher rates for card spending and comes with 6,000 anniversary points annually. 

Sign-Up Bonus

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card offers new cardholders a chance to earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 during the first three months of account opening.

On your cardmember anniversary, you’ll also receive 6,000 points and 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins annually.

Rewards Rate

Cardmembers can earn more Rapid Rewards points through purchases with the Premier card. Currently, cardmembers earn:

  • 3X points per dollar spent with Southwest
  • 2X points per dollar spent with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2X points per dollar spent on local transit and commuting, including ride-sharing services
  • 2X points per dollar spent on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming services
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee

The Southwest Premier card also comes with an annual fee. Cardmembers are charged the $99 annual fee on their first billing statement.

Foreign Transaction Fees

If you’re planning any post-pandemic travel outside the U.S., the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card is a great travel companion. The card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees on international purchases.

Card Perks

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card offers similar benefits to the Plus card. Again, there are no fees for first and second checked bags, no change fees and no blackout dates on rewards flights. The Premier card’s travel perks include:

  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase damage and theft protection

Drawbacks

  • $99 annual fee

Who It's Good For

Occasional Southwest flyers and international travelers flying to Mexico, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean will find a lot of value with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier. The card also does not charge foreign transaction fees, so you can bring it with you on your foreign travels.

Who It's Not Good For

Travelers who are looking for luxury perks will not exactly find that with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier.

Best Card for Frequent Southwest Flyers

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

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Secure application on issuer’s website

  • Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work Read the review
  • APR21.49% - 28.49% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$149
  • Sign Up Bonus 50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

If you’re looking for a Southwest credit card stacked with travel rewards and perks, this is it. Although it has the highest annual fee of Southwest consumer cards, you could easily offset the fee if you travel Southwest frequently.

Overview

When you look at benefits like a $75 annual travel credit, free checked bags and discounts on in-flight purchases, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is probably the most affordable of all the Southwest credit cards. Similarly, the 7,500 bonus points each cardmember anniversary really pack on the value and offset this card’s $149 annual fee.

Read the review

Pros

  • Although there's a $149 annual fee, the $75 Southwest annual travel credit makes the card much more affordable for frequent flyers
  • 7,500 anniversary bonus points as a cardmember

Cons

  • Higher annual fee may not be a fit for some
  • Must fly Southwest with some frequency for card to make sense

Why We Chose It 

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority credit card is the airline's most expensive consumer card, with a $149 annual fee, but it’s also its most valuable card. With added benefits like a $75 annual travel credit, 4 upgraded boardings per year when available and discounts on in-flight purchases, there are plenty of ways to recoup the fee, especially if you frequently fly with Southwest. The card comes with 7,500 anniversary points annually. 

Sign-Up Bonus

In line with other current Southwest credit card deals, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card offers new cardholders a lucrative sign-up bonus. New card members can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 during the first three months of account opening.

Cardmembers also receive 7,500 points annually on their cardmember anniversary.

Rewards Rate

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card rewards rates are the same as the Premier. Currently, cardmembers earn:

  • 3X points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases
  • 2X points per dollar spent with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2X points per dollar spent on local transit and commuting, including ride-sharing services
  • 2X points per dollar spent on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming services
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card has the highest annual fee among the Southwest personal credit cards. Cardmembers pay a $149 annual fee, which is applied to the first billing statement. Despite the fee, this is still a great deal for frequent Southwest travelers because of the bounty of travel perks included with the card.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Like the Premier card, this airline card comes with no foreign transaction fees. As travel becomes part of life again post-pandemic, you won’t have to worry about paying extra charges for purchases made outside of the U.S.

Card Perks

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card features more perks than other Southwest personal credit cards. Like the previous cards mentioned, you’ll enjoy no fees for first and second checked bags, no change fees and no blackout dates on rewards flights.

Also, the Priority card features the following travel perks:

  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 25% back on inflight drinks and Wi-Fi (via statement credit)
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year when available
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase damage and theft protection

Drawbacks

  • Highest annual fee among Southwest cards
  • Fewer luxury perks than comparable airline cards

Who It's Good For

If you are a Southwest loyalist and want to access extra perks like upgraded boardings, in-flight discounts and a $75 annual Southwest travel credit, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority is the best choice among the three consumer cards.

Who It's Not Good For

If you don't fly Southwest often and don't want to pay a high annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority won't be worth its price tag.

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Apply Now

Secure application on issuer’s website

  • Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work
  • APR21.49% - 28.49% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$99
  • Sign Up Bonus 60,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $840 (60,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

This entry-level business card is a great choice for those looking for a low-annual-fee business card with competitive rewards. To help offset the $99 annual fee, you'll earn 3x points per dollar on Southwest purchases, get two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year and have access to 25% back on inflight purchases annually.

Overview

Southwest’s entry-level business card is a great option for business owners who want to maximize company spending to earn free Southwest flights. Like most business credit cards, there’s an annual fee to pay, but the signing bonus and travel and purchase perks provide enough value to negate the fee. The card offers employee cards at no additional cost and bonus points earned count towards earning a Southwest Companion Pass® and also towards earning A-List and A-List Preferred status.

Pros

  • Receive 6,000 bonus points every year
  • Reasonable $99 annual fee for a business card—with free employee cards
  • Earn towards a coveted Southwest Companion Pass®
  • Two annual EarlyBird Check-in passes for a better shot at selecting your preferred seat

Cons

  • Bonus spending categories may not be compelling for some business owners

Why We Chose It 

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business credit card is an entry-level introduction to rewards earning for small business owners. The card comes with a decent sign-up bonus and enough perks to more than justify its $99 annual fee. It also offers free cards for employees. 

Sign-Up Bonus

With the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business credit card, you’ll earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

You’ll also receive 6,000 points annually on your cardmember anniversary.

Rewards Rate

You’ll also earn Rapid Rewards points when you use your Premier Business card for purchases. Currently, cardmembers earn:

  • 3X points per dollar spent on all Southwest purchases
  • 2X points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2x points per dollar spent on local transit and commuting, including ride-sharing services
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Bonus points earned with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card count toward earning a Southwest Companion Pass® and also toward earning A-List and A-List Preferred status.

Annual Fee

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business credit card comes with a $99 annual fee, which is applied to the first billing statement. Keep in mind that business owners can receive cards for employees at no additional cost.

Foreign Transaction Fees

When you embark on business travel, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business credit card has your back. Use it for all of your international travel expenses since it doesn’t carry any foreign transaction fees.

Card Perks

The Premier Business card offers just enough travel-related perks to make it a viable option for business owners. Similar to other Southwest credit cards, you’ll enjoy no fees for first and second checked bags, no change fees and no blackout dates on rewards flights. The benefits that come with this business card include:

  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase damage and theft protection

Drawbacks

  • $99 annual fee
  • It doesn't earn bonus rates in some popular business spending categories

Who It's Good For

  • Business owners who want to earn airline rewards
  • Individuals who travel occasionally for business

Who It's Not Good For

  • Business owners who spend considerable money on office supplies and other spending categories not featured with the card
  • Luxury business travelers 

Best Southwest Card for Small Business Owners

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

Apply Now

Secure application on issuer’s website

  • Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work
  • APR21.49% - 28.49% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$199
  • Sign Up Bonus 80,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Dollar Equivalent: $1,120 (80,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

As Southwest's top business card, small business owners who travel Southwest frequently or have employees who travel will benefit the most from the card's premium perks. From in-flight Wi-Fi credits to elite status boost opportunities, the perks far outweigh the high annual fee.

Overview

It’s perfect for small business owners who have employees who travel. This Southwest business card offers employee cards at no additional cost and provides perks like inflight WiFi credits, a TSA PreCheck fee credit and complimentary upgraded boardings. The business airline credit card also offers the most generous point rewards structure of any of the Southwest cards: 4x points per dollar spent with Southwest.

Pros

  • 4x points on Southwest Airlines flights, Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • An array of exclusive Southwest benefits including free Wi-Fi passes and more
  • Shortcut to A-List elite status
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee reimbursement

Cons

  • Higher annual fee may not be a fit for all

Why We Chose It 

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business credit card carries the highest annual fee among Southwest cards, at $199, but it also offers perks not included with the other cards. Business owners will love added benefits like inflight Wi-Fi credits, upgraded boardings and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit. It also offers the highest rewards rates of any Southwest credit card.

Sign-Up Bonus

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card features an 80,000-point sign-up bonus for new cardholders who spend $5,000 with their new cards during the first three months of account opening.

You’ll also receive 9,000 points annually on your cardmember anniversary.

Rewards Rate

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business credit card comes with elevated earning in three categories:

  • 4X points per dollar spent on all Southwest purchases
  • 3X points per dollar spent with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2X points per dollar spent on local commuting and transit, including ride shares
  • 2X points per dollar spent on social media and search engine advertising, and internet, cable and phone services
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Bonus points earned with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business credit card count toward earning a Southwest Companion Pass® and also toward earning A-List and A-List Preferred status.

Annual Fee

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business credit card features the highest annual fee of any Southwest credit card. The card comes with a $199 annual fee, which is applied to your first billing statement. Note that business owners have access to free cards for employees, which also earn Southwest points.

Foreign Transaction Fees

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business credit card doesn’t carry any foreign transaction fees. If you frequently travel outside of the U.S. for business, you don’t have to worry about extra charges on your purchases if you use the Performance Business card.

Card Perks

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business credit card comes loaded with travel-related perks business owners will love. Like other Southwest credit cards, you’ll enjoy no fees for first and second checked bags, no change fees and no blackout dates on rewards flights. In addition, it comes with these business and travel-related perks:

  • Up to 365 inflight Wi-Fi credits annually
  • Four upgraded boarding passes annually (when available)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit up to $100 every four years
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase damage and theft protection

Drawbacks

  • $199 annual fee
  • No airport lounge access

Who It's Good For

  • Businesses with employees who travel
  • Frequent business travelers

Who It's Not Good For

  • Luxury business travelers
  • Business startups trying to save money by avoiding annual fees

Redeeming Southwest Points

Southwest points are redeemed through Rapid Rewards, Southwest Airlines’ loyalty program. The best value for your points is booking Southwest flights. Southwest travels to destinations across the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Note that rewards flights are subject to taxes and fees from $5.60 per one-way flight. The number of points required for rewards flights varies based on the destination, time and day of travel and other factors.

Southwest flights may be the best use of your Rapid Rewards points, but you can choose other redemption options:

  • Merchandise
  • International flights operated by other airlines
  • Hotel stays
  • Gift cards
  • Rental cars
  • Donate your Southwest points to various charities

Another reason to love the Rapid Rewards program is that your Southwest points never expire. The only way to lose your points is if you close your Rapid Rewards account.

What Is the Southwest Companion Pass®?

The Companion Pass® allows holders to bring a companion with them on any Southwest flight and only pay taxes and fees on the plus-one ticket, which start at $5.60 one way. In other words, if you book a roundtrip ticket for $350, you can add your companion to your reservation and pay only $11.20 for them to join you.

  • How to qualify: To qualify, you need to earn 135,000 qualifying points or take 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year.
  • Using your pass: After you've earned the Companion Pass®, you'll be able to use it through the next calendar year, which means people who earn it quickly will reap the most value.
  • Changing companions: You can change your companion up to three times in a calendar year, so if you don’t regularly travel with any one person, you’ll have some flexibility.

Depending on how often you fly, having the Companion Pass® could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on flights with your chosen travel buddy. Even if you only fly once, the savings can be worth it. Also, note that the pass is good whether you book a flight with cash or Rapid Rewards points.

What Slickdealers Are Saying

“I’ve had the Southwest Companion Pass twice and I think it’s the best deal around when it comes to saving money on flights (unless you mostly travel outside of North America). Last year, my wife and I flew together three times and only paid for one ticket each time. We went to Hawaii, Washington D.C. and Santa Barbara (and we’re trying to sneak in one more quick trip before it expires).

“The value for the free tickets we got through the Companion Pass equated to about $1,000 for those three trips. Considering we got the pass through a credit card sign-up bonus, we didn’t really have to change our spending habits to get it. So all I really paid to get it was the $69 annual fee, which is a slick deal in my book.”

Johan Mengesha Vice President, Content

Bottom Line: Which Card Should You Get?

Regardless of which Southwest card you chose, you'll enjoy standard Southwest benefits like first and second checked bags free and no change fees or blackout dates on rewards flights. Other perks vary between cards as the annual fee increases, from basic travel protections to elite perks like a Global Entry and TSA PreCheck fee credit and annual travel credits. 

The best Southwest card depends on your needs, your spending habits and how much you want to pay each year for card access. Here's a quick recap on the current suite of Southwest credit cards: 

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Card: Best for a lower annual fee since it features the lowest annual fee among Southwest cards.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Card: Best for occasional Southwest flyers because of its mix of benefits and mid-level annual fee.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Card: Best for frequent Southwest flyers, as it offers more benefits and the highest rewards rates of all Southwest consumer cards.
  • Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card: Best business card for a low annual fee, perfect for businesses just starting and those who want to earn rewards without costly fees. 
  • Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Card: Best for small business owners because of its elevated rewards rates and a long list of benefits.

Compare Southwest Consumer Credit Cards

Credit Card Annual Fee Intro Bonus Perks Learn More

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

$69 50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
$99 50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

$149 50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 25% back on inflight drinks & Wi-Fi
  • 4 upgraded boardings when available

Compare Southwest Business Credit Cards

Credit Card Annual Fee Intro Bonus Perks Learn More

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

$99 60,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $840 (60,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

  • 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins annually
  • 25% back on inflight purchases

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

$199 80,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Dollar Equivalent: $1,120 (80,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

  • Up to 365 inflight Wi-Fi credits annually
  • 4 upgraded boarding passes annually when available
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit up to $100 every 4 years

Southwest Card FAQs

  • Generally, Southwest cards require a “good” credit score for approval. Additionally, those who have applied for more than five credit lines in the previous 24 months will be denied regardless of credit score, due to Chase’s unofficial 5/24 rule. However, if you have a strong credit profile and have not had too many hard inquiries on your credit report in the past two years, you should qualify for a Southwest card.

  • No, Southwest Rapid Rewards points do not expire, even for accounts that have been inactive for several years or more. Still, according to Southwest, members who close their Rapid Rewards accounts will lose their points. But as long as you keep your account open, your Southwest points never expire.

  • No, Southwest Rapid Rewards points cannot be redeemed for either cash or a statement credit. However, Rapid Rewards members can redeem Southwest points for flights, rental cars, merchandise, and gift cards through their online accounts. Similarly, Rapid Rewards members who carry a Southwest credit card have access to the same redemption options, but can also redeem their points for special events and other exclusive offers.

  • You’ll need between 3,000 to 40,000 points for a free one-way economy Southwest flight, called “Wanna Get Away.” You’ll need even more points to fly “Business Select” or “Anytime” flights for free. Still, the exact number of points needed for a free Southwest flight depends on the actual fare, which is determined by the destination, time of day, date of travel, demand, and other factors. Keep in mind that you’ll still need to pay taxes and fees, even for a free Southwest flight. Currently, Southwest charges $5.60 per one-way trip.

  • Yes. Southwest Rapid Rewards is one of 14 travel loyalty rewards partners of Chase. Points transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 value.

  • Southwest points are redeemable online or through the airline's mobile app by logging into your Southwest Rapid Rewards account. You can redeem points for Southwest flights, hotel stays, experiences, exclusive Southwest events, gift cards and merchandise. Point values vary between redemption options. Award flights are subject to taxes and fees from $5.60 per one-way flight.

  • You must meet the card issuer's credit and other requirements to qualify for a Southwest credit card. Chase doesn't disclose its credit requirements publicly, but most travel rewards credit cards require good to excellent credit to qualify, which is a FICO® Score of 670 or higher. Because Chase issues Southwest credit cards, you'll also need to pay attention to Chase's unwritten 5/24 rule.

BL

Ben Luthi

Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer and credit card expert. He has a degree in finance from Brigham Young University and worked in financial planning, banking and auto finance before writing full-time for NerdWallet and Student Loan Hero. Ben is now a full-time freelance writer and enjoys traveling and spending time with his two kids. His work has appeared in several publications, including U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Money, Success and Slickdeals.