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Southwest Visa Credit Card: Up to 60,000 Rapid Rewards Points Offer

The post Southwest Visa Credit Card: Up to 60,000 Rapid Rewards Points Offer appeared first on Club Thrifty.

If you love traveling throughout the U.S. and Caribbean, a Southwest Visa card might be for you. Offering easy to earn points that translate into free and reduced airfare, these are some of my favorite airline cards around.

Southwest has long been known for low fares and great service. By adding destinations throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hawaii (in late 2018 or early 2019), it’s become an even better option for those wanting to travel slightly closer to home.

There’s a lot to love for rewards card enthusiasts, as well. In addition to making your flights even cheaper, a Southwest Visa provides a ton of benefits to help you travel in style. And, since there are plenty of personal and business cards to choose from, you’re sure to find a card that fits your needs.

Let’s check them out!

Southwest Visa Credit Card Options

The Southwest Visa Card actually comes in several different options, including:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card

Obviously, if you don’t own a business of some type, the Southwest Visa business cards are out. But, how do you decide between the other two options? Let’s compare them and help you decide.

Compare the best airline cards here

Personal Card Comparison

Let’s start by comparing the highlights of the two personal cards. Here they are:

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card Highlights

  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus CardSignup Bonus: You’ll earn 40,000 bonus points when you open a new account and spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. In many cases, these points are almost enough for 2 round-trip tickets to the Caribbean, although it depends on your dates and airports.
  • Anniversary Bonus: You’ll earn an additional 3,000 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary each year.
  • Earn Points for Spending: You earn 2 points per dollar spent at Southwest or with select hotel and car rental partners. All other spending is 1:1.
  • No Blackout Dates: Unlike some airline rewards programs, you’ll never have to worry about blackout dates at Southwest.
  • Fare-based Pricing: You can even use your points to book flights that are on sale! With Southwest, cheaper fares means fewer points.
  • Free Checked Bags: Adding checked bags to your flights can really add up. Southwest allows you to check your first two bags for free.
  • No Expiration: Your points don’t expire for as long as you keep your account open.
  • Annual Fee: $69

That’s a ton of value packed into one card. It is simply one of the best airline cards on the market.

Compare this card with other airline cards

So, let’s take a look at the other personal card. You’ll definitely notice some similarities.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card Highlights

southwest airlines rapid rewards premier card

  • Signup Bonus: Like the Plus Card, you earn 40,000 bonus points for opening a new account and spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Anniversary Bonus: The anniversary bonus is higher with the Premier Card, totaling 6,000 point bonus on your cardmember anniversary.
  • Earn Points for Spending: Again, you’ll earn the same 2X points for every dollar spent with either Southwest or select hotel/car rental partners. Get 1X points on everything else.
  • No Blackout Dates: As with all Southwest Visa cards, there are no blackout dates.
  • Fare-based Pricing: Using points to book flights is based on the fare rates.
  • Free Checked Bags: Like the Plus card, the first two bags you check are free.
  • No Expiration: Keep your account open and your points never expire.
  • Annual Fee: $99

Obviously, there is a lot to like about this card too. And, compared to other airline cards, we think the points offer a ton of value.

Compare this card with other airline cards here

Need a side by side comparison? Here’s a table to help you visualize it all.

  Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
Signup Bonus 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in first 3 months 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in first 3 months
Anniversary Bonus 3,000 points each year 3,000 points each year
Foreign Transaction Fees Yes – 3% None
Annual Fee $69 $99

Which Southwest Visa is Best?

As you can see, the Southwest Visa personal cards come with nearly identical benefits. Both the Rapid Rewards Plus Card and the Rapid Rewards Premier Card currently offer a 40,000 point sign up bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. You’ll also get your first 2 bags checked free with either card, don’t have to worry about blackout dates, and your points don’t expire as long as your account stays active.

The biggest difference comes in the form of the annual fee. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card charges a $99 annual fee while the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card has an annual fee of just $69. Since neither fee is waived for the first year, the Plus gets a slight nod here.

With that said, the Premier Card does come with an annual anniversary bonus of 6,000 points as opposed to the 3,000 point bonus offered by the Plus Card. That essentially makes up for the $30 difference.

So, which card is best? If you’re worried about the fee and have never had either card, the Plus Card makes the most sense. However, you really can’t go wrong either way.

One final note here: In the past, you were able to earn a signup bonus for both cards in the same year, helping you to earn points toward one of my favorite perks, the Southwest Companion Pass. Unfortunately, as of 2018, that is no longer the case. On personal cards, you may not earn a signup bonus if you’ve earned one in the previous 24 months. This is a big change, and it makes the Companion Pass significantly harder to get.

With that said, if you are a business owner, you may still earn a welcome bonus from both a personal and a business card. More info on the business version can be found below.

Compare the best airline cards here

Where These Cards Shine

Want to know more? Of course you do!

As we mentioned, right now, both personal versions of the Southwest Visa Card offer a 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. In some cases, that’s good for 2 round-trip flights to the Caribbean, if you’re flexible.

As much as I love a good signup bonus, I also love that redeeming my Rapid Rewards Points is based entirely on the actual airfare price. Southwest flights are often the cheapest available, but they also run some ridiculous deals throughout the year. I’m talking about domestic round-trip tickets for less than $100! And, since the point redemption is fare-based, your points stretch even further during these sales. Plus, there are no blackout dates or rewards caps. That means I can use my points on any flight with available seating…and I can still check 2 bags for free!

Oh yeah, have I mentioned that Southwest now flies to 14 destinations throughout Mexico and the Caribbean? It’s true! You can now use your points to book free flights for your entire family to places like Jamaica, Costa Rica, Belize, and Aruba. That’s pretty sweet, especially if you’re a beach bum like me. Southwest will also begin their long anticipated service to Hawaii late in 2018 or early 2019.

A Quick Note on the Southwest Visa Card for Business

We’ve mentioned the business version of the Southwest Visa Card a few times. Keep in mind that the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card offers many of the same benefits as its personal card counterparts. Rather than run through all the benefits of Southwest points again, here’s a quick overview of its unique features.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card Highlights

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business CardSignup Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points for opening a new account and spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Anniversary Bonus: Earn a 6,000 point bonus on your cardmember anniversary.
  • Earn Points for Spending: Again, you’ll earn the same 2X points for every dollar spent with either Southwest or select hotel/car rental partners. Get 1X points on everything else.
  • Employee Cards: Employee cards can be added with no additional fees. You’ll also earn points on all their spending.
  • Annual Fee: $99

Besides the fact that this is a business card, the biggest difference here is the signup bonus. While the bonus is higher, so is the minimum spending requirement. Still, if you’re looking specifically for an airline card, you can’t go wrong with this card for your business.

Compare this card with other business cards here

Getting the Most From Your Southwest Visa

If you want to get the most from your Southwest Visa Card, be sure to use it whenever you book travel through Southwest or their participating hotel and rental car partners. You’ll earn 2X points on every dollar spent, which really adds up if you’re a frequent traveler. Also, use your points to book flights when they’re on sale. Because redeeming your points is based on the actual fare price, you can really stretch those points further. Check out our “Beginner’s Guide to Credit Card Rewards” for more tips.

Paring your card with a premium rewards card can make a great match too!

Chase Sapphire Preferred CardWith the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card you’ll earn a 50,000 point signup bonus, but you’ll have to spend $4,000 in 3 months to do it. Your Chase rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio to the Rapid Rewards loyalty program. If you decide not to transfer them to Southwest, you can transfer them to other loyalty programs through travel partners like Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, and United Airlines. They are also worth $500 in gift cards at places like Kohl’s, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and more; or, you can redeem them for $625 in travel when booked through the Chase portal. There is a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year.

This is almost always the first rewards card we recommend. The points are flexible, valuable, and our favorite type to earn.

Compare this card to others | Read the review

What You May Not Like

Although the Southwest Visa cards are some of our favorite airline cards, there are some things you need to watch out for.

  • Annual Fees: Each version of the card has an annual fee ($69/$99 personal, $99 Premier Business) which is not waived. Of course, the signup bonus more than makes up for it the first year. But, if you don’t travel much or don’t use the points, the fee may not be worth it to you.
  • No Flights to Europe or Asia: Although Southwest now travels all around the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, it does not offer any flights to popular international destinations in Europe or Asia. If you’re wanting to book travel there, you should look at other cards.
  • Points Don’t Transfer: Whenever we travel domestically or to the Caribbean with our whole family, Southwest is usually a great option. However, if you don’t like Southwest or don’t live near a Southwest hub, this may not be the card for you. Consider other travel rewards cards instead.
  • No Double Dip for Companion Pass  – As we mentioned earlier, unfortunately, Southwest updated it signup bonus policy concerning their two consumer credit cards. You may no longer earn a signup bonus on a second Southwest consumer card if you’ve earned a new member card bonus within the previous 24 months. While earning points on the card still counts toward the pass, it makes earning the Companion Pass significantly harder.

Alternatives to the Southwest Visa Card

Most of the major airlines now have their own co-branded credit cards that allow you to earn points and save on flights. However, with co-branded cards, you’ll only be able to use the points you earn with that particular brand of airline. That’s not always a problem, but it could be.

Capital One Venture Rewards CardFor a more flexible option, consider the Capital One Venture Rewards Card. This card offers a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. This translates into a statement credit of $500 toward travel expenses. You can also earn an enormous 10 miles per dollar spent when you book stays at participating hotels through their portal. There is a $95 annual fee, but it is waived for the first year.

These are some of the most flexible points and miles you’ll find. You can use the to book airline tickets, excursions, and other travel experiences when you pay with your card.

Learn more here

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for cheap flights throughout the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico, Southwest is a great place to start. One of these cards can make it even cheaper.

With a Southwest Visa Card, points are easy to earn and the benefits are super solid. Since points are tied to airfare prices, you can use the points you earn to save even more during sales. And, you’ll definitely want to pair it with another card to earn even more points.

If you do all that, you’ll save big bucks when flying with Southwest!

Compare this card with other airline cards here

The post Southwest Visa Credit Card: Up to 60,000 Rapid Rewards Points Offer appeared first on Club Thrifty.

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