Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card | Review – Free Flight and More

Do you fly with Southwest Airlines?  Would you like a free flight and many other benefits as well (like earning points towards flights, points you can use for international travel, and not paying for your bags to fly, and more)?

Of course you would!

See how the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card can work for you in this review.

Let’s take a look at what the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card offers:

Right off you should know that this card’s 25,000 bonus points is a great offer.  Here’s how it works:  After your first purchase you will earn 25,000 bonus points, which is over $400 in Wanna Get Away® Fares.  That’s good enough to redeem for a free roundtrip flights.  Wanna Get Away® points are redeemed at a rate of 60 points per $1 of fare.

You have to be a new customer to get these bonus points.  The points will only kick in after your first purchase, balance transfers, cash advances, and checks from the account don’t count to trigger the bonus.  It will take 6-8 weeks for you to see your bonus points in your account so don’t expect to make a purchase and redeem your points for tickets the next day.

Earning Points on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

One thing cool about the card is every year on your cardmember anniversary you get 3,000 points.  Keep using the card year after year and you keep getting the bonus points.  Nice.

You earn two (2) points for every dollar you spend directly with Southwest Airlines.  These purchases include flights, inflights purchases, Southwest Airlines Vacations packages, Southwest Airlines gift cards, and when you make purchases through Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners.  That’s a lot of opportunity to earn double points.

All other purchases earn one point per dollar spent.  You get to earn points on ALL your spending, not just Southwest-related spending.

If you make a balance transfer in the first 90 days of enrollment then you get 1 point per dollar transferred to your Rapid Rewards Plus card.  This offer is only for the first 90 days so keep that in mind if you have a balance on another card you are looking to transfer.  This is maxed out at 10,000 points or rather $10,000 in balance transfers. [Be aware there is a 3% balance transfer fee with a minimum fee of $5.  Make sure a balance transfer works for you and you aren’t just chasing after extra points.]

Oh, and the points won’t expire so long as you have some flight or other earning activity on your card every 24 months.

What Can Your Points Be Redeemed For?

Of course you can use your points for Southwest Airlines flights, but you can also use the points for international flights to over 800 locations on 50+ carriers.  This gives you some nice variety in redeeming your points.

And there are no blackout dates when picking your flight (some programs don’t let you use points/miles at certain times).

You can earn unlimited reward seats.  Keep earning points and you can keep earning flights.

But it’s not just flights.  You can also use your points to stay at over 70,000 hotels as well as redeem the points for car rentals from major brands.  (Which helps make this a pretty good travel rewards credit card too).

Need a gift?  Redeem your points for gift cards to places like Amazon, iTunes, The Home Depot, and more.

Also use your points for Southwest Airlines getaways to resorts, for cruises, and to theme parks.

Flying Benefits

This is primarily a kind of airline miles credit card, though their program is a points plan.  As you might expect from an airline card, you get benefits besides free flights.  If you need to change your flight there are no change fees (many airlines charge a fee to change your flight).  You will be responsible for any fare differences, of course.

Your first and second checked bags will fly free as well.  Years ago this wouldn’t be a benefit but these days many carriers are charging you for the first bag, no less a second bag.  Here your first two bags are free.  There are weight and size limitations so don’t go thinking you can ship your kitchen sink in your luggage.


If you know you fly with Southwest Airlines with any regularity (or the international carriers covered in the card program) then getting the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card can be a great way to maximize those flights you would be already purchasing.  Why not make those flights get you a little something extra?  And their Rapid Rewards points program gives you a lot more than just flights.  Plus you get your first 2 bags checked free.  That’s some nice benefits (oh yeah, and the point bonuses are a nice kicker as well!).

With any credit card, you have to know your spending habits and make sure you are responsible with your spending.  I always advise paying off your credit card in full every month.  If you carry a balance then many of the benefits you get with the card are cancelled out by the interest (and let’s face it, late fees for many people) that you will be paying.  Don’t get this card to chase after some bonus points.  Get the card because you are a responsible credit card user who will benefit from what the card offers.

*Always make sure you understand the terms of a credit card before you sign up.  Terms for this card may change after this publishing.

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Published or updated April 13, 2013.


  1. Love this card. Would totally get this if Southwest went to Memphis where my fiancee lives. SUCKS. Oh well, but great deal, nonetheless.

    • That’s a key consideration in getting the card – You have to know you will be using it for your flying. As nice as the benefits are, if you don’t fly Southwest then you can probably find a better card for your lifestyle.

      If you DO fly Southwest, then it can be an awesome card.

  2. michelle moravec says:

    I am SO lucky that Virgin Airlines is now flying out of PHL and that the United/USairways/Continental group can now beat prices, because Southwest has now lost my business for good. I signed up for their credit card right before the ridiculous rewards program conversion. In the process I never saw my “flight segment” old award system arrive. All I could ever find was reference to their damn “points” After CHASE the credit card company finally told me where to find the “flight segment” aka ‘old’ awards I did only to see that they expire in a month. I explained to southwest that I found their redesign quite confusing etc only to get an auto response that POLICY IS POLICY I am SO disappointed and always expected more for Southwest. Sad to see them acting like other airlines, which will now be getting a lot more of my business

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