Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Review

southwest rapid rewards premier credit card

Who doesn’t love a great getaway, especially when you can snag a great deal on flights? Southwest Airlines has a reputation for being one of the more affordable airlines on the market. Consequently, it wouldn’t be surprising if you find yourself booking with this airline often. If you are a frequent Southwest Airlines flier, then you may want to use one of the airline’s credit cards to help you hack your travel booking even more.

One card option worth considering is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. While you do have to pay a $99 annual fee to keep this credit card active, if you often fly Southwest Airlines, the rewards, and perks you earn can make that fee worth paying.

Quick Facts: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • Rewards rate: 3x points on Southwest Airlines purchases; 2x points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental purchases; 2x points on local transit, rideshare, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming; 1x points on everything else
  • Welcome offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $99

. . .

Overview of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

If you love to travel, you may find the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card can help you make the most of the money you spend booking trips. 

With this credit card, you can earn some major rewards when booking Southwest Airlines flights (3 points for every $1). Additionally, you can earn points on other travel essentials like hotel and rental car bookings (2 points for every $1). You also don’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees. Moreover, you’ll receive additional Southwest Airlines travel perks, like having access to two EarlyBird Check-In® each year and getting 25% back on inflight purchases.

As enticing as all of those cardholder benefits are, you do have to make sure of your typical travel schedule. Additionally, credit card usage will help you earn enough rewards to balance out the $99 annual fee.

Pros

  • Frequently runs Welcome Offers
  • Anniversary perk of 6,000 points
  • No reward caps

Cons

  • Annual fee of $99
  • Airline rewards limited to Southwest bookings
  • Redemption options are limiting

Learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

Welcome Offer

When you open a new credit card, there is often a very enticing welcome offer waiting for you. However, the tricky thing about welcome offers is they only come around once. So, you really shouldn’t account for this bonus when deciding if a credit card is right for you. However, if you find you can meet the spending requirements to earn the offer without having to make unnecessary purchases, welcome offers are a great way to earn extra points. 

Currently, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is offering new card holders 50,000 if they spend $1,000 on purchases with the card in the first three months from opening their account – this is the same offer on all Southwest’s card options. The $1,000 spending goal in three months can be pretty easy to hit depending on how you plan to use the card, making this a more lucrative welcome offer.

Earning Rewards

One major benefit of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is that you have unlimited potential to earn rewards. Unlike some credit cards that cap how many points you can earn in a calendar year, this credit card even gives you 6,000 bonus points each year on your cardmember anniversary, and you don’t have to spend a penny to get those points.

When it comes to earning rewards from purchases, you stand to earn the most when booking flights with Southwest Airlines. Specifically, you earn 3 points for every $1 spent. While for everyday purchases, you only earn 1 point per $1, those points can still add up over time. Additionally, you can earn 2 points for every $1 spent on:

  • Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners
  • Local transit and commuting
  • Rideshare bookings
  • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • Select streaming services

Redeeming Rewards

Once you earn some points, you need to make sure you redeem them; otherwise, you end up paying the annual fee for nothing. Consequently, you never want to let your credit card rewards go to waste.

When it comes to redeeming points for domestic flight bookings, you can only book flights through Southwest Airlines. Moreover, for non-travel redemption options, you can go with select gift cards, merchandise purchases, and event bookings through the More Rewards program. However, there is no option for redeeming your points for cash.

Do some digging into redemption options for any credit card you want to apply for. To ensure you can easily redeem your rewards points. Moreover, reward redemptions should not feel like a chore, and you shouldn’t settle for a card that doesn’t allow you to make the most of your spending.

Learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Benefits

Credit card reward points are all well and good, but you do have to spend money to earn them. Furthermore, if you find yourself on a budget, you will likely appreciate credit card rewards that don’t require you to make any purchases.

With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, you can enjoy these cardholder benefits:

  • Annual 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points boost
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year
  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • Unlimited tier qualifying points (TQPs)
  • Earn 1,500 TQPs toward A-List status for every $10,000 you spend

Who Should Get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card? 

The best way to earn rewards with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is by booking Southwest Airlines flights. Consequently, this credit card is a favorable choice for frequent travelers who are happy to commit to booking flights with this airline often. Nevertheless, even if you don’t book a trip with Southwest Airlines, you can still benefit from using this credit card to book hotels and rental cars.

Overall, you need to pay attention to how many points you think you can earn through regular usage of this card. Additionally, you should note any cardholder benefits that you will get a lot of use out of, like no foreign transaction fees when you make purchases in another country.

Who Shouldn’t Get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card? 

If you don’t travel regularly or simply like to have options when it comes to which airlines you fly with, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card won’t work in your favor. Moreover, remember, that you have a $99 annual fee you need to offset with rewards and perks.

Even if you like flying Southwest Airlines, your local airports may not have that many routes with this specific airline. Additionally, it can be difficult to predict how much you will travel in the coming years, and you will have to pay every year if you want to keep the credit card active.

Man with phone happy with rewards. Guide to Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Review.

Alternatives to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card 

Here’s how the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier and other cards compare:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

southwest rapid rewards priority credit card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the most expensive of all the credit cards in the Rapid Rewards® family. Therefore, you need to budget for its $149 fee and crunch the numbers on whether paying this fee makes sense. One way to get the cost of this credit card down is to take advantage of the $75 annual travel credit.

With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, you earn rewards at the same rate as the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Therefore, remembering to use this travel credit each year is what makes the difference here.

When it comes to disadvantages, both cards share the same main issue: inflexibility with redemption options. 

Learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card or read our full review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

southwest rapid rewards plus credit card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is the least expensive Rapid Rewards® card, with a $69 fee. If you fly Southwest Airlines often but not exclusively, this cheaper option may suit your needs better. You do earn fewer rewards points on Southwest Airlines bookings (just 2 points per $1) but you’re still eligible for the same welcome bonus.

One major downside of saving on the annual fee is you have to pay foreign transaction fees. However, if you don’t travel internationally often or have another credit card that waives these fees, this may not be a concern for you.

Learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card or read our full review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

chase sapphire preferred

For flexibility, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can redeem points with Southwest and other airlines. Moreover, enjoy 3 points on dining, a perk lacking in the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, which offers 1 point per $1 on everyday spending and 3 points per $1 on Southwest Airlines bookings. If dining expenses exceed annual spending on this airline, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may prove more rewarding.

Both cards have similar annual fees ($95 for Chase Sapphire Preferred®, $99 for Southwest Premier); focus on potential earnings.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or read our full review.

Final Thoughts

If you're a fan of Southwest, then the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card may be a card you want to add to your wallet. You can earn big rewards on Southwest Airlines purchases, as well as Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental purchases, plus perks like two EarlyBird Check-In® each year, 25% back on inflight purchases, and anniversary bonus points.

You'll need to figure out how much you plan to fly with Southwest to ensure you're making up for the annual fee. Also, if you have limited Southwest routes flying out of your nearest airport or you want more flexibility with your airline choices, you may want to consider an all-purpose travel card instead.


Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

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Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.