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Best Southwest Credit Cards of January 2024

The best Southwest Airlines credit cards include the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus cards. 

by Kowsalya

Updated Jan 04, 2024

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Best Southwest Credit Cards of January 2024

Best Southwest Credit Cards of January 2024

The Best Southwest Credit Cards of January 2024 offer tailored benefits for Southwest Airlines enthusiasts, including accelerated point earnings, welcome bonuses, and perks such as annual travel credits and upgraded boardings. Whether prioritizing benefits, occasional international travel, or a lower annual fee, these cards cater to diverse preferences within the Southwest Rapid Rewards program.

Card Name Annual Fee Rewards on Southwest Purchases
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority $149 3x points per $1 spent
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier $99 3x points per $1 spent
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus $69 2x points per $1 spent

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Tailored for those seeking benefits, this card boasts a welcome bonus of 50,000 points, a $149 annual fee, and up to 3X points on Southwest purchases. Notable perks include a $75 Southwest annual travel credit, 7,500 bonus points each year, and four complimentary upgraded boardings, making it an enticing choice for frequent Southwest flyers.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Catering to occasional international Southwest travelers, this card features a $99 annual fee, a welcome bonus of 50,000 points, and a reward rate of up to 3X points on Southwest purchases. With benefits like 6,000 bonus points annually, two Early Bird check-ins per year, and no foreign transaction fees, it strikes a balance for those seeking value and flexibility.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

For those prioritizing a low annual fee, this card with a $69 annual fee provides a welcome bonus of 50,000 points and a reward rate of up to 2X points on Southwest purchases. With perks including 3,000-anniversary bonus points and two Early Bird check-ins annually, it offers a cost-effective entry point into the Southwest Rapid Rewards program, albeit with foreign transaction fees.

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How to Pick a Credit Card for Southwest Airlines?

When selecting a credit card tailored for Southwest Airlines, consider these key factors to ensure it aligns with your travel preferences:

Benefits vs. Annual Fee

Assess the card's benefits against the annual fee. Southwest cards offer perks like free checked bags, upgraded boarding, and travel credits. Ensure the benefits justify the annual cost, making it a sound investment for your travel habits.

Travel Patterns

Evaluate your travel patterns. If you frequently fly Southwest, a co-branded card may be beneficial, offering accelerated points on Southwest purchases and unique perks. However, if your travels are diverse, a flexible rewards card might offer more versatility.

Companion Pass Aspiration

For those aiming for the coveted Southwest Companion Pass, which allows a companion to fly for just taxes and fees, focus on earning the required Rapid Rewards points. A Southwest credit card's welcome bonus can contribute significantly to this goal.

Redemption Options

Consider the ease of redeeming points. Southwest's Rapid Rewards program is known for simplicity, with points directly linked to flight costs. Ensure the redemption process aligns with your preferences and offers good value.

Foreign Transaction Fees

If international travel is on your agenda, note whether the card imposes foreign transaction fees. Some Southwest cards have fees, so if you travel abroad frequently, you might prefer a card with no such charges.

Credit Score Requirements

Southwest credit cards typically require a good to excellent credit score. Ensure your credit score meets the criteria to enhance your chances of approval.

Additional Card Options

Explore alternative credit cards that earn flexible rewards like Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred to Southwest. This provides more flexibility in using rewards across various airlines.

Pre-Approval Consideration

Before applying, check for pre-approval offers. This step helps you gauge which cards you qualify for without affecting your credit score significantly.

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How to Get Approved for Southwest Credit Cards?

To get approved for Southwest credit cards, applicants typically need a good to excellent credit score, generally defined as a range between 670 to 799 on the FICO scale. Before applying, individuals should assess their credit score, considering factors such as payment history, existing debt, and recently opened accounts.

It's advisable to apply for a preapproval offer before submitting a formal application to gauge qualification and terms. While a higher credit score and income increase the likelihood of approval, meeting these criteria doesn't guarantee acceptance. Additionally, applicants should evaluate if the benefits provided by the Southwest card, such as annual travel credits and in-flight perks, align with their travel habits and if the rewards earned will offset the annual fees.

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What is the Lowest Credit Card on Southwest?

The lowest annual fee Southwest credit card is the "Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card." It comes with an annual fee of $69. This card is a reasonable option if you want to earn Rapid Rewards points but don't need the full range of Southwest benefits long-term. It's a good choice to jump-start your Rapid Rewards account, particularly if you're not planning to travel abroad because this card does charge foreign transaction fees.

Are Southwest Credit Cards Worth It?

Southwest credit cards are worth considering for frequent Southwest Airlines travelers who can benefit from Rapid Rewards Points, Companion Pass opportunities, and the card's additional perks.

However, if you don't exclusively fly with Southwest or don't find the card's features valuable, you may want to explore alternative credit card options that offer more flexibility in earning and redeeming rewards. The decision largely depends on your travel habits, loyalty to Southwest, and whether the card's benefits outweigh the annual fees.

Best Southwest Credit Cards of January 2024 - FAQs

1. What sets Southwest Airlines credit cards apart from others?

Southwest's credit card offerings stand out due to their lack of baggage fee savings and absence of priority boarding guarantees, as well as the absence of lounge access benefits and a no-annual-fee option.

2. Which Southwest credit card is best for benefits?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is ideal for benefits, offering a $75 annual travel credit, foreign transaction fee waiver, upgraded boardings, and more.

3. What credit card company partners with Southwest Airlines?

Southwest Airlines collaborates with Chase, a major credit card company, to offer a range of tailored credit card options for its passengers.

4. Which Southwest credit card has the lowest annual fee?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has the lowest annual fee, making it a cost-effective option for earning rewards on Southwest flights.

5. Who should consider getting a Southwest credit card?

Frequent Southwest flyers who align with the airline's rewards and perks, such as enhanced boarding and in-flight perks, can benefit from Southwest credit cards.

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