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You Could Earn 3 Round-Trip Flights With a Southwest Rapid Rewards Card This Summer

These cards could help you cover travel expenses, but you have to act fast.

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If you’re hoping to travel more this year, one of the Southwest Rapid Rewards cards could be just the ticket -- or rather tickets. 

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus, Premier and Priority Consumer Credit Cards from Chase are offering 85,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening through June 26, 2024. According to Chase, this bonus is potentially worth three round trips in the US.

Here’s what you need to know before you apply.

Which is the best Rapid Rewards card?

CNET’S PICK
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

6.6/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Earn 85,000 points Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Annual fee
$149
APR
21.49% – 28.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1x – 3x Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.; Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.; Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.; Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.; Earn 1X points on all other purchases.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

6.3/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Earn 85,000 points Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Annual fee
$99
APR
21.49% – 28.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1x – 3x Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.; Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.; Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.; Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.; Earn 1X points on all other purchases.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Learn More

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

6/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Earn 85,000 points Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Annual fee
$69
APR
21.49% – 28.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1x – 2x Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.; Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.; Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.; Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.; Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

There are three Southwest Rapid Rewards cards that can help you earn the new bonus: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. Each carries an annual fee -- $69, $99 and $149 respectively. 

Despite charging the highest annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card will likely provide the greatest value.

It offers up to $75 in Southwest travel credits each year, 25% back on inflight purchases, 7,500 bonus points on each card anniversary and four upgraded boardings per year when available -- the most out of any of the three Southwest cards.

However, if you’re simply looking for a card that lets you earn the welcome offer and has the lowest annual fee card, the Southwest Plus card could be worth it. Though, compared with other options, it doesn’t offer much beyond its current welcome offer.

How to earn a welcome bonus

Earning a welcome offer with a credit card is pretty straightforward -- the purchases you make with the card go toward the welcome bonus’ threshold. After you reach that amount, the welcome bonus should be added to your account.

For example, when I earned the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s welcome bonus, it was added to my account the following statement period.

However, keep in mind any overspending you do outside of your planned budget will impact the value you get from the bonus. 

If you charge $3,000 to your card and can’t pay it off right away, that balance will accrue interest according to the card’s annual percentage rate. The interest charges you’ll pay could wipe out the value of your rewards.

It’s best to either account for the spending you’ll need to do ahead of time or try to reach the threshold with your typical spending habits.

A good way to earn a welcome bonus (and the way I earned mine) is to put all of the spending for a planned trip onto the card. Dining, lodging and experiences can go a long way toward earning a card’s welcome offer.

The bottom line

These welcome bonuses could make it worth applying for a new card. However, you should first make sure you can safely spend $3,000 in three months, so at least $1,000 in spending monthly.

 

It’s a good plan to either have that money already set aside so you can pay off your purchases right away or to work $1,000 into your monthly budget.

 

Each card also carries an annual fee, so you’ll want to account for the fee in your annual spending or ensure that you can get enough value from the card to cover the cost.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Evan Zimmer has been writing about finance for years. After graduating with a journalism degree from SUNY Oswego, he wrote credit card content for Credit Card Insider (now Money Tips) before moving to ZDNET Finance to cover credit card, banking and blockchain news. He currently works with CNET Money to bring readers the most accurate and up-to-date financial information. Otherwise, you can find him reading, rock climbing, snowboarding and enjoying the outdoors.
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