Live: Amazon Event Wednesday Probe Crashes Into Asteroid Prime Day 2: Oct. 11-12 Tesla AI Day Hurricane Ian Satellite Images Save on iPad Pro Refurbs Apple Watch Ultra Review EarthLink Internet Review
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you
Accept
Why You Can Trust CNET Advertiser Disclosure
CNET Money's mission is to help you maximize your financial potential. Our recommendations are based on our editors' independent research and analysis, and we continuously update our content to reflect current partner offers. How we rate credit cards

Best Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Cards for September 2022

Southwest offers a number of credit cards for business owners and general travelers alike.

If you find yourself touring the skies often -- whether it be for business or pleasure -- you likely have a preferred airline. Oftentimes, airlines partner with credit card issuers to release a co-branded credit card that provides rewards and benefits centered around that specific airline. Southwest, partnered with Chase, offers a number of credit cards for business owners and travelers alike to choose from.

If you fly Southwest often, you'll likely find a credit card to improve your travels through rewards, in-flight discounts, travel protections and more.

Best Southwest credit card

7.25/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferNew Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
APR18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
Annual Fee$149
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.

Our Take

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card offers frequent Southwest flyers useful perks and rewards for several aspects of travel. For a $149 annual fee, cardholders get 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. It also comes equipped with a number of travel protections to guard against unfortunate circumstances like lost luggage or car trouble.

Cardholders also get expedited access to Southwest's A-List program by earning 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent with the card. A-List status offers even more perks including priority boarding and earn 25% extra bonus points on qualifying flight bookings.

In addition to its Southwest-centric perks, the card offers rewards for purchases including rideshares, tolls and taxis, plus with Southwest's hotel and rental car partners. Partners include Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt, Hertz and Alamo. That makes it a bit more versatile than other airline credit cards. If the annual fee puts you off, remember you get up to $75 in statement credits for Southwest purchases each year, which effectively drops the annual fee to $74. Which, depending on how often you fly, is a good price for all the card has to offer.

The lowest annual fee Rapid Rewards card

6.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferNew Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
APR18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$69
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Our Take

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is the least expensive offering in the Rapid Rewards family. As such, it offers the lowest rewards and fewest perks. All in all, it doesn't offer much in return for its $69 annual fee. You'd be better off going with the Rapid Rewards Premier Card if you frequently fly Southwest.

In exchange for its annual fee, cardholders get a 25% back on inflight purchases, two EarlyBird check-in passes each year and 3,000 points annually on your card anniversary. Other than that, there really isn't too much going on. The rewards are relatively weak considering its annual fee, but it does offer a nice selection of travel protections to help avoid any unfortunate circumstances.

A middling offering

7.25/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferNew Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
APR18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
Annual Fee$99
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.

Our Take

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card has a relatively high annual fee for what it offers. It shares a lot with its upgraded version, the Rapid Rewards Priority Card, but nothing that really makes it worth choosing over the Priority card, despite having a lower annual fee.

For $99 annually, cardholders get 25% back on inflight purchases, 6,000 anniversary points every year and an expedited path toward A-list status by earning 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent. A-list status provides Southwest aficionados with priority boarding, 25% bonus to points and a dedicated phone line.

The card's rewards are its strongest feature, offering a solid return on not only Southwest spending, but also a wide variety of travel spending including taxis, tolls, buses and more. However, there is no travel credit to help lessen the blow of the annual fee like the upgraded version offers. So while the upgraded version has a higher annual fee, it'll actually provide the greater value for your money considering its stronger perks

Rewards and travel protections for business owners

6.75/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
APR18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent Credit
Reward Rates
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners.
  • Earn 2X points on rideshare.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$99
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners.
  • Earn 2X points on rideshare.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Our Take

The business version of the Rapid Rewards Premier Card, it offers the same rewards but slightly different perks. Business owners can issue employee cards at no additional cost. 

The card doesn't offer rewards for any specific business expenses, but it does provide a return for a number of travel-related purchases like local transit. 

There aren't many business-centric perks aside from the employee card offer, so if you were looking for anything other than a card that rewards you for flying Southwest, perhaps consider a general business credit card instead.

The stronger Rapid Rewards business card

5.75/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
APR18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 4X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners.
  • Earn 2X points on rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services.
  • 1X points on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$199
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 4X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners.
  • Earn 2X points on rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services.
  • 1X points on all other purchases.

Our Take

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers the most to traveling business owners. For $199 annually, you can fly more comfortably and get through TSA faster.

The relatively high annual fee equates to stronger perks and better rewards when compared to the other business card in the Rapid Rewards family. With the Performance Business, cardholders get an application fee credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS, all aimed at getting you through airport security lines faster. It also includes four upgraded boardings per year when available, as well as a 9,000 point bonus every card anniversary.

How do Southwest's co-branded credit cards compare with other airlines?

Despite Southwest offering a wide variety of cards for business owners and travelers to choose from, very few present a compelling suite of perks. But that does make sense considering most of the Southwest cards feature relatively low annual fees. Other airlines present a more attractive offer, including Delta, American Airlines or United.

For example, one of the best United airlines credit cards, the United℠ Explorer Card has an annual fee of $95 ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year) but in return offers a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, two annual one-time passes to United's airport lounge, priority boarding, plus additional amenities like dining credits and late check out at over 1,000 properties in the Luxury Hotel & Resorts Collection.

Meanwhile, for a $99 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year) the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers a $100 Delta credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year, priority boarding, first checked bag free of charge and a welcome offer of 40,000 miles for spending $1,000 in the first three months with the card.

Cardholders get much more in return for the two card's annual fee when compared to most of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Cards. However, if you prefer flying with Southwest, perhaps for its lack of checked baggage fees, the Rapid Rewards Priority Card is still a good choice. And don't forget to check out the best American Airlines credit cards for more examples.

FAQs

What's the best Southwest credit card?

The best Southwest credit card is the Rapid Rewards Priority Card. It offers the best value for the cost. It has a $149 annual fee, but it comes with a yearly Southwest statement credit, 7,500 anniversary points each year, four upgraded boardings annually and a wide selection of travel protections. It also provides the highest rewards rate for Southwest purchases.

What's the difference between an airline credit card and a general travel credit card?

Airline credit cards have special perks and rewards designed around the specific airline it's connected to. For example, Southwest credit cards earn better rewards rates for Southwest flight purchases and provide an inflight discount for drinks and food. United credit cards include amenities and rewards for United flights.

General travel credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, provide rewards for travel and perks that benefit travelers who fly with a variety of airlines or stay with numerous hotel brands.

What do travel cards give you for a higher annual fee?

A higher annual fee on a travel credit card typically translates to higher rewards and better travel perks. The better travel perks might include annual travel credits, airport lounge access or an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, which can help you breeze through airport security lines.

Can you use one airline credit card to pay for airfare with a different airline?

You can, but you won't have access to any of the airline-specific perks the credit card offers, and you'll miss out on rewards. Instead of earning a higher rate for purchases with the card's own airline, you'll instead earn 1 point or mile per dollar for the purchase in most cases.

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.