The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is one of the most popular airline credit cards thanks to its easy-to-earn sign-up bonus and free checked bags. With points that never expire and lots of opportunities to earn more through spending and referrals, this card delivers excellent ongoing value, too.
Whether you’re considering applying for the card or already carry it in your wallet, use the advice in this post to maximize its many benefits.
Overview on Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card
Southwest Airlines stands out from other U.S. airlines in a few key ways. They allow passengers to check 2 bags for free and they don’t charge change fees if you need to modify flight dates or times. Southwest also has an extensive route network across North, Central, and South America.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program has a simple earning structure where miles credit toward redeeming award seats with no blackout dates. The program also has unique features like sharing points with designated companions so they can travel for free with you.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card helps members earn points quickly through everyday spending. You also get benefits like up to $100 in Southwest flight credits each year along with four upgraded boardings and 20% back on in-flight drinks purchases. There are also some valuable travel and purchase protections included.
Let’s take a closer look at how this card works and how savvy flyers maximize its value.
You Can Earn 60,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card starts rewarding you from Day 1 with a generous sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spend requirements:
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
With Southwest points valued at approximately 1.4 cents each based on redemption options, this bonus is worth $840 in Southwest travel. You can use the points to book flights, hotels through Southwest, rental cars, and more.
To ensure you earn the full bonus be sure to charge at least $2,000 in everyday purchases to the card within your first 3 months. Meeting bonuses spending requirements help build your credit profile too.
More Opportunities to Earn Bonuses
In addition to the new member bonus points the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card provides more ways to earn extra points:
- 3,000 Anniversary Points – Receive 3,000 bonus points each cardmember anniversary
- Referral Bonuses – Earn 3,000 bonus points for each friend approved for the card
- Promotional Offers – Limited-time promotions may offer bonus points for meeting certain spend thresholds
Stacking up these bonuses on top of points earned from everyday purchases and Southwest travel can quickly boost your account balance. This gets you closer to redemption thresholds for flights, Companion Pass status, and more valuable perks.
Maximizing bonuses is key to making this card work for you long-term. Be sure to take advantage of referral opportunities plus limited-time offers for spending bonuses targeted to cardholders.
How to Earn Points on Everyday Purchases
In addition to the new member bonus points the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card earns tiered points per $1 spent on purchases in these categories:
- 2 points per $1 spent on all Southwest Airlines purchases including flights, hotels, car rentals, activities and more booked through the airline
- 2 points per $1 spent on purchases with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
As you can see, you’ll rack up points most quickly when you use the card to book Southwest travel and hotels. But all routine purchases also steadily add points.
Based on average ticket costs and spending in non-travel categories, cardholders earn 5,000-7,000 points or more each year outside of the sign-up bonus.
Benefit and Protections
- Transferring Ultimate Rewards Points
- Transfer points from Chase Sapphire cards to Southwest account to supplement earnings
- Link Southwest and Ultimate Rewards accounts to move points between programs
- You get $100 Annual Southwest Travel Credit
- Get $75 credit each cardmember year
- Earn additional $25 credit after $10K annual spend
- Four Upgraded Boardings Per Year
- Receive 4 upgraded boardings every cardmember year
- Improves boarding group to A1-A15 or A1-A30
- You can redeem Points For Flights
- Best value is redeeming for Wanna Get Away fares
- As low as 1,300 points for one-way domestic flights
- Earn Companion Pass
- Earn nearly 125,000 points from signup bonus & spend for BOGO travel
- Valid for remainder of current year + all next year
- Travel & Purchase Protections
- This Includes trip cancellation, lost luggage, accident insurance
- Peace of mind for Southwest travel and purchases
- Refer Friends
- Earn 3,000 bonus points for each approved referral
- No limits on referrals and points earned
How to Apply
Applying for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is quick and easy. Simply visit the Southwest Airlines credit card webpage and click “Apply Now.” This will start the online application.
You’ll need to provide some basic personal information including:
- Date of birth
- Social security number
- Estimated income
- Employment details
In most cases, you will instantly receive a decision on whether you are approved for the card after submitting the application.
Tips to Activate Your Card
If approved, you will receive your new Southwest Rewards Plus Credit Card in the mail in 7-10 business days. It will come in a plain white envelope with instructions on how to activate it.
Activate your card by calling the number on the sticker affixed to the front of your card. This activates your chip card security features.
You’ll need to set your unique PIN during activation too. Choose something secure you can remember easily.
Logging in Online
Once activated, you can register your card on the Southwest Rapid Rewards website. Here you can view statements, redeem points for flights, and manage your Rapid Rewards account.
To log in, visit Southwest.com and click your profile icon in the top right. Select “My Account” then provide your card number, name, and ZIP code. After registering you’ll access your account using your email and password.
Tips to Make Payments
You have different options for making your monthly bill payments including:
- Pay online through account access
- Pay by phone
- Mail a check or money order
- Set up autopay directly from your checking account
Try to pay in full each month to avoid interest charges. There is no penalty APR but late fees can apply if you miss your due date by more than 15 days.
Be sure to pay at least the minimum amount shown on your statement each month by the due date. This keeps your account in good standing.
While earning free flights and status with Southwest Airlines is relatively easy, having the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card in your wallet makes it even simpler.
You can start with the high-value new member bonus then earn points on Southwest purchases and everyday spending along with referral bonuses.