Best Southwest credit card offers (one with a HUGE 100,000 point bonus)

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When it comes to using credit card rewards, airline miles can get really confusing. Luckily, Southwest Airlines has always kept it simple. You don’t have to worry about a Southwest award chart, blackout dates, basic economy fares or checked bag fees. Read our Southwest Rapid Rewards review for more details.

Southwest credit cards are some of the best airline credit cards on the market, for the simple fact that they can help you earn the best deal in travel, the Southwest Companion Pass. It’s smart to look into a Southwest credit card to earn more points and perks while flying on Southwest. With so many credit cards to choose from, we’ve laid the details out in an digestible way to help you decide the features that are most important to you.

Best Southwest credit cards

Card nameBonusAnnual feeOur review
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit CardEarn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening$69Our Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit CardEarn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening$99Our Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit CardEarn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening$149Our Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit CardN/A$99Our Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit CardEarn up to 100,000 points after meeting tiered spending requirements:
- 70,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
- 30,000 points after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening
$199Our review of the Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business cards has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Which Southwest credit card is right for you? (Photo by Wyatt Smith)

Which Southwest credit card is right for you?

Three of these cards are personal credit cards and two are business credit cards, a total of five different cards to compare. Just remember that Southwest allows you to carry only one personal credit card at a time. Here is a breakdown of card features to help you decide which card to choose. And read our guide on how to use Southwest points.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Best card if you want a low annual fee

Current bonus

With the Chase Southwest Plus, you’ll earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Southwest points value hovers around 1.5 cents each, making this bonus worth $600 in Southwest flights.

Insider tip

At $69 per year, this is the lowest annual fee of any Southwest credit card, and earns you just as solid welcome bonus as all other Southwest personal credit cards.

Benefits & perks

Beyond all the travel insurance benefits, the only notable ongoing benefit is that you’ll receive 3,000 Southwest points every cardmember anniversary. Based on the general Southwest points value, those points are worth around $45 per year, offsetting more than half the card’s annual fee. Here’s our take on the Southwest Plus Card benefits.

Annual fee

$69

Total value

After you meet minimum spending requirements, you’ll have 41,000 points, which is worth $615. Southwest has crazy good sales all the time, so you should easily be able to take a tropical vacation with a bonus like that. For example, it’s not difficult to find round-trip flights to Cancun from all over the U.S. for ~21,000 Southwest points. Read our Southwest Plus Card review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Best card for overseas purchases and a lower annual fee

Current bonus

The Chase Southwest Premier offers 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Southwest points value is generally 1.5 cents each. This bonus should give you at least $600 in Southwest flights.

Insider tip

Despite this card having a $99 annual fee, its anniversary bonus points essentially make it cheaper than the Chase Southwest Plus. You’ll receive 6,000 Southwest points every time you renew your card. Those are worth $90 in Southwest flights, effectively bringing your out-of-pocket expense each year to just $9.

Benefits & perks

Beyond the 6,000 cardmember anniversary bonus points, this card differs little from the Chase Southwest Plus card, but it does have an important that card does not: The Chase Southwest Premier doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. If you plan on swiping your Southwest credit card abroad, but still don’t want an annual fee in the triple digits, this is the card you want. Here’s a closer look at the Chase Southwest Premier benefits and perks.

Annual fee

$99

Total value

After meeting minimum spending, you’ll have 41,000 points, worth $615 in Southwest airfare. The only other value factor is how much you spend abroad, as the card will save you in foreign transaction fees — but that can add up quickly! I saved $117 on these fees during a recent vacation by using a card that waived foreign transaction fees. Check out our Southwest Premier Card review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Best card for frequent Southwest flyers

Current bonus

The Chase Southwest Priority comes with 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. That’s worth $600 in Southwest flights.

Insider tip

This is the only card on this list that will completely negate the annual fee each year with zero effort on your part. If you’re a Southwest regular, you’ll receive ~$188 in airfare each year, thanks to a $75 Southwest statement credit and 7,500 Southwest points for renewing your card each year.

Benefits & perks

With this card, you’ll receive:

  • Up to $75 in statement credits for eligible Southwest purchases each account anniversary year
  • Four upgraded boardings (positions A1 to A15) each account anniversary year (worth $30, $40, or $50 each, depending on the flight)
  • 20% back on Southwest in-flight purchases
  • 7,500 Southwest points on your account anniversary (worth ~$113 in Southwest flights)
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 in purchases up to $100,000 in purchases annually (which equal 15,000 TQPs)
  • No foreign transaction fees
The closer you are to the front of the line, the better. The Chase Southwest Priority will give you four free upgraded boardings, guaranteeing you’re one of the first on the plane. (Photo by Jessica Puckett)

Annual fee

$149

Total value

If you fly Southwest with any regularity you should opt for the Southwest Priority Card. You can receive $1,000 in value from the card in the first year:

  • 41,000 points after earning the intro bonus and meeting spending requirements (worth $615 based on our Southwest points value estimation)
  • $75 statement credit annually
  • $113 in points (based on our Southwest points value estimation) annually
  • Up to $200 in upgraded boardings annually

This is hands down the best Southwest personal card, and it’s not close. Here’s our Southwest Priority Card review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

Best business card if you want a huge welcome bonus (that counts toward the Companion Pass)

Current bonus

The Chase Southwest Performance Business Card comes with 100,000 bonus points after meeting tiered spending requirements:

  • 70,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
  • 30,000 points after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening

That’s worth $1,500 in Southwest flights (well, it’s actually worth a lot more — I’ll explain).

Insider tip

Southwest credit card sign-up bonuses help you qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass. To receive it, you must earn 125,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year. After meeting minimum spending, you’ll have at least 125,000 qualifying points — exactly enough to earn the Companion Pass!

Benefits & perks

The card also comes with the best Southwest benefits of any card. You’ll receive:

  • Four upgraded boardings each year (between A1 and A15)
  • Up to 365 credits each year worth $8 toward inflight Wi-Fi
  • 9,000 anniversary points (worth $135 in flights)
  • 3 Southwest points per dollar on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car purchases
  • Statement credit of up to $100 for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee

This is hands down one of the best credit cards for travel. Read our examination of Southwest Performance Business credit card benefits.

Annual fee

$199

Total value

If you’re a frequent Southwest flyer, this is a huge no-brainer. Between the sign-up bonus, the Global Entry statement credit, the Wi-Fi credits, and the four upgraded boardings each year (which can cost $50 a pop), you can easily receive $1,750+ in value from this card for the first year. And because you’ll earn the Companion Pass, this effectively doubles the value of your points, as you can bring someone along for free whenever you fly Southwest. You could easily receive $3,200 in value by earning the full bonus on this card.

Check out our Southwest Performance Business credit card review for the full details and our perks and benefits guides for an in-depth look at the rewarding extras the card comes with. Read our Southwest Performance Business credit card review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Best business card for a lower minimum spending requirement

Current bonus

The Chase Southwest Premier Business Card offers 60,000 Southwest points after spending $3,000 within the first three months. Southwest points are valued at 1.5 cents each, making this bonus worth, on average, $900 in Southwest flights.

Insider tip

You can only hold one Southwest personal credit card at a time. If you’ve already got one, you’ll have to cancel it (or product change it) if you want a different one. However, you can have two Southwest small business cards at once. If you open and earn the bonuses of both the Chase Southwest Performance Business Card and the Chase Southwest Premier Business Card, you’ll immediately qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass!

Benefits & perks

  • 6,000 bonus points each account anniversary year (worth $90, based on average Southwest points value)
  • Free employee cards
  • No foreign transaction fees

Check out our deep dive into the Southwest Premier Business Card benefits and perks.

Annual fee

$99

Total value

This card’s annual fee is about half of its Southwest small business card brother. The sign-up bonus is smaller, but so is its annual fee and minimum spending requirement. If you don’t think you can cope with the slightly more daunting Chase Southwest Performance Business Card annual fee and spending requirement, this is still an amazing card to open. Read our Southwest Premier Business Card review.

Go after the Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass lets a friend or family member travel with you for (nearly) free whenever you travel on Southwest. Whether your flight is booked with points or paid for with cash, your companion flies for just the cost of taxes and fees, which are usually ~$6 one-way on domestic flights.

You can apply for any of the personal Southwest cards (which all have the same welcome bonus of 40,000 Southwest points after meeting minimum spending requirements) and a Southwest small business card. These two welcome bonuses together (from one personal card and the Performance business card) can qualify you for the Companion Pass. This is flat out the easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

Check out our guide on how to earn Southwest points for more tricks to receiving the Companion Pass.

Now is the absolute best time of year to earn the Companion Pass. Your Companion Pass is valid through the year you earn it, plus the entire next year. So if you earn it in early 2020, you can use it until December 31, 2021. That’s almost two years, allowing for lots of great travel opportunities. Here’s how to use the Southwest Companion Pass.

Bottom line

With several different Southwest credit cards to choose from (and all the Chase Southwest Performance Business Card earning a GIANT bonus of up to 100,000 points), it can be overwhelming to decide which card is right for you. But now that we have broken it down, it should be clear what card is the best for you based on your spending and usage habits.

Which Southwest credit card do you have your eye on?

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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