Best Southwest credit cards (one with a valuable 80,000 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 a digestible way to help you decide the features that are most important to you.
Best cards for Southwest flyers
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Best card if you want the lowest annual fee
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card: Best card for overseas purchases and a lower annual fee
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: Best personal card for frequent Southwest flyers
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card: Best business card for ongoing perks
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card: Best business card for a lower minimum spending requirement
Comparing current Southwest credit card offers
Which Southwest credit card is right for you?
Three of these cards are personal credit cards and two are business credit cards, for 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.
With the Chase Southwest Plus, you’ll earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. With a bonus like this, you should easily be able to take a tropical vacation. For example, it’s not difficult to find round-trip flights to Cancun from all over the United States for ~21,000 Southwest points!
Southwest points value hovers around 1.4 cents each, making the 40,000 bonus points worth $560 in Southwest flights.
Why this card is best for a low annual fee
At $69 per year, this is the lowest annual fee of any Southwest credit card and earns you just as solid of a welcome bonus as all other Southwest personal credit cards. It’s a low-risk way to rack up lots of points, whether you fly Southwest frequently, rarely, or anywhere in between.
Plus, you’ll earn 3,000 points every cardmember anniversary, for an approximate value of $42 (based on our estimated value of 1.4 cents each). Factoring in this benefit alone, you’ll offset more than half of the card’s annual fee. If you take advantage of any of the other perks, you’ll definitely come out ahead.
Be sure to read our Southwest Plus Card review.
Like the Chase Southwest Plus, the Chase Southwest Premier offers 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Based on our points valuations, this 40,000 points should give you at least $560 in Southwest flights.
Another ongoing reward this card provides is 6,000 Southwest points each year when you renew it, for an estimated value of $84.
Why this card is best for overseas purchases and a lower annual fee
Spend a lot abroad? Foreign transaction fees can really add up. So this card can offer value here! I saved $117 on these fees during a recent vacation by using a card that waived foreign transaction fees.
Despite this card having a $99 annual fee, its anniversary bonus points essentially make it cheaper than the Chase Southwest Plus. The aforementioned annual award of 6,000 Southwest annual valued at $84 effectively bringing your out-of-pocket expense each year to just $15.
Check out our Southwest Premier Card review.
With the Chase Southwest Priority, you’ll earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Southwest points value hovers around 1.4 cents each so the 40,000 bonus points are worth $560 in Southwest flights.
We should note 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 ~$180 in airfare each year, thanks to a $75 Southwest statement credit and 7,500 Southwest points for renewing your card each year.
Why this card is best for frequent Southwest flyers
This particular personal version of the Southwest card offers the most benefits and perks for frequent Southwest flyers. 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
This is hands down the best Southwest personal card, and it’s not close. Here’s our Southwest Priority Card review.
The Chase Southwest Performance Business Card comes with 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. It 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
Why this card is best for a huge welcome bonus
The welcome bonus alone is worth $1,120 in Southwest flights. Well, it’s actually worth a lot more: 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 around $1,700 in value from this card for the first year.
What’s more, the points you earn from the Southwest Performance Business Card can help qualify you for the Southwest Companion Pass — even the 80,000-point welcome bonus counts. To earn the Companion Pass, you’ll need to earn 125,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year. If you earn the 80,000-point welcome bonus, you’ll need just 45,000 more points in a calendar year to earn the Companion Pass.
This is hands down one of the best credit cards for travel. Read our examination of Southwest Performance Business credit card benefits and our Southwest Performance Business credit card review for the full details. All that for a reasonable $199 annual fee.
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 1.4 cents each, making this bonus worth, on average, $840 in Southwest flights.
The Southwest Premier card comes with valuable perks like:
- 6,000 bonus points each account anniversary year (worth $90, based on average Southwest points value)
- Free employee cards
- No foreign transaction fees
Why this is the best business card for a lower minimum spending requirement
The minimum spending requirement on the Southwest Premier business card is significantly less than that of the Southwest Performance business card. While the sign-up bonus is smaller, many small business owners will find the lower annual fee and lower minimum spending requirement to be less daunting.
The relatively low annual fee of $99 and low spending requirement, combined with attractive ongoing rewards and other perks, make this a card a great addition to many a wallet.
For more information, check out our Southwest Premier Business Card review as well as our deep dive into the Southwest Premier Business Card benefits and perks.
Southwest credit cards FAQ
What are the requirements to get a Southwest credit card?
What are the main benefits of having a Southwest credit card?
What is the Southwest Companion Pass? Which cards offer it?
Are Southwest Rapid rewards worth it?
Can I have more than one Southwest credit card?
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