Best Southwest credit cards (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 a digestible way to help you decide the features that are most important to you.

Best cards for Southwest flyers

Comparing current Southwest credit card offers

Credit cardBonus OfferBonus Value (based on our valuations)Annual feeForeign Transaction FeeOur review
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit CardEarn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. $560$69YesOur Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit CardEarn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. $560$99NoOur Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit CardEarn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. $560$149NoOur Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit CardEarn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening$1,,120$199NoOur review of the Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit CardEarn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening$900$99NoOur Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

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

Current bonus

With the Chase Southwest Plus, you’ll earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. 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.

Why we like it

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. Plus, as a Companion Pass holder, you can take a friend or loved one for almost nothing!

Be sure to read our Southwest Plus Card review.

Who is this card for

This is a good option for Southwest fans looking to earn Southwest points without paying a big annual fee That said, if you travel on Southwest with any regularity, one of the other cards on this list is likely a better option because this version offers minimal perks in comparison. 

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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Current bonus

The Chase Southwest Premier offers Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. Southwest points value is generally 1.4 cents each. The 40,000 points should give you at least $560 in Southwest flights.

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. Check out our Southwest Premier Card review.

Why we like it

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.

Who is this card for

Beyond the 6,000 cardmember anniversary bonus points, this card differs little from the Chase Southwest Plus card, but it does have an important feature that the Plus 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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Current bonus

The Chase Southwest Priority is currently offering Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.  Southwest points value hovers around 1.4 cents each so the 40,000 bonus points are worth $560 in Southwest flights.

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

Why we like it

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.

Who is this card for

If you fly Southwest with any regularity you should opt for the Southwest Priority Card. You can receive $870+ in value from the card in the first year:

  • 40,000 points after earning the intro bonus and meeting spending requirements (worth $560 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

And that’s not even accounting for the value you can get from holding the Companion Pass!

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

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)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

Current bonus

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.

Why this card is best for a huge welcome bonus

The welcome bonus alone is worth $1,200 in Southwest flights (well, it’s actually worth a lot more — I’ll explain).

Why we like it

The card 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. All that for a reasonable $199 annual fee.

Who is this card for

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.

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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

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.

Why this card is best business card for a lower minimum spending requirement

The minimum spending requirement on the Southwest Premier business card is just a 10th of that of the Southwest Performance business card.

Why we like it

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

That’s not bad for a card with a $99 annual fee. Check out our deep dive into the Southwest Premier Business Card benefits and perks.

Who is this card for

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.

FAQ about Southwest credit cards

What are the requirements to get a Southwest credit card?

There are a few things you should know before applying for a Southwest credit card.

  • You should have a credit score above 700 if you’re involved in the miles and points hobby. These cards are meant for those with good credit, and you’ll have the most success with a credit score of 700 and above.
  • All Southwest cards are subject to the Chase “5/24 rule.” If you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months (excluding certain small business cards), Chase won’t approve you for any of these cards.
  • You can only have one Southwest personal credit card at once. If you’ve already got a Southwest card, you’ll have to close it before you apply for another.
  • You can’t earn more than one Southwest personal credit card bonus per 24 months.

What are the main benefits of having a Southwest credit card?

It depends on which card you have, but in all honesty, Southwest credit card benefits aren’t much to write home about. The only cards actually worth keeping in our opinion are the Chase Southwest Performance Business and the Chase Southwest Priority cards. These both have ongoing perks that make the cards worth keeping if you frequently fly Southwest.

We say this because simply earning Southwest points from credit card spending is NOT enough to keep a Southwest card. That’s because Southwest is a Chase transfer partner. If you have a card that earns Chase points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can earn Southwest points just as quickly as if you were using a Southwest card (and oftentimes quicker). And the Chase Sapphire Preferred has much better benefits than most Southwest cards — it’s actually one of the absolute best credit cards for travel.

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review for more details.

What is the Southwest Companion Pass? Which cards offer it?

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 a Companion Pass valid through 2/28/2022. This is flat-out the easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass for new cardmembers.

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

If you’re not earning the Companion Pass through one of the personal Southwest cards, the first few months of the year are 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 2021, you can use it until December 31, 2022. That’s almost two years, allowing for lots of great travel opportunities. Here’s how to use the Southwest Companion Pass.

Are Southwest Rapid rewards worth it?

Yes! All of us at MMS collect Southwest points. Southwest is the most customer-friendly airline in existence. Their cheap fares are easy to locate with the Southwest Low Fare Calendar. Our readers love Southwest not just because of their genuine staff, but because you’ll get two free checked bags and free changes/cancellations up to 10 minutes before takeoff. In other words, you could be sitting on the plane and decide you don’t want to fly, and Southwest will give you your points back free of charge.

Can I have more than one Southwest credit card?

Yes, you can. But again, the only big rule is that you can only have one personal Southwest credit card at a time. You can have both Southwest small business cards at once, however.

Earning one Southwest personal card bonus and one small business card bonus is traditionally the most popular way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, in fact.

Bottom line

With several different Southwest credit cards to choose from, 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?

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. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

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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