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5 best Southwest credit cards (three with HUGE 75,000 point bonuses)

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5 best Southwest credit cards (three with HUGE 75,000 point bonuses)

Joseph Hostetler5 best Southwest credit cards (three with HUGE 75,000 point bonuses)Million Mile Secrets Team

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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. And currently, all three Southwest personal cards come with a highest-ever 75,000 Southwest points after meeting tiered spending requirements!

For all these reasons and more, it is smart to look into a Southwest credit card to earn more points and perks while flying on Southwest. With so many Southwest credit cards to choose from, I have made it easy for you to choose, depending on the features that are most important to you.

Best Southwest credit cards

Card nameBonusAnnual feeOur review
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit CardEarn up to 75,000 points after meeting tiered spending requirements:
- 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
- 35,000 more points when spending $5,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening
$69Our Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit CardEarn up to 75,000 points after meeting tiered spending requirements:
- 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
- 35,000 more points when spending $5,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening
$99Our Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit CardEarn up to 75,000 points after meeting tiered spending requirements:
- 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
- 35,000 more points when spending $5,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening
$149Our Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit CardEarn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months$99Our Review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit CardEarn 70,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months$199Our review of the Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
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 up to 75,000 bonus points after meeting tiered spending requirements:

  • 40,000 points when spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
  • Another 35,000 points when spending $5,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening

Southwest points value hovers around 1.5 cents each, making this bonus worth $1,125 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 up to 75,000 bonus points after meeting tiered spending requirements:

  • 40,000 points when spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
  • Another 35,000 points when spending $5,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening

Southwest points value is generally 1.5 cents each. This bonus should give you at least $1,125 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 up to 75,000 bonus points after meeting tiered spending requirements:

  • 40,000 points when spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
  • Another 35,000 points when spending a total of $5,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening

That’s worth $1,125 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 free 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 70,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That’s worth 1,050 in Southwest flights.

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 75,000 qualifying points — that’s 60% of the way to the Companion Pass! If you open up a personal card as well, you’ll be extremely close to earning 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 $1,300+ in value from this card for the first year. 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‘s 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 up to 75,000 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 EFFORTLESSLY qualify you for the Companion Pass. This is flat out the easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

For example, if you opened the Chase Southwest Premier Business Card (60,000 point bonus) and the Southwest Plus Card (up to 75,000 point bonus), you’d have at least 143,000 Southwest points after meeting minimum spending requirements.

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 personal cards having GIANT bonuses of up to 75,000 points after meeting spending requirements), 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.

Again, here’s a roundup of all of the Southwest cards:

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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

  • Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available
  • Inflight WiFi Credits
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
  • Employee cards at no additional cost, earn points on employee spending.

More Info

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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