Southwest Airlines Credit Card Review - Important Info!
2013 WARNING: The Southwest Airlines credit card is a popular choice for frequent fliers, but is the promotion for 2 roundtrip flights too good to be true? Guess what... it's not! But there are still some important things you need to know this year about the new program...
Review of the Southwest credit card (the new Rapid Rewards Premier version)
The Southwest Visa cards are issued by Chase bank. About a year and a half ago we saw the launch of the Rapid Rewards Premier, which is a newer version of their card.
Another benefit about the Sapphire Preferred is that it has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 after that). On the other hand, the SWA Rapid Rewards Premier charged the fee on the first year. So when you factor that into the equation, the Sapphire Preferred offer is almost just as valuable even though it's 40k points instead of the 50k the SWA card had previously offered.
Spring 2013 update: The SWA signup offer for 2 roundtrip flights (50,000 points) has been discontinued. The best alternative right now is the Chase Sapphire Preferred because the Ultimate Reward points you earn with it can be converted to Southwest Rapid Rewards points at a 1 for 1 conversion!
Use this link to earn 40,000 bonus points on Sapphire Preferred
(just spend $3k within first 3 months to get the bonus)
Going back to the review of the SW Rapid Rewards Premier, here's the info about it...
What is the annual fee?
The annual fee is $99, which is comparable to many other airline credit cards. However unlike those other guys, this Southwest Airlines card comes with a recurring points bonus every year. On your cardmember anniversary you get 6,000 bonus points (that's enough to score you $100.00 worth of "Wanna Get Away" fares). So when you take that into account, the annual fee is actually quite reasonable.
How do the rewards work?
The old Southwest Airlines credit card rewards program was a bit more complicated. Fortunately the newer program they launched a couple years ago is simpler and even better...
- 1 point per $1 on regular purchases
- 2 points per $1 on Southwest Airlines & AirTran Airways purchases (flights, in-flight food/beverage, etc)
- 2 points per $1 at Rapid Rewards partner car rental companies:
- 2 points per $1 at Rapid Rewards partner hotels:
As you can see there are quite a few hotels on that list! But what’s most impressive about the Southwest Airline credit card points is their value…
WARNING: Don’t let other inferior airline cards screw you on rewards! When you run the numbers on the Southwest card, you will see a $350 "Wanna Get Away" flight is yours for only 21,000 points. Compare that to the typical 25,000+ mile minimum that many airline cards require for a free roundtrip flight.
- Many other credit cards: 10,000 points = $100.00 airfare credit
- Southwest Airlines card: 6,000 points = $100.00 credit for "Wanna Get Away" airfare
Note: Not included are govt fees as low as $10 per round trip on reward flights.
No change fees?
On top of the fare difference, most airlines charge up to a $150 fee just to changing your stinking flight! SWA is the only major carrier that doesn't charge a fee to change your ticket. All you pay is the fair difference (if applicable).
Both your first AND second checked bags are free… yet another great reason to choose the Southwest Airlines credit card application! Compare to most carriers, which charge you up to $50/roundtrip just for your first bag alone.
Get to A-List status faster?
This card can help you get there faster because you earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in purchases. You can earn up to 15,000 Tier Qualifying Points annually thru your card. If you make it to A-List, you get these benefits:
Remember the above benefits are NOT from the credit card. They come from your A-List status if you reach it.
Visa Signature benefits?
If you have qualifying credit, you will be approved for the Visa Signature version. This tier of credit card offers the following benefits for free:
Purchase Security* – Have you ever bought an item, only to have something horrible happen to it days or weeks later? Eligible purchases made on your Southwest Airlines Visa Signature card are covered up to 90 days from date of purchase against theft, vandalism, fire damage, accidentally discharged water or certain weather conditions. At their discretion they will pay to repair, replace, or reimburse you – up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per cardholder. Verdict for 2013?
Complimentary Concierge* – Enjoy free Visa Signature phone concierge service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver* – This benefit covers eligible rentals against collision damage and theft.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement* – When you use your Signature-version credit card to pay for the entire cost of an eligible common carrier ticket (i.e. airline ticket) there is coverage for your carry-on bags and checked luggage if they're lost or stolen, up to $3,000 per trip.
Travel Accident Insurance* – With a covered Visa Signature card, receive travel accident insurance when you pay for tickets (eligible common carrier tickets) in full using the card. This coverage applies to accidental death and dismemberment with up to $250,000 in coverage for eligible incidents.
*Check and confirm with the Chase Southwest credit card customer service for details, exclusions, and limitations. Benefits are subject to change without notice. When applying you are first considered for the Visa Signature tier. If you don't qualify for that, you will be automatically considered for the Visa Platinum tier which has different benefits.
With the new rewards program, benefits, and lucrative signup offer, without a doubt this credit card is a top choice for the airline-affiliated category.
The uber-generous Southwest credit card promotion
Right now SWA has one of the best signup promotions you will find. After you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account, you will get 50,000 bonus points.
As mentioned this good signup bonus for the Rapid Rewards Premier is no longer avail. So instead I recommend the Sapphire Preferred since it has this insane bonus offer at the moment: