We get it: many people love Southwest Airlines. There’s a reason their stock-ticker symbol is LUV, after all. Even if you are loyal to their brand, should you be loyal to their credit card? Let’s look at the numbers and decide!
Southwest Credit Cards
All Southwest credit cards are co-branded credit cards issued by Chase. The available cards are:
- Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card: $69 annual fee.
- Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: $99 annual fee.
- Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card: $149 annual fee.
- Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card: $99 annual fee.
- Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card: $199 annual fee.
These cards all earn between 2x and 4x Rapid Rewards points on Southwest purchases. The Plus card earns 2x on Southwest purchases. The Premier, Priority, and Premier Business cards each earn 3x on Southwest Purchases. The Performance Business card earns 4x on Southwest purchases.
One great benefit of these cards is that Rapid Rewards points earned count towards a Companion Pass and some cards (Premier and Priority personal cards) count toward status.
Southwest Airlines is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR). You can transfer your URs to Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 ratio and there is no limit to the number of URs you can transfer. You can also use your UR in the Chase travel portal to purchase Southwest Airlines flights (at either 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point), although this requires a telephone call and it not available online.
As a reminder, these cards earn Chase Ultimate Rewards:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred; $95 annual fee.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve; $550 annual fee.
- Chase Ink Business Preferred; $95 annual fee.
- *Chase Freedom Flex; $0 annual fee.
- *Chase Freedom Unlimited; $0 annual fee.
- *Chase Ink Business Cash; $0 annual fee.
- *Chase Ink Business Unlimited; $0 annual fee
*these cards earn UR when paired with a Sapphire Preferred or Reserve or a Ink Business Preferred. Otherwise, these cards earn cash back.
Of these cards, CSR and CIBP both earn 3x on travel, including Southwest airlines purchases, hotels and rental cars and the CSP earns 2x. The CIBP earns 3x on social media and search engine advertising, shipping, and internet/cable/phone purchases. The CFU or CIU both earn 1.5x on all other spend. On a quarterly rotating basis, the Freedom Flex card earns 5x on up to $1,500 spend. Lastly, CSR (3x) and CSP (2x) have category bonuses for restaurants.
This or That to Earn Rapid Rewards?
Based on the categories listed above, here is our breakdown:
In every category except one, a Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card out-earns ANY Rapid Rewards-earning card! For Southwest purchases, you can match the 3x earn of a CSR or CIBP with the 3x on a Premier, Priority, or Premier Business card. Only the Performance Business card's 4x on Southwest purchases beats the CSR and CIBP. But, please remember that URs are flexible and can be transferred to numerous partners or used in the Chase travel portal.
Unless you are spending to achieve a Southwest Companion Pass and/or to achieve A-List Status, always forgo this (Southwest cards) and choose that (UR-earning cards). Come join our discussion in our Facebook group to discuss and to ask any questions.
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