Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else pay for the flight to your next vacation destination?

(And even better: what if that free flight was on the best airline in the country?)

You’ll get just that if you open up a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.

It might seem to be too good to be true. A credit card company will pay for a round trip flight for you? What’s the catch? (Yes, there is a very small catch. We’ll get to that in just a second.) But the bottom line is you actually can get a free flight on Southwest Airlines after you first use your Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card.

For the travel buffs (or business travelers) out there, this is a great travel rewards card.

How Does the Bonus Flight Points Work?

After you apply for the credit card and activate your account, you will qualify for the bonus points after your first purchase on the card. After that first swipe you’ll get 25,000 points applied to your account which is enough to claim two one-way flights that would normally cost you $208 each way. Those two flights will eat up 24,960 of those bonus points.

It’s really that simple.

But a free flight isn’t the only reward you will get. There are other great perks, too.

Earn Points for Your Spending

On top of the bonus points for your free roundtrip flight, you’ll also earn points for all of your spending on the card. Any spending with Southwest Airlines or Southwest’s Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners will generate 2 points per every $1 of spending.

Additionally all of your other spending will earn 1 point per every $1 that you charge to the card.

Better Than 2% Rewards

It is really difficult to find a great rewards card that will pay out more than 2% in rewards. At first glance the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card looks like a standard 2% travel rewards card because of the 2 points for every dollar spent.

However, when you run the math the rewards are significantly better if all of your points come from traveling with Southwest.

Let’s check the math. You need 24,960 points to get two one-way tickets that cost $208 per flight. That’s $416 in rewards for 24,960. To earn those 24,960 points you could spend $24,960 on non-Southwest purchases (where your rewards would equate to 1.67%) or you could spend $12,480 on Southwest flights and Rapid Reward partners. If you do this your total reward jumps to 3.33% making this one of the best travel cards available.

3.33% rewards are great, but there’s one more trick to truly maximizing your rewards that leads to your more free flights, faster.

What is Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards Program?

Here’s how you truly maximize the impact of this credit card. Not only will Chase credit you with points for your spending, but Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program rewards you for your flights on top of the points you get for using your Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. The number of Rapid Rewards points depends on the type of flight you select:

  • 12 points per dollar on Business Select flights
  • 10 points per dollar on Anytime flights
  • 6 points per dollar on Wanna Get Away flights

You would get this points by just being a Rapid Rewards member and booking a flight with Southwest. It has nothing to do with using this credit card. But when you combine the two, the rewards really start to pile up!

This means booking two of Southwest’s least expensive Wanna Get Away one-way flights for $200 each way will generate 400 points on your Chase card and 1,200 points directly with Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. The 400 points on your Chase credit card equals an extra 33% in reward points over using any other credit card. The rewards can really add up by just taking a few flights and using your Chase credit card.

What’s the Catch?

There’s got to be some horrible catch that makes this great travel rewards credit card useless, right?

Not really. The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card does have an annual fee of $69. That’s a bummer, but on every anniversary date of having the card you will be awarded 3,000 points. You could turn those 3,000 points into a $50 Wanna Get Away fare, so the card is only going to cost you $19 per year. When you can rack up as many free flights and Rapid Reward points that seems like a small price to pay for the rewards.

Also, hopefully this is clear, but you should only get this card if you have access to Southwest Airlines near your city. If you have to drive 6 hours to get to an airport that Southwest services, then this probably isn’t the best travel rewards card for you.

The only other catch is that of any other rewards credit card. If you get the card, make purchases, and then don’t pay them off in full before interest charges hit you, then you’ve made a mistake. Travel reward credit cards are only for those who can handle paying off their balance every month. If you essentially treat your credit card like a debit card instead of a free line of access to as much money as you want, you’ll be fine.

Apply for a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and earn a free flight today!


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Comments | 2 Responses

  1. James says

    I think you forgot under “Whats the catch” section that you need to spend $1000 within the first three months to be eligible for the 25,000 reward points…..

  2. says

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