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® Premier 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.) The bottom line is you actually can get a free flight on Southwest Airlines after you first use your Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card to meet a minimum spending requirement.
For the travel buffs (or business travelers) out there, this is one of the best credit cards for travel rewards.
How Does the Bonus Flight Points Work?
After you apply for the credit card and activate your account, you will earn the bonus points after you spend just $2,000 on the card within 90 days. Depending on the flight and dates you choose, 25,000 points may be more than enough to score a flight for free.
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 round-trip 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. If you plan to use credit for convenience anyway, you can easily rack up a ton of points on your everyday spending. Just think how much you spend on groceries, gas, children's activities, and miscellaneous spending every month. If you use your card, all of that can add up quick!
Earn Even More Southwest Rapid Rewards Points with This Card
If you want to earn even more points beyond what you can earn with the Southwest credit card, consider signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card. This card helps you earn a powerful travel currency called Chase Ultimate Rewards, and is constantly named the top travel credit card on the market.
What makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card so powerful in this case is that the points you earn transfer to Southwest Airlines at a 1:1 ratio. As of now, the signup bonus on the card is 50,000 points after you spend just $4,000 in 90 days. Since those points transfer 1:1 to the nation's best domestic airline, it's the same thing as having 50,000 extra Southwest Rapid Rewards points laying around. Pretty sweet, huh?
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® Premier Credit Card. The number of Rapid Rewards points depends on the type of flight you select:
- Business Select Fare: 12 points/$1 spent
- Anytime Fare: 10 points/$1 spent
- Wanna Get Away Fare: 6 points/$1 spent
You would get these 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?
Well, not really. The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card does have an annual fee of $99. That's a bummer, but on every anniversary date of having the card you will be awarded 6,000 points. You could turn those 6,000 points into a free on-sale domestic flight if you wanted, so the annual fee could easily pay for itself. 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 one you would have to consider with any other rewards credit card – the potential for debt. 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.