Best Chase Southwest Airlines Credit Cards: Comparing Benefits and Perks

Southwest Airlines Night Gate

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Chase provides co-branded credit cards with Southwest Airlines: some for consumers and others for small businesses. While Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards get a ton of press, there is also some great value to be found in their Southwest Airline credit card offerings.

Let’s take a look at what each of these cards can do for you.

Chase Southwest Credit Cards

If you enjoy crisscrossing the United States, relaxing in the Caribbean, or having adventures in Central America or Mexico, then earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points might be just what you need.

Each of these cards can help you earn Rapid Rewards points on all of your purchases. You will earn 1X points per dollar spent on everything you spend…with 1 key exception.

If you make a purchase with Southwest Airlines — whether it’s purchasing a flight, something inflight, a Southwest gift card to give to a friend, or a Southwest Vacations package — you will earn 2X points per dollar spent.

A less common way to earn Rapid Rewards points with these cards is a balance transfer. During your first 90 days with one of the Southwest credit cards, you can earn 1X points per dollar on balance transfers up to $15,000.

Now, let’s be clear: you should not carry a balance just to take advantage of this offer. However, if you are already considering a balance transfer, the bonus Rapid Rewards points might be an opportunity for you.

Using one of the Southwest credit cards is also an easy way to prevent your Rapid Rewards points from expiring. Typically, Rapid Rewards points expire after 24 months of earning inactivity. As a cardholder, you merely have to use the card once every 24 months and your points won’t expire at all.

Unlike many co-branded airline credit cards, the Chase Southwest credit cards don’t come with perks like priority boarding and free checked bags. The latter is not a big deal though, since Southwest allows all passengers to check up to 2 bags provided that they meet size and weight restrictions.

New Chase Southwest Credit Card Rules

On April 5, 2018, Chase instituted a new rule on the personal Southwest credit cards.

Now you cannot get a second personal Southwest card if either:

  1. You are a current Southwest consumer credit cardholder; or
  2. You have earned a new cardmember bonus on a Southwest consumer credit card in the last 24 months

This means the companion pass shortcut is no longer possible by getting two Southwest personal cards.

However, one personal card and one business card are possible to get at the same time!

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

The Southwest Plus Card might be considered a “starter card” amongst the 3 co-branded Southwest cards. This card comes with an annual fee of $69, which is lower than many cards that earn miles or points.

Every year you keep the card, you will receive 3,000 Rapid Rewards points after hitting your account anniversary. These points function almost like a partial rebate of the annual fee.

This card does incur a 3% fee on all foreign transactions, so you’ll want to stick to purchases in the United States. (If you travel a lot, make sure to use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees while you’re away!)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Heart
With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, you won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees while traveling abroad.

The Southwest Premier Card has a $99 annual fee but the added benefit of no foreign transaction fees. This makes the card particularly useful for those trips on Southwest Airlines to the Caribbean and Central America.

This card also comes with 6,000 Rapid Rewards points each year you keep the card, so it’s a 3,000-point bump from bonus provided by the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.

Additionally, the sign-up bonus for the Southwest Premier Card is often very similar to that of the Southwest Plus Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Small business owners don’t need to feel left out either. The Southwest Premier Business Card provides very similar benefits and perks as the Southwest Premier Card.

The annual fee is $99, there are no foreign transaction fees, and you receive a bonus of 6,000 Rapid Rewards points every year you keep the card.

Earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Nassau Bahamas lighthouse
Take a trip to the Bahamas and relax on the beach with a loved one or friend thanks to the Southwest Companion Pass.

Without a doubt, the most popular and useful perk offered by Southwest Airlines is the Companion Pass. To earn the Companion Pass, you must earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards points within a calendar year.

Once you have earned the Companion Pass, it kicks in immediately and you retain it through the end of the following year. You are even allowed to change your designated companion 3 times per calendar year. This means 4 different people can be listed as your companion at different times of the year if you choose.

In addition to the points you earn through flying with Southwest Airlines, all of the spending you put on any of the 3 co-branded Southwest credit cards will earn points that count toward the 125,000 you need for the Companion Pass.

Earning Southwest credit card sign-up bonuses even counts toward the 125,000 points. This means that getting just 1 of these cards and earning the sign-up bonus could potentially get you over halfway there! If you get 2 of them, you might even be able to earn the Companion Pass just through sign-up bonuses (note: see above that since April 5, 2018, you cannot get more than one consumer card at the same time, however, can get one consumer and one business card).

This is a fantastic benefit for anyone who plans to travel regularly with a companion to any of Southwest’s destinations. Being able to book a flight and fly 2-for-1 (just pay taxes and fees on your companion’s ticket) can make taking vacations easy.

Hot Tip: Check out how you can maximize the Companion Pass for some fun travel including many international destinations.

Earn Tier Points Toward A-List and A-List Preferred Status

While this will be more important to those who fly regularly, particularly for business travel, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card can both help you earn A-List and A-List Preferred status with Southwest.

With these cards, you will earn 1,500 tier points per $10,000 spent on the card (up to 15,000 tier points). This can get you almost halfway to A-List status, which requires 35,000 tier points. Add these tier points to what you already earn by flying Southwest Airlines and you’ll be well on your way.

Once you have A-List status, you’ll receive a number of benefits including a 25% bonus on points earned on your cash bookings with Southwest, priority check-in, a dedicated customer service line, and more.

For those who do a ton of travel, the ability to earn tier points through credit card spending can help get you to the 70,000 tier points required for A-List Preferred status.

With A-List Preferred status, you’ll receive a whopping 100% bonus on the points you earn on your paid Southwest tickets, a dedicated phone line, free inflight Wi-Fi, and more.

What Can You Do With Southwest Rapid Rewards Points?

Southwest Airlines has over 100 destinations across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. With so many options, you’ll have a hard time running out of places to explore!

Without a doubt, the best way to use Rapid Rewards points is in conjunction with the Companion Pass since you’ll be getting 2 tickets for the price of one.

To top it all off, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to your Rapid Rewards account if you ever need more points for a trip. The points you transfer won’t count toward earning the Companion Pass, but cards that earn Ultimate Rewards can help you earn points even faster.

Which Chase Southwest Card Should You Get?

If you want to earn the Companion Pass to really extract maximum value out of your Rapid Rewards points, then getting 2 of the co-branded Southwest credit cards is the smart move. Under current rules, that is one consumer card and one business card, not both consumer cards.

Between the personal cards, it comes down whether you will be traveling outside the U.S. If so, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card will prevent you from having to pay foreign transaction fees on purchases.

Final Thoughts

Southwest Airlines has earned a reputation as one of the most customer-friendly airlines in the U.S. market. For the millions who fly with them every year, choosing a co-branded credit card that can help earn tons of Rapid Rewards points will only make that experience even better.

After earning the Companion Pass with the help of these cards and taking some fun adventures with a loved one or friend, you might find yourself becoming a loyal Southwest flyer too.

Frequently asked questions

Do points earned with the Southwest Airlines credit cards count toward elite status?

No, the points earned with the Chase Southwest cards are redeemable for award flights but do not help you earn status.

Can you transfer Southwest Rapid Rewards points to other airlines or hotels?

No, Rapid Rewards must be used to book award flights with Southwest Airlines.

What points can be transferred to Rapid Rewards points?

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to Rapid Rewards almost instantly at a 1:1 ratio.

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Companion Pass allows you to book a flight for yourself and a designated companion for the price of one. You can book cash tickets and award flights to take advantage of this perk. You must earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards points within a calendar year to receive the Companion Pass.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. milton l. esparza June 8, 2018

    I have discussed the benefits of your card with my friend. How do I get a referral bonus when she signs up? What do I need to do?


  2. David Leonardi October 12, 2018

    I presently have the southwest plus credit card, can I upgrade to the new priority credit card and if I do do I get the new sign up bonus.


    • Hi David, no, you are not eligible for a sign-up bonus if you meet either of these criteria:

      1. You are currently a Southwest personal credit card holder (not business)
      2. You’ve received a sign-up bonus on a Southwest personal credit card within the last 24 months.

      If you want a Southwest credit card, consider going for the business credit card!


  3. James E Halloran October 18, 2018

    I received the bonus for 2 of the Southwest cards over 3 years ago. I recently closed the accounts so that I would no longer be a “current Chase Southwest cardholder” in an attempt to maintain my companion pass status. (I project I will be about 30,000 miles short). How long do these account needs to be closed before I can be eligible for a new one? Calls to Chase lead to the typical un-empowered representative that would love to answer that question, but they are not given that information. My initial attempt after 1 complete statement cycle with a zero balance and no activity was denied because I was still considered a current Chase Southwest card carrying member. I got this response on all 3 cards, even though I have never had the more recent Priority Card. They did not poll my credit, so did not get a “ding” for applying, but I would be nice to know how long it takes before I am again eligible.


    • Hey James, in the case of each Southwest card you’re referring to, you’ll need to wait 24 months from the day that you received your original sign up bonus. E.g. let’s say you received a sign up bonus for the Southwest Plus Card on Jan 1st 2017, provided that your card is not currently open anymore (i.e. the account is closed) you’ll be eligible to sign up to that card again and get the sign up bonus 24 months from that timeframe…which is Jan 1st 2019! Hope that helps.


  4. Carl V Vartian November 29, 2018

    I keep hearing about how to take advantage of Chase Southwest credit card sign up bonuses but I realize they are not available if I already have a card, which I’ve had for years.

    I have qualified for A-list and Companion Pass through Dec 31, 2019. Is it actually possible for me to close out my Chase Southwest Card now, wait a couple of months and in 2019 apply for a new SW Chase card and collect the sign-up bonus? Those points should apply toward the 110,000 points I need each year to qualify for the following year’s Companion Pass, right?


    • Hi Carl,

      You can’t collect the sign up bonus if you are a current cardmember or if you have collected a sign up bonus within the last 2 years. Here’s the wording from Southwest:

      The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.

      It sounds like you have had the card for more than 2 years. So, you should be able to cancel it, wait a few months then sign up for the card again to collect another sign up bonus.

      The Companion Pass is valid for the remainder of the year you earn it and the entire next year. Since you already have the Companion Pass through the end of 2019, you might want to consider holding off on getting the cards again until early 2020. If you earn the Companion pass in January 2020, it would be valid through December of 2021!

      Good luck and happy traveling!


  5. I have the SWA Priority card, and companion pass through December 2019. I plan on applying for the SWA Business card in December 2019, and then meeting the minimum spending amount to receive the bonus points in early 2020, in order to count toward companion pass. I will not be eligible to receive bonus sign up points on a consumer card by then, but my spouse has never had a consumer SWA card and is not an authorized user on my card. If he were to apply and receive a SWA card going into 2020, could my rapid rewards number be used on his account so that I would receive the bonus points on that card, counting toward renewed companion pass for 2020?


    • Hi Amanda,
      This is a really good question! Unfortunately I can’t find a clear answer on this one. My instinct tells me that this wouldn’t work. I would imagine that a new Rapid Rewards account might be created for your spouse once they tried to process your number was on his application. However, that is just my opinion – I couldn’t find a clear answer. Sorry I couldn’t clarify for you…but if you give it a try and it works, please let us know!!!


  6. Phillip LaRoche March 26, 2019

    I currently have a Southwest Rapid Rewards VISA Signature card with a Plus logo in the upper right corner. If I pay for a TSA Pre-check with this card will Southwest or VISA credit my account for the $85 TSA fee? My wife and I are meeting with TSA to finalize our TSA account.


    • Hi Phillip,
      No, none of the Southwest credit cards offer a TSA Precheck reimbursement. Cards that offer that benefit tend to be more of the “premium” cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Platinum Card from American Express.


  7. If I purchase SWA Gift Cards on the SWA website with my SWA Chase visa (any flavor) do these points/miles qualify towards Companion Pass? Hoping to get a CP in early 2020 by getting a Business SW visa – assuming that those points count towards Companion Pass at the time (the don’t count *today*, March 27, 2019, per the SW website) and then figure out the spending requirements to complete the 110K points. In the purchasing points scenario a $1K SWA GC purchased with the SWA Visa will net 2K points. (Of course there are better points multipliers from other cards, but the objective here is to *also* reach the min spending requirement on the new SW card).


    • Hey Sanja,

      Yes, these purchases should count, as they are points earned by making purchases with a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card. Thanks for reading.


  8. Hi
    Question: Does the points earned for purchasing a ticket using another credit card (not Southwest RR credit card), equal the points earned using a Southwest RR credit card to purchase the same ticket?
    How is Southwest Chase Priority credit card advantageous than Costo Citi Credit card?


    • Hi SG,
      With the Southwest Priority Card you will be earning 2x Rapid Rewards points on your Southwest purchase. The Costco card gives you 3% cash back on airline tickets. Would you rather have Southwest points (worth about 1.5-1.7 cents each) or straight cash back? Would you rather have upgraded boarding passes on SW or more bonus categories on the Costco card.

      Each card has benefits so you need to look at them head to head to decide which benefits are more important to you. Take a peek at this post — The Best Credit Cards for Southwest Flyers — it might help you decide which card is right for you.


      • Thanks Katie, when you book a ticket in SW airlines, you get points. Are these points same for booking the ticket using SW RR credit card or any other credit card? Is there a difference in using SW RR credit card to gain more points?


        • Hi SG,
          If you book a SW flight with any credit card, you will earn Southwest points for the flight itself (regardless of what credit card you use). You can double dip by using the SW credit card to purchase your flight and you will earn an additional 2 points per dollar.


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