Southwest Airlines is more than just a low-cost carrier; it has a reputation among travelers for excellent customer service and offering low-cost flights to popular destinations. You can also fly Southwest to destinations like Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Cancún, Belize, Aruba, and Hawaii.
If you love using miles to pay for flights, you are in luck. Southwest has an easy-to-use frequent flyer program called Rapid Rewards. One element of this program that stands out is that there are no blackout dates; if a seat is available on a flight, you can use miles to purchase a seat on that flight.
There are many ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Not surprisingly, one of the best ways to earn points fast is with a credit card. This article will highlight all of the credit cards that will help you earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points and can help you decide what credit card might be best for you.
Why Fly on Southwest Airlines?
If you are a frequent Southwest Airlines customer, you know why they are a favorite among frequent travelers. If you have never flown Southwest, you might be wondering what all the hype is about and if you should give them a try.
Here are just a few reasons why Southwest is so popular among travelers:
The Best Credit Cards for Southwest Flyers
Credit cards are the best way to earn points or miles fast. In addition to great sign-up bonuses, many cards earn 2x or 3x in select bonus categories. Putting your everyday spending on the right credit card can ensure you have plenty of points to book your next flight.
There are 3 categories of cards that earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points or earn points that can be transferred to Southwest Rapid Rewards.
- Southwest Airlines credit cards
- Chase credit cards that earn transferable Ultimate Rewards points
- Marriott Bonvoy credit cards that earn transferable Marriott Bonvoy points
Hot Tip: Looking for even more ways to earn lots of Southwest Rapid Rewards points but don’t have any flights planned? Check out our guide to earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points without even flying.
Southwest Credit Cards
Southwest offers 5 different credit cards — 3 personal and 2 business — backed by Chase.
There are a few things to keep in mind when looking at Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards:
- These cards are subject to Chase’s unspoken 5/24 rule. If you aren’t familiar with this rule, it appears that Chase is not likely to approve you for another Chase credit card if you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards, regardless of carrier, within the last 24 months.
- Southwest will not grant you a sign-up bonus on a personal Southwest credit card if you already are a Southwest cardholder or if you previously were a cardholder and earned a sign-up bonus within the last 24 months.
- You can earn a sign-up bonus on a personal Southwest card and a Southwest business card without waiting 24 months.
Recommended Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards
Hot Tip: For a head-to-head comparison of Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards, check out the best Chase Southwest credit cards, comparing the benefits and perks of each.
Other Chase Credit Cards
Ultimate Rewards Earning Chase Credit Cards
Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio. Since the points transfer nearly instantly, this means you can earn and use your Ultimate Rewards points quickly on award travel.
Chase offers some of the best travel rewards credit cards available. The credit cards earn flexible points that can be transferred to hotel and airline partners, including Southwest. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can also be redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal for 1 to 1.5 cents a point, depending on which Chase credit card you have.
Keep in mind a few things when looking to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Airlines:
- When you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your points are worth 1.5 cents per point if redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Since this rate is slightly higher than the 1:1 ratio you get when you transfer points to Southwest, you will want to price out your trip on both the Chase travel portal and through Southwest.com. Sometimes, it might be cheaper to book through the Chase travel portal.
- These cards are also subject to the Chase 5/24 rule mentioned above.
Recommended Chase Ultimate Rewards-Earning Credit Cards
Bottom Line: Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred into Southwest Rapid Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio.
Chase’s Cash-Back Credit Cards
Chase offers a line of cash-back cards that have big earning potential.
Be aware that if you have a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card, or Ink Business Preferred card, you can turn your cash-back from these cards into transferable Ultimate Rewards points, which can be more valuable.
For example, you can earn 1.5% cash-back on non-bonuses categories with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. But if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you could be earning 1.5 points per dollar instead. These points can then be transferred to Southwest Airlines at a 1:1 ratio.
Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards
Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to many different airlines, including Southwest. Unfortunately, Marriott’s transfer ratio to most airlines is 3:1; that means that for every 3 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred, you only get 1 Southwest Rapid Rewards point.
Marriott does offer a 5,000-point bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer, so if you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you will get 20,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points plus a bonus of 5,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 25,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
While it might not be the best avenue to use your Marriott Bonvoy points, if you would rather have Southwest Rapid Rewards points than Marriott Bonvoy points, this can be a good opportunity to boost your Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards
The following credit cards all earn Marriott Bonvoy points. You can transfer these points into Southwest Rapid Rewards points at a 3:1 ratio. You will also get a 5,000-point bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer.
Bottom Line: Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Southwest at a 3:1 ratio. For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer, you will get a 5,000-point bonus. This means that 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points would turn into 25,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
American Express Credit Cards
If you are in a pinch, and really need Southwest Rapid Rewards points, you can earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points by transferring your Membership Rewards points with American Express.
This is not the best use for your Membership Rewards points, so this is something you would only want to do to top off your account for a specific redemption.
To do this, you would first transfer your American Express Membership Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy. These will transfer at a 1:1 ratio. Then you can transfer those Marriott Bonvoy points to Southwest Rapid Rewards at the 3:1 ratio mentioned above. That means that for every 3 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer you will only get 1 Southwest Rapid Rewards point.
It’s not a great deal, but it’s always good to know all of your options in a pinch.
The Best Card To Earn Southwest Points for Every Type of Traveler
|Type of Traveler||Recommended Card for Earning Southwest Points|
|A casual traveler who uses Southwest a couple of times a year||Chase Sapphire Preferred card: Stick with flexible points that can be transferred to Southwest, or any other Chase hotel or airline partner, any time you need them.|
|A frequent flyer on Southwest Airlines||Southwest Priority card: This card earns 2x on Southwest purchases and includes 4 upgraded boarding passes and a $75 Southwest credit each year.|
|A traveler who values perks like priority boarding, inflight drinks, and Wi-Fi discounts||Southwest Priority card: This card includes 4 upgraded boarding passes plus a 20% rebate on inflight drinks and Wi-Fi purchases.|
|A traveler who rarely uses Southwest Airlines||Chase Sapphire Preferred card: This is one of the best overall travel rewards cards out there. It offers strong earning potential plus flexibility when it comes to using your points.|
|A business owner who only uses Southwest a couple of times a year||Ink Business Preferred card: Stick with flexible points that can be transferred to Southwest, or any other Chase hotel or airline partner, any time you need them. This card also offers lots of perks for business owners.|
|A business owner who flies on Southwest Airlines often||Ink Business Preferred card: This card earns 3 points per $1 spent (up to $150,000) each year on purchases in the multiple bonus categories including travel.|
|A business owner who wants A-List status on Southwest Airlines||Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card: This card earns tier qualifying points towards A-list status.|
|Any traveler who wants to earn the Southwest Companion Pass||Any of the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards. Points earned from any of the 4 Southwest credit cards will count towards the 125,000 points needed to earn the Companion Pass.|
Southwest Airlines is a customer favorite for many reasons like its easy-to-use Rapid Rewards program, no checked bag or change fees, and great customer service. It’s no wonder why lots of different types of travelers fly Southwest every day.
No matter how often you fly Southwest Airlines, there is a great credit card out there to help you earn lots of Rapid Rewards.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.