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Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Southwest Plus Card [Detailed Comparison]

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Some of Chase’s most popular cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of our favorite beginner credit cards, while the Southwest Plus card is a fantastic choice for Southwest loyalists.

Even though these 2 credit cards are both issued by Chase, each offers specific features and benefits that will be advantageous for different types of travelers. For this reason, it can often get confusing as to whether you should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Southwest Plus card.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make that informed decision!

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Southwest Plus Card — Overview

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Southwest Plus card both offer outsized benefits and perks relative to their annual fee; so what’s the difference between the 2 cards?

Here’s a comparison of what to expect with each card:

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Benefit

Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Earning Potential

  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases through March 31, 2025
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $250 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining
  • 3x points on online grocery purchases
  • 3x points on select streaming purchases
  • 2x points on other travel purchases
  • 1x points on other purchases
  • 2x points on Southwest purchases, including flight, inflight, and Southwest gift cards
  • 2x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2x points on local transit and commuting purchases
  • 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases
  • 1x points on other purchases

Redemption Options

  • Transfers to airline and hotel partners
  • Bookings made with points through Chase Travel
  • Pay Yourself Back
  • Gift cards
  • Online shopping
  • Cash-back/statement credits
  • Amazon.com purchases
  • Southwest flights
  • Rapid Rewards Access Events
  • Rental cars
  • Hotel stays
  • International flights
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Experiential rewards

Airline Program Benefits

None

  • 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins per year
  • 25% back on Southwest inflight purchases
  • 3,000 points after every cardmember anniversary year

Statement Credits

  • $50 Ultimate Rewards hotel credit annually

None

Travel Benefits and Protections

  • Primary rental car insurance
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Secondary rental car insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance services (Visa Signature only)
  • Roadside dispatch

Shopping Benefits and Protections

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty

Annual Fees

$95$69

A nuance to remember is that the table above is meant to be an overview — there are different levels of coverage within specific benefits, such as travel accident insurance coverage amounts.

Also, terms apply in order to use some of the benefits associated with each card. To get a comprehensive picture of the terms and conditions, you’ll want to log into your Chase online account and view the benefits guide for each perk you’re looking into.

The Value of a Welcome Offer

One of the most attractive features of a credit card is its welcome bonus, which is also sometimes referred to as an introductory bonus.

Typically, a welcome offer is earned by new cardmembers after meeting a spending requirement within the first few months after opening the card.

Both of these cards offer welcome bonuses. In the case of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn are worth an average of 2.0 cents each, while the points earned from the Southwest Plus card are worth an average of 1.3 cents each.

Here are the current bonuses on each card:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

GREAT STARTER CARD
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A fantastic travel card with a great welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
A fantastic travel card with a great welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
60,000 points
$1,200
$95
21.49%-28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros
  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49%-28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Southwest Plus Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card makes it easy to earn unlimited points and qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
This card makes it easy to earn unlimited points and qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.
Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 50,000 Points
$650
$69
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

If you spend a lot of time in the air, it’s important to get a great deal on your plane tickets.

Southwest Airlines can help you get those deals.

One way to save is by using the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. This card helps you earn points for all your spending, and earning more reward points is always a good thing for a busy traveler!

Pros
  • 2x points per $1 on Southwest purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
  • 2x points per $1 on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
Cons
  • $69 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Southwest Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Program

Bottom Line: In most cases, the welcome offer from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card will be more valuable than the welcome offer from the Southwest Plus card. However, both cards offer generous welcome bonuses.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

Southwest Inseat Power
Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Southwest Rapid Rewards points can both be used to book Southwest flights. Image Credit: Southwest Airlines

As we evaluate Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Southwest Rapid Rewards points, you’ll see that Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used to book any Southwest flight.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points have the same utility as Southwest points, but they can also be used more flexibly for luxury award travel if you ever plan on flying an airline besides Southwest.

Before we dive into that, though, let’s look at the earning potential from both of these cards:

Earning Potential

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We value Chase points at an average of 2.0 cents each and Southwest points at an average of 1.3 cents each, which makes Chase points significantly more valuable than Southwest points.

As you can also tell from the table above, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns more points on most everyday purchases including dining and travel, which underscores the value proposition for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card from a return on spending perspective.

Indeed, the only categories in which the Southwest Plus card outperforms the Chase Sapphire Preferred card are local transit and commuting, as well as internet, cable, and phone services. However, these purchases could qualify under the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s 2x for all other travel. According to Chase, “Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.” So, some of your transit and commuting charges could earn 2x with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Even so, 2x Southwest points are worth a 2.6% average return on spending, while 1x Chase points is still a 2.0% average return on spending.

Bottom Line: Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the superior choice compared to the Southwest Plus card for earning points. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — 10% Anniversary Earning Bonus

Another benefit that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers is a 10% bonus of points earned every cardmember anniversary based on the total dollars spent.

For example, if you spend $50,000 on your card, you’d get a bonus of 5,000 points after renewing your card every year.

Redemption Options

When it comes to the different ways you can use your points, your Southwest Rapid Rewards points will be significantly hindered in terms of which flights you can book and actually get great value from.

Meanwhile, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are incredibly valuable — they can be used to book not just Southwest flights, but also luxury award travel through a variety of airline and hotel partners, whether you want to book the Park Hyatt New York or Emirates first class.

Best of all, Chase is transfer partners with Southwest at a 1:1 ratio, which means you can transfer Chase points to Southwest whenever you need to!

In addition, Chase allows you to get bonus redemption value in 2 ways:

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll get a 25% redemption bonus at the Chase Travel portal, which equates to a 1.25 cent-per-point redemption value. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can also be used for statement credits, gift cards, Amazon.com purchases, online shopping, and more.

Southwest points will have the best value when you book tickets through Southwest, usually around 1.5 cents per point in value. However, if you choose to redeem points for flights on other airlines, hotels, rental cars, gift cards, online shopping, and experiences, you’ll only get a maximum of 1 cent per point in value, which is paltry.

Bottom Line: By earning Southwest points only instead of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you’d severely limit the value you’d be able to get from your points. We always recommend earning Chase points — if you ever need Southwest points, just transfer them from Chase at a 1:1 ratio!

Southwest Airlines Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t come with any Southwest-specific benefits.

The Southwest Plus card comes with 3 main benefits specific to Southwest:

  • Anniversary bonus of 3,000 Rapid Rewards points after each cardmember anniversary
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins per year
  • 25% back on all Southwest inflight purchases

Since we value Rapid Rewards points at an average of 1.3 cents each, earning an anniversary bonus of 3,000 points every year is like getting $39 in points every year.

EarlyBird Check-In is a benefit that Southwest offers to automatically check-in before the normal 24-hour check-in period. With EarlyBird Check-In, you’ll get an earlier boarding position, a better opportunity to select your preferred seat from boarding earlier, and earlier access to overhead bins.

Lastly, if you make an inflight purchase aboard a Southwest flight, you’ll get a 25% statement credit back when you use your Southwest Plus card — so if you spend $10 on Southwest inflight purchases, you’ll get back $2.50.

Statement Credits

When you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can utilize:

The Ultimate Rewards hotel credit is easy to use — just book your paid hotel stay through the Chase Travel portal, and you’ll get up to $50 back every cardmember anniversary year.

Although the Southwest Plus card doesn’t have statement credit benefits every year, it’s worth reiterating that you’ll get a bonus of 3,000 points every cardmember anniversary year and 25% back on Southwest inflight purchases.

Travel Benefits and Protections

Insurance
Image Credit: Vlad Deep via Unsplash

To adequately protect yourself while traveling, you’ll want to pay for travel expenses using a credit card that offers the best coverage.

So whether you’re booking a car rental or paying for plane tickets, the right credit card can help save you thousands of dollars in the long run through reimbursements if you experience an adverse event.

In this section, we compare the travel insurance benefits offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to those offered by the Southwest Plus card.

Rental Car Insurance

The Southwest Plus card’s rental car coverage is secondary, which means it kicks in after you file a claim with your primary insurance, first.

Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s rental car insurance policy includes primary coverage.

To get coverage on either card, you’ll need to pay for your rental reservation using your card and decline the car rental company’s collision damage waiver/loss damage waiver (CDW/LDW) to activate the coverage.

Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers trip interruption and cancellation insurance, while the Southwest Plus card does not.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and use it to pay for your common carrier ticket, you can get reimbursed up to $10,000 per person or $20,000 per trip due to illness, severe weather, or other covered reasons.

Trip Delay Reimbursement

Trip delay insurance is another travel protection that is offered to Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders but not Southwest Plus cardholders.

On delays of more than 12 hours or where an overnight stay is required, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card can get you reimbursements for up to $500 per ticket with a maximum of 1 claim per trip.

Baggage Delay Insurance

The Southwest Plus card offers you up to $100 per day towards the purchase of essential items if you check a bag and your flight is delayed by more than 6 hours.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has the same policy.

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

With the Southwest Plus card, you’re eligible to receive up to $3,000 per passenger in reimbursements if your luggage is lost or damaged by the airline.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card shares the same lost luggage reimbursement policy.

Travel Accident Insurance

The Southwest Plus card offers up to $500,000 in travel accident insurance if you have the Visa Signature version and up to $250,000 in travel accident insurance if you have the Visa Platinum version.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card also offers up to $500,000 in travel accident insurance.

Roadside Dispatch

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Southwest Plus card have a benefit called Roadside Dispatch, which is essentially a basic roadside assistance perk. It offers coverage for specific services at a pre-negotiated rate of $69.95 per service call.

Currently, coverage for both cards includes:

  • Fuel delivery (up to 5 gallons, plus the cost of fuel)
  • Jump starting
  • Lockout service (key replacement not included)
  • Standard towing (up to 5 miles)
  • Standard winching
  • Tire changing (must have a good, inflated spare)

Travel and Emergency Assistance Services

When it comes to the Southwest Plus card, you are also provided travel and emergency assistance services, but only if you have the Visa Signature version of the card. Those with the Visa Platinum version do not get travel and emergency assistance services.

You’ll get travel and emergency assistance services with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, too.

Here are some of the benefits included for yourself, your spouse, and any dependent children under 22 years old traveling with you when you use the Visa Signature version of the Southwest Plus card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred card:

  • Emergency message service
  • Emergency ticket replacement
  • Emergency translation service
  • Emergency transportation assistance
  • Legal referral assistance
  • Lost luggage locator service
  • Medical referral assistance
  • Pre-trip assistance
  • Prescription assistance and valuable document delivery

These services are accessible 24/7, 365 days per year for those who hold either card, but just keep in mind that these benefits are for referrals and assistance only — any services or charges incurred are your sole responsibility.

Shopping Benefits and Protections

Both of these cards offer some level of protection while you’re swiping beyond travel expenses.

Purchase Protection

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you have access to a purchase protection policy that covers a timeframe of up to 120 days after purchase, $500 per item, and $50,000 per calendar year.

The purchase protection coverage you get on the Southwest Plus card is identical to that of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, whether you’re approved for the Visa Signature or Visa Platinum version of the card.

Extended Warranty

Both the Southwest Plus card and Chase Sapphire Preferred card offer the same extended warranty protection.

This policy offers 1 additional year on eligible original warranties of 3 years or less with a maximum claim amount of $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year.

So if you purchase an item with an eligible warranty of 1 year, you’ll receive 1 extra year for a total of 2 years.

On the other hand, if you purchase an item with an eligible warranty of 5 years, you will not receive any additional protection.

Foreign Transaction Fees

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has no foreign transaction fees, while the Southwest Plus card has a 3% foreign transaction fee.

That means if you spend $1,000 while traveling abroad, you’ll save $30 by using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card instead of the Southwest Plus card.

Annual Fees and Authorized Users

Annual Fees

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has an annual fee of $95, while the Southwest Plus card has an annual fee of $69.

Adding Authorized Users

There are no additional annual fees for adding authorized users to either card.

Final Thoughts

Having the right credit card in your wallet can earn you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in value every single year.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Southwest Plus card are 2 of the most popular credit cards offered by Chase, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is superior to the Southwest Plus card in almost every way.

To start off, you can earn up to 5x points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, while the Southwest Plus card only earns you a maximum of 2x points. Again, not taking into account the 10% anniversary bonus you get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Also, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are way more valuable than Southwest points.

Every year, you can also get some statement credit benefits that further contribute to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s value proposition. That’s not to say that the 3,000-point anniversary bonus from the Southwest Plus card isn’t useful — it just doesn’t add as much value.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll get better travel protections, as well.

The only area in which the Southwest Plus card outperforms the Chase Sapphire Preferred card would be the marginal Southwest-specific benefits, including the 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins every year and 25% statement credit back on Southwest inflight purchases.

Other than that, the show is stolen completely by the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, top-to-bottom, all the way down to the no foreign transaction fees compared to the Southwest Plus card’s 3% foreign transaction fee.

All in all, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the card to get between these 2 options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred card work with Southwest?

Yes, you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest to book reward flights on Southwest.

Is it worth transferring points from Chase to Southwest?

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, it’s worth it. However, we wouldn’t recommend transferring more points than you need to Southwest. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, it probably isn’t worth it because you can book flights directly through the Chase travel portal for better value than if you were to transfer points to Southwest.

What credit score is needed for the Southwest Plus card?

In general, you’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for the Southwest Plus card, which is usually a credit score between 700 and 850.

Do Southwest Plus card points expire?

Southwest Rapid Rewards points do not expire.

Does the Southwest Plus card give you priority boarding?

The Southwest Plus card does not give you Upgraded Boardings. However, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card gives 4 Upgraded Boardings every year (when available).

How fast do Chase points transfer to Southwest?

Chase points transfer instantly to Southwest.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card worth the annual fee?

We absolutely believe the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is worth the annual fee. The value of the rewards you’ll earn every year will pay for the annual fee multiple times over. Plus, there are a handful of unique benefits that add value to the card, including the $50 Ultimate Rewards hotel credit.

Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offer TSA PreCheck?

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About Stephen Au

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used by hundreds of clients.

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