How Do the Southwest Credit Cards Stack Up

I want to make it very clear that I love Flying with Southwest Airlines.  I am using them a lot this year.  They are a good option for me when traveling to visit my son in Texas.  Recently, my daughter and I flew to Oregon and my husband and I will be flying their new route to Hawaii in October.  There are a lot of great things Southwest offers to us as customers and I respect the way they do business.  I just wish I was more enthused about their Rapid Rewards credit cards.

 

Picking a Travel Rewards Card

When I sign up for a travel rewards credit card, it’s to help me earn more rewards  at a faster rate to used for my travels.  Deciding which cards usually comes down to a couple of key factors.

  • An amazing sign up bonus offer
  • To start earning universal points that I can later transfer to other loyalty programs in order to get rewards faster
  • To increase the number of points I can earn with a specific company so that I can get rewards faster

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Card

Choosing the Southwest Rapid Rewards card, was a combination of my loyalty to Southwest Airlines matched with a very useful sign up bonus.  The bonus was for 30,000 points PLUS a Companion Pass for the year (which I am thoroughly enjoying).

But when I look at the perks and benefits of my Southwest Credit Card, they are not that exciting.  Southwest cards are issued from Chase who handles a lot of credit cards that are site specific like the IHG hotels card, the World of Hyatt card, the Marriott Bonvoy card, the United Explorer Mileage Plus card and a few other airlines cards as well.  You get it…..Chase covers a lot of travel card bases.

Most of their cards have a host of perks and benefits as well as a nice points rate for using the card at the host site. For example, I get 10 points per dollar for using my IHG card to pay for a stay at one of their hotels.  It totally makes it worth having that card when you add in the fact that I also get 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. Additionally, you get an anniversary night free each year and your 4th night free when you redeem points for stays of 4 or more nights or more.  All for a $99 annual fee.  It is a nice blend of perks and bonus point categories which entice me to use this card.

The Southwest card earns 1 point per dollar on all purchases without any additional elevated points categories (like groceries, dining, anything really).  It does earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and purchases made from their hotel and car rental partners.  Yes, I said it.  Only 2 POINTS PER DOLLAR on self branded purchases.  Hello Chase & Southwest, you really need to get together and sweeten the pot for people to want to use this card over others with higher points earning potential.

Annual fees range from $69 to $149 with very little differences between the cards. The only other perk  this card offers is an annual points bonus which varies between 3,000 and 7,500 points depending on the type of Southwest card you have.

 

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Sorry Southwest Card……this card is so boring that I dozed off for a minute there.

 

My Final Thoughts

I admit, that I have thoroughly enjoyed my Companion pass this year which has allowed me to travel more frequently and book a 4 segment round trip to Hawaii for only the cost of taxes and fees.  I plan to continue using my card for now whenever I make flight reservations with Southwest, but I can’t find any other real reasons to use this card over other cards which offer much higher points returns.

It seems like they could at least offer a higher points bonus earnings category for  their own Southwest brand purchases. (Eye roll)  I want to be loyal to your card, but…………..You have to give me a carrot!  

We shall see next year if I find enough value in my Southwest card to continue paying the annual fee.  I hope they make a few adjustments to their program benefits (like some other travel credit cards have recently done) so that I will want to keep this card long term.  I like both Chase and Southwest and really want to be loyal.

 

Dream, Plan, Save, Adventure!