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The Best Southwest Credit Cards of 2022

With perks that set Southwest Airlines apart from the rest — including the ability to choose your seat during boarding, check two free bags, change or cancel your trip without incurring a fee (although you will have to pay the difference if your new fare is higher) and enjoy flight credits and rewards points that never expire — it’s no wonder the carrier is so popular among travelers.

Southwest Airlines currently offers flights to 121 airports throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well as internationally to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, making it a great option for families, couples, solo and business travelers looking to get away.

The carrier is also known for its Southwest Companion Pass, which lets you bring a friend or family member along with you on any domestic or international Southwest flight for just the price of taxes and fees (usually just $5.60 per person for a one-way U.S. flight). Qualifying requires racking up at least 125,000 qualifying Rapid Rewards® points in a calendar year (135,000 points starting in 2023), and once you do, it’ll be valid for the rest of the year you’ve earned it as well as the whole following year. And starting in 2023, those with a co-branded Southwest credit card will automatically get 10,000 Companion Pass Qualifying points at the beginning of every calendar year.

The easiest way to jump-start your journey to redeeming Rapid Rewards® points for a free flight is to sign up for one of the airline’s cobranded credit cards, or — if snagging the Companion Pass is not your main goal — a travel rewards card that lets you accumulate transferable points that can then be moved to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® loyalty program.

Below, Select details the best credit cards for casual and frequent Southwest flyers — and those who prefer to transfer their points to Southwest Rapid Rewards® from other rewards programs.

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Best credit cards for Southwest flyers

Best overall

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Rewards

    $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    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 Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    18.24% – 25.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Who’s this for? If you love traveling and dining and want to rack up Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which can be transferred to Southwest, among other airlines, at a 1:1 ratio, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could be a great choice. It is currently offering 60,000 bonus points as a welcome bonus after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. Those points are worth about $750 when redeemed for travel through the Chase travel portal.

Once approved, you can earn 5X points per dollar for travel booked via Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 5X points per dollar on Lyft rides now through Mar. 31, 2025; 3X points per dollar for dining, online grocery shopping (except Target®, Walmart® and other wholesale clubs) and using certain streaming services; 2X points per dollar for all other travel spending; and 1X point per dollar for all other purchases.

While the card does come with a modest $95 annual fee, there are no foreign transaction fees. Its considerable list of travel benefits includes collision damage waivers for car rentals, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, a 10% points boost to celebrate each card anniversary and a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® Hotel Credit. You’ll also score special perks with Instacart+, DoorDash, GoPuff and more.

Point transfers from Ultimate Rewards® to Southwest are usually instant. Just note that transferred points do not count qualify toward earning the Companion Pass. Alternatively, you can redeem your points toward Southwest flights at a value of 1.25 cents per point by calling the Chase Travel Center.

Best for occasional Southwest flyers

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare; 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming; 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    New Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Who’s this for? The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is for fans of Southwest who don’t fly often but are still looking to earn points to redeem for free flights when they do. With a modest annual fee of $99 and a welcome bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 within the first three months of account membership, it’s a a solid option, even if you don’t hit the skies much or have no intention of pursuing the Companion Pass (though points earned with this card count toward qualifying).

The card lets you earn 3X points per dollar spent with Southwest; 2X points per dollar spent with its hotel and rental car partners through Rapid Rewards®; 2X points per dollar spent on ride-share services, commuting and transit purchases; 2X points per dollar spent on certain streaming, cable, phone and internet services; and 1X points per dollar spent elsewhere. So, even if you only fly with Southwest a few times a year, you’ll be racking up Rapid Rewards® points in no time.

Celebrate each anniversary with 6,000 points, as well as perks such as no foreign transaction fees, two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year, 25% back for in-flight purchases and 1,500 tier-qualifying points toward A-List status every time you spend $10,000.

Best for frequent Southwest flyers

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare; 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming; 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    New Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Who’s this for? If you’re a die-hard Southwest frequent flyers who love everything about the airline, appreciate upgrades and are working toward A-List status or the Companion Pass, look no further than the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. New cardholders can currently earn a welcome bonus of 50,000 points when they spend $1,000 within the first three months of account opening. Those points count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass.

While there is a hefty $149 annual fee, there are no foreign transaction fees and you’ll have access to benefits such as a $75 Southwest annual travel credit, four upgraded boardings per year (based on availability), 25% back on in-flight purchases, 1,500 tier-qualifying points toward A-List status each time you spend $10,000 and 7,500 points each anniversary.

Like the Southwest Premier Card, the Southwest Priority Card lets you earn 3X points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases; 2X points per dollar spent with partners when you book hotels and car rentals via Rapid Rewards®; 2X points per dollar spent on commuting, ride-sharing services and transit; 2X points per dollar spent on certain phone, internet, cable and streaming services; and 1X points per dollar for all other spending.

Best for a low annual fee

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare; 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming; 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    New Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Who’s this for? The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is perfect for travelers who love flying with Southwest but are looking for a low-annual-fee card to help them earn more Rapid Rewards® points. The carrier does not currently have a no-annual-fee card, so this one, with a reasonable $69 annual fee, is your best bet.

New cardholders can earn a welcome bonus of 50,000 points when they sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and spend $1,000 within the first three months of account opening — those points also count toward the Companion Pass, if that’s your end goal.

In addition to the 3,000 points you’ll get for each anniversary, you’ll earn 2X points per dollar spent with Southwest, as well as for any hotels or rental cars booked with partners via Rapid Rewards® and 1X points per dollar spent on other purchases. The card also gives you 2X points per dollar spent on ride-share services, commuting, and local transit, and 2X points per dollar spent on certain streaming, cable, phone and internet services. Additional perks include two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year and the ability to earn 25% back on in-flight purchases made with the card.

Best for racking up transferable points

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Rewards

    Earn 5X total points on flights and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases plus, 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Who’s this for? Anyone who wants to take advantage of a particularly lucrative welcome bonus and unlock luxury travel benefits should consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. For a limited time, new cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account membership, which translates to about $1,200 in rewards when you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. You could transfer these points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio, or over a dozen other travel partners, such as World of Hyatt and United MileagePlus.

The card lets you earn 5X points per dollar on flights and 10X points on hotels and rental cars when they’re booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (after your first $300 in travel-related purchases), making it an ideal pick for frequent travelers. You’ll also earn 10X points per dollar through Chase Dining, 5X points on Lyft rides through Mar. 31, 2025, 3X points per dollar for all other travel and dining purchases including takeout and delivery and 1X point per dollar for any other spending.

There is a high $550 annual fee, but in turn, cardholders receive a $300 annual travel credit; a suite of travel and purchase protections; a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit; Priority Pass airport lounge access; extra benefits when you book a rental car with Avis, National Car Rental or Silvercar; VIP access to events and experiences; and special perks such as free daily breakfast, late checkout and room upgrades when you book a stay through The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.

Best for small business owners

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 4X points on Southwest® purchases; 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners; 2X points on rideshare; 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services; 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

  • Annual fee

    $199 applied to first billing statement

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Who’s this for? The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is for small business owners looking to rack up Rapid Rewards® points by flying with Southwest, spending with its travel partners and paying for other business-related expenses. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 80,000 points (which count toward the Companion Pass) after new cardholders spend $5,000 within the first three months of account membership.

There is a $199 annual fee, but it’s tax-deductible and the perks make up for it. Once approved, you’ll receive four upgraded boardings per year (based on availability), up to 365 in-flight Wi-Fi credits per year, $500 worth of fee credits to cover points transfers annually and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit. Cardmembers can also add extra cards for their employees for free, have no foreign transaction fees and score 1,500 tier-qualifying points toward A-List status whenever they spend $10,000.

In addition to picking up 9,000 points each year on your card anniversary, you can earn 4X points per dollar spent with Southwest Airlines; 3X points per dollar spent on hotel stays and rental cars booked via Rapid Rewards®; 2X points per dollar spent on advertising through search engines and social media, and for cable, phone and internet services; 2X points per dollar spent on transit, ride-sharing services and commuting; and 1X points per dollar spent for all other spend.

Best for small business owners with a low annual fee

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases; 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare; 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners; 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Who’s this for? The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is for small business owners seeking benefits similar to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card — and maybe a shot at the Companion Pass — but with a lower annual fee of $99. New cardholders can currently earn a welcome bonus of 60,000 Rapid Rewards® points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening.

You’ll also have access to perks such as two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year, 25% back for in-flight purchases, 1,500 tier-qualifying points toward A-List status each time they spend $10,000 and a $500 fee credit to cover points transfers per year. There are no foreign transaction fees for using the card abroad and there is no extra fee to add more cards for employees.

This card also rewards you with 6,000 points each year for your anniversary and lets you earn 3X points per dollar spent with Southwest Airlines; 2X points per dollar spent on rental cars and hotels booked through Rapid Rewards® and other travel partners; 2X points per dollar spent on ride-share services, transiting and commuting; and 1X points per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Best for small business owners with larger budgets

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in select categories each account anniversary year (travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines), 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Who’s this for? Small business owners who tend to spend more and are looking for a card with transferable rewards points, which can be used for flights with airline partners such as Southwest. The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 100,000 bonus points after new cardholders spend $15,000 within the first three months of account opening, which translates to about $1,250 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 

With a modest annual fee of $95, you’ll be able to earn 3X points per dollar on your first $150,000 worth of spending in business categories such as travel; shipping; cable, phone and internet services; and advertising expenses — then an unlimited 1X points per dollar for all other purchases.

Redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® or by transferring them to Chase’s travel partners, including Southwest Airlines. The card also offers fraud and purchase protections and additional employee cards to help you stay on top of all your business needs.

Transferring Chase points to Southwest Rapid Rewards

Things to consider before applying for a Southwest credit card

Earning the Southwest Companion Pass

Bottom line

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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