For ease of use and flexibility, the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program beats the other airlines hands down. The airline also offers two free checked bags per passenger on flights, even without carrying a credit card, making Southwest a great choice for families.
Rewards: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card earns 2 Southwest Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on Southwest flight and related purchases and 1 Southwest Rapid Reward point per dollar on all other purchases.
Annual Fee: $149
Welcome Offer: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Other Benefits and Drawbacks: You could choose another airline card, but we like Southwest Airlines’ card because of its straightforward method of redemption: the cost of flights on points is pegged to the cost of flights in cash, with 1 Rapid Reward point being worth around 1.6 cents. This means you are not desperately searching for award flight availability on peak dates. You might pay more, but you can always find a flight on points.
Southwest also doesn’t charge change fees and allows you to rebook your flights if the price goes down. However, Southwest’s lack of assigned seating is a turn-off for some.
The Southwest Priority Card also offers a $75 Southwest annual travel credit each year, 7,500 bonus Southwest points each year on your cardmember anniversary, four upgraded boarding opportunities per year and 20% back on inflight purchases.
If you can combine this card with a business card, you would be well on your way to earning the 125,000 Rapid Rewards point total needed to earn a Southwest Companion Pass. The ability to take someone with you free of charge on every flight you take could save you thousands of dollars.
If you are not a Southwest Flyer, check out the United℠ TravelBank Card*. The Travelbank card offers a lucrative 1.5% United Travelbank cash return on all purchases. A United credit card might also be a better choice if you do a lot of International travel due to United’s larger network. Check out Forbes’ review of the Southwest Priority Card here.