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Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Plus Card Review

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PROS / This card offers you free bag check for your first and second bags.

CONS / You are charged a 3% fee for every purchase you make when traveling internationally.

 VERDICT / The Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Plus Card has an annual fee and doesn't include as many travel benefits as many of the other air miles credit cards we reviewed.

The Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Plus Card from Chase Bank lets you earn one point for every dollar you spend, with the additional option to earn double points on purchases made through Southwest and the hotels and car rental companies that it partners with. This air miles credit card offers a generous sign-up bonus for new card members. If you spend $1,000 in the first three months, Chase gives you 25,000 bonus points, which is enough for an average round-trip ticket, although certain restrictions apply.

This mileage credit card lacks many of the travel benefits that the best airline miles credit cards offer card members. It doesn't give you priority boarding, VIP lounge access, in-flight discounts or access to concierge services. The benefits of this card include no blackout dates that might restrict the usability of your points when booking your travel and the option of redeeming your points for international flights. The best travel benefit this card provides is that your first and second checked bags fly for free.

Most of the key features that you need when you travel are included with the Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Plus Card. When you use your card to purchase your flight or other travel fare, you are automatically eligible for travel accident insurance, rental car insurance and lost luggage reimbursement. Additionally, this card offers 24/7 roadside assistance, zero liability and purchase protection.

This air miles credit card doesn’t offer an introductory annual percentage rate; however, the APR for purchases and balance transfers is respectable. When you use this card to make purchases or transfer a balance, you can expect to be charged 15.24% Variable APR for those transactions. The rate is higher for cash advance transactions, at 19.24% Variable APR. This card also has a 29.24% penalty APR attached to it.

You won’t receive an introductory annual fee waiver with this card; instead, you have to pay a $69 fee upfront to receive the card, and then again each year that you choose to keep it. Other fees associated with this card are standard amounts. You are charged a minimum $10 or 3% fee for every cash advance you make, and a minimum $5 or 3% fee for every balance transfer transaction. One fee that is included on this card but waived on the Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Card is the international purchase fee, which means that if you use this card while traveling overseas, you pay a 3% fee for each purchase.

Chase can be contacted by phone for member support. You can also email the bank through your online account, which ensures that it is sent securely. You can access a list of frequently asked questions on Chase's website that answer many of the general questions you may have about your account or card benefits.

Summary

The Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Plus Card includes free bag check for both first and second bags, comes with a nice sign-up bonus and has a respectable standard APR on purchases and balance transfers. However, you have to pay an annual fee for this card and it lacks a number of convenient travel benefits that the best frequent flyer credit cards provide.

Disclaimer: The Annual Percentage Rate or APR is reflective of the date this review was last updated.