Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – Free Airline Ticket

My favorite discount airline is Southwest Airlines. They don’t have hubs everywhere, but they happen to fly in and out of the areas I travel to most frequently, so it works out very well for my situation. Southwest Airlines also usually has the cheapest flights to the locations I fly to most frequently, and they don’t charge for your first checked bag, which is rare these days. The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Program is also a great way to save points which you can redeem for future flights. If you like to fly Southwest Airlines too, then I recommend checking out the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, which is currently offering new account holders a sign up bonus good for a free flight after you make your first purchase. That’s a solid deal!

Free Flight – Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

For a limited time, you can sign up for a new card and earn points based on your initial purchases. You can redeem these points for a free round trip airline ticket.  These points are good toward a free flight anywhere Southwest Airlines flies, or they can be redeemed for international travel, hotel stays, gift cards, and more.

Card holders also have the ability to earn unlimited free flights by earning additional points through purchases on Southwest Airlines and by making everyday purchases. Cardholders will also be able to check their bags for free (currently Southwest only allows 1 free checked bag for non- cardholders; cardholders get 2 free checked bags). This is a big savings if you have a large family.

There are no blackout dates and your points and rewards never expire. Best of all, you won’t be charged a fee if you need to change your flight reservations. This gives you the ability to lock in the cheaper early bird rates, then change your flight reservations at a later date if your travel plans change. This can add up to a large savings if you have an irregular travel schedule.

How do the rewards add up? In addition to the initial sign up bonus which can be redeemed for two free flights, cardholders will earn points for everyday purchases. You will receive 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines flights, 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. Cardholders also receive a 3,000 point bonus on your annual anniversary, which is equivalent to $50 t0ward a Wanna Get Away® Fare.

There are only two downsides that I can find with this card, and neither are a deal breaker for most people. The first, is that there is a $69 annual fee. This is basically covered by the 3,000 bonus points you receive each year, which are good for $50 t0ward a Wanna Get Away® Fare, leaving a difference of $19 for the annual fee. To put that in perspective, most airlines charge more than $19 to check a bag or change a flight reservation (both of which you are free for cardholders). The other downside of the card is that Southwest doesn’t fly everywhere, so this card is best for people who fly Southwest frequently. If you don’t frequently fly on Southwest Airlines, the I recommend you check out these military credit cards for other great options.

Who is this card for? This is a great card for people who frequently travel on Southwest, particularly if they check bags or might need to change their travel arrangements.  Visit the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card review for more information.

Here is a recap of the benefits:

  • Now! Earn a Free Flight after your first purchase
  • Get 3,000 Points every year on your Card member Anniversary – that can be redeemed for a $50 Wanna Get Away® Fare
  • Now you can redeem for International Travel, Hotels, Gift Cards and more.
  • Earn unlimited Free Flights – 2 Points per $1 Spent on Southwest Purchases and 1 Point per $1 Spent on Everything else
  • Your Bags Fly Free! No Blackout Dates, Points Don’t Expire, and Unlimited Reward Seats!
  • No Change fees – if you need to change your flight, you won’t be charged a fee.
  • September 11th Security Fee Applies.

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Date published: November 3, 2011. Last updated: January 27, 2015.

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Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is currently serving in the IL Air National Guard. He also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google.


  1. Hana says

    Just an fyi, but Southwest doesn’t charge to change your reservation online – you just get a credit of your current ticket cost and can apply it to another ticket up to a year after your original flight. Unless they’ve changed this in which case I won’t be using them as much. That is the biggest reason we use them – you never know when you will have to change plans when it comes to leave.

    • says

      Thanks for the info, Hana! I only fly Southwest a couple times per year and I haven’t had to change my reservations recently. This card is still a good option for the free checked bags and the ability to earn free flights.

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  3. kamy says

    I didn’t think that SW charged you for change of reservation or bags either. How close do you work with your SW affiliate?

    • says

      You’re right, kamy. I rarely check bags when I fly. Since I don’t usually go on long trips, it’s faster for me to take a carry on bag. I also haven’t had to change my reservations with Southwest. So you are correct – no checked bag fees for 1st or 2nd bag, and no fees for changing reservations.

    • says

      Not that I am aware of, Matt. Some card issuers have a minimum spending requirement before the bonus is activated, but this is advertised as “after first purchase.”

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