For fans of Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are both enticing. The former offers generous loyalty benefits, including birthday bonuses and a faster way to earn a companion pass. The latter gives you more flexibility to redeem rewards and allows you to transfer points to Southwest’s loyalty program on a 1: 1 basis. Their similar reward structures can also make it difficult to pick a winner.
How the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card wins
Let’s start by comparing the features of these cards side by side.
Here is why the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card comes out on top:
It offers more value in the long run. Both cards offer a signup bonus, as do many other travel cards. But the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Also gives you an anniversary bonus of 6,000 points each year just for card possession. This bonus, valued at $ 60 based on NerdWallet reviews, cancels out the best part of the card $ 99 annual subscription. It’s also enough to grab you one of those super cheap one-way tickets Southwest has on their flash sales.
Even with the annual bonus, you will still need to spend at least $ 1,950 to break even. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Cardthe annual fee of. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you will have to spend almost twice as much as with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card come out on top.
The sign-up bonus is easier to earn. Both cards offer top notch signup bonuses. But the bonus on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card doesn’t require you to spend that much in the first three months. During this period, you will have to spend twice as much to earn a bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
You will earn this companion pass faster. To qualify for the Southwest Wanted Companion Pass – an ID card that allows someone else to travel with you free for almost two years – you must earn 125,000 eligible Rapid Rewards points. Bonus points on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card count in this total. Points transferred from the bonus to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card do not, according to the fine print on the Sud-Ouest site.
If earning a companion pass and saving thousands of dollars in travel costs is your ultimate goal, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is your best bet. The current sign-up bonus will give you a good start.
Why you might always want to go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If your trips are not “all southwest, all the time”, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could be a more useful card. Here’s why.
It offers more redemption options. While Rapid Rewards points can be redeemed for some international flights with partner airlines through the Southwest portal, they cannot be transferred to other loyalty programs. Chase Ultimate Rewards points, on the other hand, offer plenty of redemption options. You can transfer points to multiple partner airlines and hotels on a 1: 1 basis. These partners include Southwest, but also United, British Airways, Air France / KLM, Marriott and Hyatt, among others. Alternatively, you can book travel directly through Chase’s travel portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point. And if you’re not in the mood to travel, you can opt for cash back and get 1 penny per point.
The bonus categories are broader. The current awards for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card are modest. If you don’t spend a lot in the bonus categories – that is, travel, restaurants, Southwest Airlines, and some hotel chains and car rentals – the distinction is moot. But if you plan to spend around $ 3,000 a year After on meals and travel versus what you plan to spend on hotels, car rentals, and flights to the southwest, go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Southwest ruffles: go for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
If you travel with a different airline each time you travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card would be a smarter choice.
But the no frills Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers better value for money for lovers of the South West than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Its Birthday Bonuses will help you earn points faster, and its Signup Bonus can help you lock in a Companion Pass in no time. Coupled with the benefits offered by the airline to all customers, such as no fees for checked baggage or flight changes, this is clearly a winner.