Southwest Airlines new Rapid Rewards program has launched and the program has transitioned from a credits to points system, which effects the earning rates on the co-branded Chase credit cards. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cardholders will now earn two points per dollar spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car partner purchases and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus credit cardholders will receive 3,000 points each year on their cardmember anniversary and the sign-up bonus on this card is 20,000 points after first purchase and has a $69 annual fee. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier cardholders receive 6,000 points on their cardmember anniversary, the sign-up bonus is 30,000 points after first purchase and the annual fee is $99. Premier cardholders also earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent on the card, up to 15,000 Tier Qualifying Points.
Bottom line: Those with Southwest credit cards are the only members who can take advantage of Southwest’s new award option to spend points on international awards with most major airlines.