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Chase's Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards VISA card gets perkier

by Sierra Black

Southwest Airlines announced their rewards program, replacing their earlier "reward dollars" system with one based on points. The Rapid Rewards program launched March 1, 2011. As part of the change, they're offering a newly revamped partnership with Chase for their rewards credit card.

The good news is that Chase's Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card gets you two round trip flights after you spend $2,000 in the first three months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $10 not included.

Signing up for the Southwest Chase Visa also gets you a credit card with a variable purchase APR of 15.24 percent. That's a decent rate, but not great. You won't want to carry a high balance on this card.

As is typical with airline rewards cards, this one comes with an annual fee of $69 (the Premier version of the cards has an annual fee of $99). While the round trip flights are well worth the annual fee, you only want to keep the card if you fly a lot. If you're not getting at least one flight out of the deal, you're paying that fee for nothing.

Perks for frequent fliers

If you do fly a lot, you're likely to welcome the changes Southwest Airlines is making to its rewards program.

What's changed is the creation of an "A-List" for frequent fliers who take at least 32 flights a year. They've also added a "Business Select" fare class that comes with some additional perks. Loyal Southwest customers complain about the changes, which make Southwest more like the "big boy" carriers. For business travelers, though, they're a boon.

When you use the new Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card to buy flights directly through Southwest Airlines and AirTran you'll get double the reward points.

You'll also get double reward points when you use your Southwest Chase Visa for Southwest Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.

Published 03/04/11 (Modified 03/06/13)

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