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What Credit Score Is Needed For The Southwest Credit Card?

The range for the highest two levels of Southwest cards, the credit score range is about 720-850. For the lowest level card, between 660-850.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Table Of Content

If you are a frequent flier and loyal customer of Southwest Airlines, you could be earning money and points for your routine purchases.

What Do Southwest Cards Offer?

Southwest offers three different personal credit cards that provide you with different levels of perks based on how much you spend. They also offer two business cards, but I’ll mostly talk about personal cards.

The three cards in order of most perks from least to greatest are:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card ($69 annual fee)
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card ($99 annual fee)
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card ($149 annual fee)

Southwest cards are included on our top airline card list,  offering airline perks for loyal Southwest flyers. 

What Credit Score is Required To Be Approved For Each Card?

For all three levels of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card, the credit score needed is relatively the same.

  • The range for the highest two levels, the premier and priority, the credit score range is about 720-850.
  • For the lowest level card, the plus, range is a little more flexible, with a score typically needed to be between 660-850.

The credit score for the plus card is allowed to be lower, as this card offers the least perks and is meant for the lower spending customer. Here are some exciting details we found about Southwest approvals:

What If My Score Is Too Low?

Both ranges are subjective, meaning a score at or just below the minimum threshold does not mean an instant rejection.

If your annual income is higher than the national average and your credit score is within a reasonable range from the bottom of the range, you can still be approved.

Credit scores that are currently low but moving in an upward trajectory can also help improve your chances of being approved.

Southwest Flight

How To Not Get Rejected For A Southwest Card

There isn’t a list of requirements you need to have to be accepted, but there are a few things that will get you automatically rejected. If you are applying for one of the three personal Southwest Credit cards and you already have a Southwest card, you will be rejected.

Additionally, if you’ve received a new card member bonus from Southwest in the past 24 months, you will not be approved.

How To Not Get Rejected For Any Chase Card?

Southwest partners with Chase to provide their credit card, so you need to go along with Chase’s requirements to be accepted as well. Chase imposes a 5/24 rule, which states that you cannot be approved for a new card if you’ve opened five or more in the past 24 months.

Chase also has limits on the number of total cards you can have, but the number differs based on credit score. Lastly, you will not be approved if you have already applied for a Chase card in the past 30 days.

Card
Rewards
Bonus
Annual Fee

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
1x – 2x 2X points on Southwest purchases, Southwesthotel and car rental partners, local transit and commuting (including ride-shares),internet, cable, phone and select streaming services, and 1X points on all other purchases
50,000 points 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$69

southwest_rapid_rewards_premier_art

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
1X – 3X 3X points on Southwest® purchases,2X on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners, local transit and commuting, including rideshare, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming and 1X points on all other purchases.
50,000 Points 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$99

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
1X – 3X 3X points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on Southwest’s Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, local transit and commuting (including rideshares) and internet, cable phone and select streaming services; 1X points on all other purchases
50,000 points 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$149

What Documents Do I Need To Apply?

No matter what credit card you are applying for, the documents required of you will largely be the same.

When credit card companies evaluate you as a potential customer, they want to understand you in three main facets, and different documents help them get a better picture of you.

This is the most basic information you need to be approved. The information needed here is your name, date or birth, SSN, address, and contact information.

To prove all this information, you need to submit a few documents. The easiest ones to prove these facts are your passport or driver's license for your DOB and an electricity or utility bill for proof of address.

These should be relatively easy to find in either physical or electronic form.

Your current earnings and earnings potential are essential for credit card companies to understand when evaluating your credit quality.

The most common forms that are submitted to validate income are payroll slips or income tax returns. Payroll slips should come directly from your employer.

Income tax returns can be received by filing form 4506 with the IRS and requesting a transcript of the form.

This is all other relevant financial information to you besides just income. You will need to submit a lot of documents to prove these stats from several places.

Firstly, submit details for all savings and checking accounts as well as balances with them. Next, disclose all assets in both investments and property along with documented proof of value. If you have a mortgage, you will likely be asked for documentation of your last payment.

Finally, you will need to provide account information on all other forms of credit you currently have including credit cards, loans, or car payments.

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Southwest Card vs American Airlines Card

Many other airlines offer credit cards with similar benefits as Southwest, one of the popular is American Airlines, which offers a set of cards for American Airlines loyal customers.

Similar to Southwest, there are different levels of rewards and requirements. so we’ll compare what each has to offer.

The lower threshold for approval of the Southwest premier and priority cards, the two higher-level cards, is 720. For the Southwest plus card, a score over 660 will likely be approved.

The AA cards set a minimum threshold for their three lowest reward cards at 700 but at 750 for their most rewarding card, the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. The platinum card’s extravagant rewards justify the high credit score.

Both companies give bonus miles after spending a certain amount within a set amount of time after opening the card, mile multipliers, and other perks.

The main difference in rewards is that the Southwest Airlines card is more focused on rewards for travel purchases while the AA card offers some rewards for general purchases. The AAdvantage Platinum Select card in particular does this.

This might be the explanation for the slight discrepancy in credit quality thresholds. Southwest allows a modestly lower credit quality if the consumer is committed to spending on travel, which applying for a Southwest card implies.

Card
Rewards
Bonus
Annual Fee

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
1X – 2X 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar on grocery stores and eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases
10,000 miles 10,000 miles and $50 statement credit if you spend $500 in first 3 months
$0

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
1X – 2X Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.
50,000 Miles 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
$99 (waived for the first 12 months)

Citi AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
1X – 10X 10X AAdvantage® miles on eligible rental cars/hotels through aa.com, 4X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1X on all other purchases
70,000 miles 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
$525

Southwest Card vs United Airlines Card

Along with American Airlines, United Airlines is another competitor of Southwest that offers similar benefits along with an issued credit card. Both United and Southwest cards issued by Chase.

United Airlines offers four different cards to their customers, all with different levels of perks.

While the company becomes more selective of candidates as they go up to cards with higher reward levels, the minimum credit score for all cards is 670. This means that they are more restrictive than Southwest for their lowest tier card but less restrictive than Southwest for their highest tier card. The most popular United card is the United Explorer card.

There are a number of other factors that United considers for their Infinite card especially, namely income and net worth.

The benefits offered to United credit card holders differ based on the level of perks, with new ones added as you move up levels. All cards offer mile multipliers for United purchases and commuting, with the multiplier increasing as you move up the hierarchy.

Some of the perks also include bonus miles for signing up, access to the United Club, global entry or TSA precheck fees, and free checked bags. Similarly, to Southwest, most of the benefits are centered around travel. The United card incentivizes spending a large portion of your income on travel and rewards you for doing so.

The low threshold for credit score allows the less wealthy or credit worthy consumers who have a love for travel to enjoy the United credit card.

Card
Rewards
Bonus
Annual Fee

united infinite card

United Club℠ Infinite Card
Up to 4x miles 4x miles on United Airlines purchases, 2x miles on all other travel purchases, dining and eligible delivery services and 1x miles on all other purchases
90,000 miles 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$525

United Quest℠ Card

United Quest℠ Card
Up to 3x miles 3 miles per $1 spent on United purchases immediately after earning your $125 annual United purchase credit, 2 miles on all other travel and select streaming services, 1 mile on all other purchases
60,000 miles 60,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
$250

United Gateway card

United Gateway℠ Card
1X – 2X 2X per $1 spent on United® purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting and 1X on all other purchases
20,000 miles 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
$0

United Business Card

1X – 2X 2X per $1 spent on United® purchases, dining (including eligible delivery services), at gas stations, office supply stores, and on local transit and commuting and 1X on all other purchases
75,000 miles 50,000 bonus miles + 1,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
$99
united explorer
United Explorer Card
1X – 2X 2x per $1 spent on United purchases, hotel accommodations, restaurants & eligible delivery services and 1x per $1 spent on all other purchases
50,000 miles 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
$95 ($0 first year)

Things To Know Before Getting The Southwest Card

Choosing the correct credit card for you is no trivial task. If you pick the wrong card, it can harm your credit score and hurt your ability to get a card down the road.

Here are some facts about the card that you should know before you get it!

The APR stated on the card is the amount of interest you will be charged if you do not pay off the balance before the month is over.

A higher APR means that you will be charged more if you fail to make payments on time.

Generally, look for cards with lower rates to avoid higher fees down the road. However, there is sometimes a tradeoff between the APR and the benefits of the card.

All Southwest cards require an annual fee. Before choosing which one for you, make sure the rewards you get can cover it.

The cards differ based on the credit card type and affect the way in which you spend your money. Understanding your spending habits should also give you an indication of what fee being the lowest would be best for you.

This may be the most obvious, but make sure to understand what rewards and benefits the card offers. Southwest cards offer 3 levels of rewards. 

To get the most value out of your card, acquiring and using the rewards effectively is essential, and having an understanding of these benefits is necessary. 

Comparing card benefits can be a good idea. You can compare Southwest cards with each other, but you can also compare them to other airline companies. For example,  Both the Southwest Priority card and the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card provide decent benefits for frequent travelers who also want to take advantage of everyday shopping discounts.

Book flights with Southwest Priority card points
Book flights with Southwest Priority card points (screenshot from Southwest app)

Not all credit cards can be used at all locations.

Some, such as the Southwest card, are meant to be used for a certain purpose such as travel, and others are meant for general spending.

Other cards, like American Express, have some spending restrictions at certain locations. Knowing where your card can be used prior to getting it can save a lot of stress and anger down the road.

Why Was I Rejected?

There are a number of reasons why your Southwest card application could be rejected.

Many of the reasons stem from financial difficulties. If your credit score is too low, have too much existing debt, or not have enough disposable income, your application will likely be rejected.

Other reasons why it could be rejected are if you have made too many recent inquiries for your credit report or if you recently had a delinquency.

What's Now?

If your application was rejected, you can inquire about more details by calling the company directly. You can also apply for a different card, that has a lower credit score threshold or less perks.

While these are temporary solutions, the only permanent fix is to improve your financial situation. Making sure you make all payments on time will ensure your credit score remains in good standing.

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FAQs

The starting credit limit for Southwest card holders is $2,000. Applicants can receive a higher limit if they have a high credit score and income. Credit limits can also increase over time if you remain in good standing.

Southwest card holders do not get priority boarding for every flight. People who have the Plus or Premier card are able to receive 2 EarlyBird check-ins per year. Holders of the priority card are able to upgrade 4 boardings per year.

Benefits differ across the different level of southwest cards. For the premier and priority cards, users are exempt from foreign transaction fees. Priority cardholders are also given a $75 annual travel credit. All cardholders are also given 25% cash back on inflight purchases.

You can earn a free flight on Southwest by earning points through spending. The card offers 1x- 3x points per every dollar spent on Southwest and bonus points on the anniversary of getting the card. After accumulating a certain amount, these points can be used to receive a free flight.

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Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

amex brilliant

Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

Rewards Plan:
1X – 3X 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
50,000 miles 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in your first six months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

amex platinum

Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

amex brilliant

Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
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95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

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Up to 3x miles 3 miles per $1 spent on United purchases immediately after earning your $125 annual United purchase credit, 2 miles on all other travel and select streaming services, 1 mile on all other purchases
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60,000 miles 60,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

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