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Southwest Airlines offers an extensive selection of destinations, with even more added in recent years. Additionally, passengers benefit from two free checked bags per person, providing substantial savings, particularly for families. The Southwest Airlines credit card lineup simplifies earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points, enabling more frequent award flight bookings.

New Southwest Airlines (consumer) credit cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The three consumer Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards that come with the enhanced bonus are:

The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Before applying for a Southwest card, it’s good to know if you can qualify with your current credit score. In this post, we can help you find the right card for your credit score. And if you aren’t sure of your current score, here are some tips on the best places to get free credit score checks without affecting your credit.

Determining Credit Score Needed For Southwest Credit Card

Determining your approval odds for a Southwest Airlines credit card may feel like a guessing game. After all, several factors other than your credit score influence the approval decision. However, we will break down these factors so you’ll have a better idea of where you stand.

What is the Minimum Credit Score Needed for a Southwest Credit Card?

For the Southwest credit cards, you have the best approval odds with a minimum 670 credit score. This score is the start of “good credit”, the second-best credit score tier. The best rating — excellent credit — typically starts with a 740 credit score.

It’s possible to get approved with a score in the mid-600s, but your application may require manual approval. This guidance applies to personal and small business Southwest credit cards.

Thankfully, we have several data points from recent applicants who share their approval success stories. These reports can give you an idea of what to expect if you try for a Southwest Airlines credit card.

CS1974 reports getting instantly approved in November 2019 with a 677 credit score and an annual income between $60,000 and $80,000. Their initial credit limit is $6,900.

JGonz15 reports having a 644 credit score at approval for their Southwest credit card with an initial $4,000 credit limit.

If you want the flagship Southwest Priority Credit Card, it might be best to try with a credit score above 700. Redbird06 with a 742 credit score got instant approval for the Priority Card with an initial $10,800 credit limit. Their annual income is $75,000 which helps them get a higher credit limit.

New Southwest Airlines (consumer) credit cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The three consumer Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards that come with the enhanced bonus are:

southwest airlines
Southwest Airlines aircraft is being prepped for a flight out of El Paso, Texas. Photo by Mary Silva

Southwest Credit Card Visa Signature or Visa Platinum

Depending on your creditworthiness, you will either get a Visa Signature or a Visa Platinum version of your desired Southwest credit card. Either version has the same purchase rewards and Southwest travel benefits. However, your initial credit limit and the Visa-provided benefits will differ.

For example, the Visa Signature has a minimum starting credit limit of $5,000, Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection discounts, and secondary car rental insurance.

The Visa Platinum has a minimum initial credit limit of $2,000. You get secondary car rental insurance but may not get as many travel discounts and benefits.

Other Southwest Airlines Credit Card Factors

Though it is good that you are aware of the credit score needed for Southwest Credit Cards, know that your credit score alone won’t influence Chase to approve or deny your application. Pay attention to these other factors as well.

Annual Income

A high annual income can boost your approval odds or a potentially higher initial credit limit. The nationwide median household income in 2018 was $61,937 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Making above $60k means you have above-average income in most states.

A higher income also makes it easier to have a lower debt-to-income ratio. A low ratio can factor into a high credit score. You’re more likely to pay your Southwest credit card balance in full each month and not default on your account.

Too Many New Credit Cards

For Chase credit cards, the most important factor besides your credit score can be the Chase 5/24 rule. This policy limits how many new Chase credit cards you can get in a 24-month period.

Chase is highly likely to decline your Southwest Airlines credit card application when at least 5 new credit card accounts appear on your credit report in a 24-month period. You can either be the primary or authorized user for these accounts.

Small business credit cards from Capital One, Discover, and TD Bank may hurt you. These three banks report your business credit card activity to the personal credit report.

If you’re currently “5/24” or higher, you should wait to avoid an unnecessary rejection and hard credit pull. Once you have 4 or fewer credit card accounts younger than 24 months, you can try.

How Many Current Southwest Airlines Credit Cards Do You Have?

The Southwest credit card terms and conditions don’t explicitly say you can’t have at least 2 Southwest credit cards. A Southwest Airlines card combo makes sense if you can have one personal and one small business card. But if you don’t earn any self-employment income, you should only own one personal card at a time.

The primary reason why is qualifying for the signup bonus. Current application guidelines only let new card members earn a signup bonus. You don’t qualify if you currently own a personal Southwest credit card and have earned a bonus in the last 24 months.

That means you will need to close your existing personal card if you want to earn another bonus from any of the personal Southwest credit cards.

If you don’t want to close your existing account, you must either request an upgrade or downgrade to a different personal card product. However, you won’t qualify for the current signup bonus offer.

These bonus offer restrictions don’t apply if you only have a small business or corporate card presently and want to earn a personal card signup bonus. Another “loophole” is that you can own the bonus for the other business Southwest Airlines credit card if you haven’t earned that specific card’s bonus in at least 24 months.

Qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass®

In addition to waiting to apply after knowing the credit score needed for a Southwest credit card, you may also decide to wait to maximize the possibility of getting the Southwest Companion Pass®.

Besides the application guidelines, you might time your purchase to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass®. This is one of the best companion travel deals. With the pass, you only need to pay the usual fees and taxes for your companion’s seat. On most flights, that’s $5.60 each way. You can buy your ticket with cash or points.

The Southwest Companion Pass® is valid for up to 2 years. It’s good for the rest of the year you earn it and all of the next year. You must make 100 one-way qualifying flights (or 50 round-trip qualifying flights) or earn 135,000 qualifying points. The Rapid Rewards you earn from the signup bonus and card purchase count toward the 135,000-point requirement.

You might try for a Southwest credit card in the spring instead of the fall. This way, you can get the Southwest Companion Pass® a few months earlier.

New Southwest Airlines (consumer) credit cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The three consumer Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards that come with the enhanced bonus are:

Summary of Credit Score for Southwest Credit Card Approval

In conclusion, trying for a Southwest Airlines credit card with a credit score of at least 670 means you’re likely to get an instant approval decision. However, you may need to time your application if you have too many new credit card accounts or want to earn the best Southwest credit card offers.


What credit score is needed for airline credit cards?

Most airline credit cards only need a minimum credit score of 650 or higher to get an instant approval decision. Premium cards that offer perks like complimentary airport lounge access may need a score of at least 740 for the best approval odds.

You should have high approval odds for a Southwest Airlines credit card with a score of at least 670. You will need to make sure you haven’t added at least 5 new cards to your wallet to avoid the Chase 5/24 rule.

What is the minimum credit score needed for Southwest credit cards?

There isn’t a published minimum credit score for a Southwest credit card. It’s possible that you can get approval with a minimum credit score in the low to mid-600s. Trying with a score of 670 or above means you are most likely to get instant approval.

Like any credit card application, other factors can affect your approval decision. Even if you have an acceptable score, factors like too many recent applications or too many cards with the same bank can disqualify you.

What is the best Southwest credit card?

There are three personal and two small business versions of the Southwest Airlines credit card.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

The best personal (consumer) option is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card. This card has a $149 annual fee which can seem expensive at first. However, this card has these valuable perks:

  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit
  • 4 Upgraded Bookings per year (when available)
  • 7,500 bonus Rapid Rewards on each card anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 25% back on inflight purchases

As this is the flagship Southwest credit card, it has a few more perks than the other personal credit cards.

Cardholders earn unlimited:

  • 3x points on Southwest® purchases
  • 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
  • 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card earns:

  • 4x points on Southwest® purchases
  • 3x points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners
  • 2x points on rideshares
  • 2x points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services
  • 1x points on all other purchases

Cardholders also get unlimited tier qualifying points (TQPs) that can be earned toward A-List status. There is also a $500 annual fee credit for Rapid Rewards points transfers.

It also comes with the following benefits:

  • 4 Upgraded Bookings per year (when available)
  • In-flight WiFi credits
  • 9,000 bonus Rapid Rewards on each card anniversary
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fee

The annual fee is $199. If you fly Southwest often for business, the WiFi credits can be a nice perk. Earning double points on select business purchases also means you can redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards more often.

New Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card card members can earn 80,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Consumer Southwest cards:

New Southwest Airlines (consumer) credit cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

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22 Comments On "What Credit Score Do I Need for a Southwest Airlines Credit Card?"
  1. Anyssa|

    I have a credit score of 766 Experian. My credit history is a little less than 2 years. Will that have a negative impact?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      There’s no way to 100% guarantee approval, but that shouldn’t have a negative impact on your application.

  2. Valerie d|

    What credit company does chase use for the southwest personal credit card. My score is 680 with experian but not with transunion or equifax.

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      I believe it differs on the region, but they usually pull Experian or Equifax for me.

  3. Allen|

    I have an Experian score of 858 (900 max) and got denied by Southwest for their credit card. I have had an AA credit card for 15 years and wanted to get the Southwest card for the companion pass. I spend a significant sum monthly and pay it off, but credit utilization still below 50%. I have no other debt besides a mortgage that is 20% of the real estate value. I pay cash for cars.

    After my rejection, my wife applied and instantly approved. My daughter who is a junior in college making $15k per year applied and was approved for $7k credit limit.

    Is it possible their underwriting considers the likelihood of someone carrying a balance or a likelihood of the number of flights a person might take? Earning some interest and minimal use of the companion pass may be at play?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Did you receive a reason for denial, and did you call them for an explanation? Also, were you under Chase’s 5/24 rule requirements?

  4. Khan|

    Hello, i am interested in applying and i have a credit score of 690, but i am not employed will that matter? As i am paid through govt cash aid every month , and have gotten those stimulus checks

  5. VPJ|

    So, I have 5 new cards in the past 24 months. Can I cancel one of the 5 cards 30-60 days before applying for a Chase Card to skirt their 5/24 rule? Thanks

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      No, the 5/24 is based on applications not how many current cards you hold. You would need to wait until those new applications aren’t in the 24 month window.

  6. Lkj|

    I received a notification on the Southwest app that I’m pre-qualified for their card (I’m A List with them, not sure if it matters). Score fluxes between 670-690. I’ve been building credit, so 4 new cards, various banks, in past 24months. Nothing 100% but should I try?

  7. JLMcK|

    Hi, I have 2 prepaid credit cards with $2k limit each. Are those considered credit applications that would apply to the 5/24 rule? Also, I have a TransUnion score of 690 and a Equifax score of 730 (I don’t know what the Experian score is as it is not shown on Credit Karma). What are my approval odds? Has anything changed since you first wrote your article in March 2021? I would really like to apply for a SW card since it is a REAL credit card to help build my credit, but won’t do it until the odds are ever in my favor. Your insight is much appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      How long have you had your pre-paid credit cards opened?

  8. AM|

    I currently have a Southwest Priority Card, that I’ve had for about 5 years. If I cancel that card, what are the odds of getting approved for it if I re-apply right away? I haven’t gotten a sign up bonus since getting this card, so I’d like to cancel and get a new card to get the bonus which would get me to companion pass. My credit score was around 680 last month when I had to co-sign for my husbands truck.

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      I can’t guarantee for sure if you will be approved after cancelling, but you’re eligible for the Premier and Plus versions, and they both at 65k bonuses as well:

  9. BGL77|

    Just got approved for Southwest Plus Card with a $4,200 limit. Credit scores of 808-Experian, 757-Equifax, 789-Trans Union. These were FICO score model 8.

  10. Renee|

    Is Chase 5/24 rule for hard inquiries or actual credit card accounts opened within 24 months?

    1. Josh Patoka|

      Data points indicate it is only for credit cards with a preset spending limit. This includes cards where you are the primary account holder or an authorized user.

  11. youngnet|

    Was just denied SW priority card, for the 100K offer. I have a 848 credit score. Called and was told I was denied because I didn’t quality for the bonus points. I had a premier card that I closed in Oct 2021. and had earned the bonus points in Feb 2019. I was applying for the Priority, not Premier and was told that I had earned a bonus and it didn’t matter which personal card it was, I was denied for that reason. What? I have been using the companion pass since 2016 and first time I was denied and not sure the reason is correct? Thoughts

    1. Josh Patoka|

      Your situation is a mystery…the signup offer terms state (A) you cannot receive a signup bonus for ANY personal Southwest card in the last 24 months and (B) cannot currently have a personal Southwest credit card.

      Earning your last bonus in Feb 2019 places you outside the two-year timeframe and closing your account in October 2021 means you don’t have a personal card.

      Reapplying too soon after closing your old account would seem to be a more likely reason. However, that doesn’t appear to be the official reason for the denied application.

      As a reference, here is a copy and paste of the current offer terms:
      “The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.”

  12. Jason|

    780 transunion, 768 equifax, 721 experian. Denied Southwest card. Only 1 account opened in the last 2 years. 0 debt. Go figure. Their acceptance seems completely arbitrary.

  13. Chris W|

    I have a credit score of almost 800, no new credit cards in the last few years, and make $90,000 a year and was denied.

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Did you call in, and try and get a reconsideration?

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