What credit score do you need?

For avid Southwest Airlines travelers, there are three personal and two co-branded small business Chase credit cards that can help you earn rewards for your next trip. Each card offers higher rewards rates on your Southwest purchases, and the Rapid Rewards® points you earn can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, merchandise, and more.

Below, Select looks at the credit score you’ll need to qualify for each of the Southwest and Chase co-branded cards.

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Cards

All three Southwest Rapid Rewards® personal credit cards currently offer the same 50,000 point welcome bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Where they differ is in their annual fees, reward structures, and benefits.

  • The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card has an annual fee of $69 and allows you to earn 2X points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines purchases, local transit, commuting, carpooling, Internet, cable, phone, and select streaming services, plus 1X points on other purchases made with the card. You will also receive 3,000 points each year after your card’s anniversary.
  • The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier credit card has an annual fee of $99 and gives you 3X points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines purchases; 2X points per dollar spent on local transit, commuting, carpooling, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming services; and 1X points on all other purchases. Other benefits include 6,000 points on your card’s anniversary and two EarlyBird check-ins per year.
  • The Southwest Rapid Rewards® priority credit card has an annual fee of $149 and allows you to earn 3X points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines purchases; 2X points per dollar spent on local transit, commuting, carpooling, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming services; and 1X Points on all other purchases – and adds Unlimited Tier Qualifying Points (TQP) that can be used to earn Southwest Airlines List A elite status. It also offers perks like a $75 annual Southwest travel credit and four upgrade boardings per year (subject to availability).

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Awards

    Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including carpooling; 2X points on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming; 1X points on all other purchases

  • welcome bonus

    New offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual subscription

  • Introduction AVR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance Transfer Fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • Awards

    Earn 3X Points on Southwest® purchases, 2X Points on local transit and commuting, including carpooling; 2X points on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming; 1X points on all other purchases

  • welcome bonus

    New offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual subscription

  • Introduction AVR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance Transfer Fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Awards

    Earn 3X Points on Southwest® purchases, 2X Points on local transit and commuting, including carpooling; 2X points on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming; 1X points on all other purchases

  • welcome bonus

    New offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual subscription

  • Introduction AVR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance Transfer Fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

  • Awards

    Earn 4X points on Southwest® purchases; 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and automotive partners; 2X points on carpooling; 2X points on social media and advertising on search engines, Internet, cable and telephone services; 1X points on all other purchases

  • welcome bonus

    Earn 80,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

  • Annual subscription

    $199 applied to first billing statement

  • Introduction AVR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance Transfer Fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

  • Awards

    Earn 3X Points on Southwest® purchases; 2X points on local transit and commuting, including carpooling; 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and automotive partners; 1X points on all other purchases

  • welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

  • Annual subscription

  • Introduction AVR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance Transfer Fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Pro Tip: From 2023, South West co-branded cardholders will receive a 10,000 point bonus each year for earning the Companion Pass.

Credit score required for a Southwest credit card

As with other travel rewards credit cards, you’ll likely need at least a good credit score to qualify for one of the Southwest Rapid Rewards cards. A good credit score, according to FICO®, is a score of 670 or higher. Note that cardholders can be approved or rejected for these cards even if they don’t have at least a score of 670.

FICO score ranges:

  • Very poor: 300 to 579
  • Fair: 580 to 669
  • Good: 670 to 739
  • Very well: 740 to 799
  • Excellent: 800 to 850

Most card issuers look at your FICO® 8 score when evaluating your creditworthiness. The FICO® 8 score ranges from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating a greater likelihood that a cardholder will pay their bills on time and in full.

FICO scores are based on five factors:

  • Payment history (35%) — If you made your previous payments on time
  • Amounts due (30%) — Your credit utilization rate, or the ratio of the amount of credit you are using to the amount that has been extended and due on your accounts
  • Length of credit history (15%) — The time you have had credit
  • New Credit (10%) — How often you open new accounts
  • Composition of credit (10%) — Whether you have different types of credit, such as installment loans or revolving lines of credit

While credit scores aren’t the only factor considered by credit card issuers, it’s one of the most important. You’ll want to make sure you pay your bills on time and in full, keep credit utilization low, and limit the number of credit applications you submit in a short period of time.

Card issuers will also look at your income, the length of your credit history, and the number of credit cards you have recently acquired. Generally, you will be considered better if you have a longer credit history and higher income.

Chase also has a 5/24 rule for cardholders. This applies to most Chase credit cards and co-branded cards. This means that cardholders will be denied a Chase card if they have acquired five or more credit cards (all credit cards, not just Chase cards) in the past 24 months.

If you are declined for a card, issuers must let you know why they declined you within 60 days. You may be able to call Chase to negotiate your approval, but you will need to present a compelling case to justify your approval.

At the end of the line

To qualify for one of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® credit cards, you will likely need at least a FICO® score of 670. Since the card is a co-branded Chase credit card, applicants should also limit the total number of credit cards. they get – Chase’s 5/24 rule means applicants who have gotten five or more credit cards in the past 24 months will automatically be rejected for a new card.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.