Why This Southwest Card Is a Solid Choice for Budget Travelers

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The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a good option for travelers who fly Southwest Airlines regularly and are looking to fly for nearly free, whether on long-haul or short flights. Plus, with frequent traveling and spending on the card, you can earn enough miles for a Companion Pass.

Here are just a few reasons why this card is a solid option for the frequent budget traveler:

The sign-up bonus can be good for several flights

This card’s sign-up bonus is as follows: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.. Those bonus points could get you up to seven flights from Oklahoma City to Dallas (just to name one example), or you could use it for any combination of flights ranging from trips to the Caribbean to adding a stopover on a trip to see an extra city. Look for Wanna Get Away fares, which offer the best value.

The annual fee is largely offset by anniversary points

The pain of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card’s $99 annual fee is tempered a bit by the fact that you get 6,000 points on your cardmember anniversary. Assuming you’ll use those points, the card can wind up mostly paying for itself.

» Learn more: Baffled by points and miles? Let the 80/20 rule guide you

You can also rack up points by using the card on paid Southwest tickets. Earnings rates vary from earning 6 to 12 points per dollar for the most expensive fares. Other purchases on the card also earn points, but at a less attractive value.

It gets you a (big) step closer to the Companion Pass

It takes earning 110,000 points in one calendar year to earn a Southwest Companion Pass, which allows a companion of your choosing to fly for free (less taxes and fees) for a year or more depending on when you qualify. The bonus from this card counts toward the Companion Pass, as do points earned from spending on the card.

Depending on how often you’d travel with a companion, this perk can offer enormous value, so if this card’s bonus would help get you over the top, it can be well worth your while to apply.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Southwest Rapid Rewards program: The complete guide
Spotted: A bigger Southwest credit card bonus for in-flight applicants
Find the best travel credit card for you

This article originally appeared on NerdWallet