A good travel credit card can help you meet your travel goals at a discount while adding extra perks and perks along the way. A big part of choosing your card is choosing between a co-branded card tied to a loyalty program or a more general credit card that earns rewards for any type of travel.
Today we’re looking at the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card and how it compares to the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card. Both cards offer a welcome bonus, additional rewards and benefits. However, there are differences that can make one card better than the other depending on your spending and travel habits.
In summary, either could be a good in-between travel card depending on your travel spending habits. However, let’s dig deeper into the cards’ offerings to learn more.
|welcome bonus||Earn up to 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months||Earn 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening|
|Variable APR||15.99% to 22.99%||15.99% to 23.99%|
Highlights of Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus vs. Capital One Venture Rewards
Welcome Bonus Winner: Capital One Venture Rewards
The Venture Rewards card offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 within three months of opening your account. These bonus miles can be worth up to $600 when redeemed for travel. Plus, there’s the ability to redeem miles with an impressive list of Capital One travel partners (as opposed to the small list of travel partners for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Card).
Currently, the Venture Rewards card has a higher bonus, but in the past, Southwest cards have offered companion passes as part of their welcome bonus. However, there is no fixed timetable for the start and end of these promotions. The most recent welcome bonus that offered the Companion Pass with 30,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the card ended on March 14, 2022.
Yes, the Companion Pass is a pretty impressive welcome bonus, normally making the Rapid Rewards Plus card the winner here. But since this is a limited time promotion and not currently active, we have assigned this category to the Venture Rewards card.
Reward Rate Winner: Capital One Venture
The Venture Rewards card earns more rewards per dollar spent on bonus categories and general purchases than the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card. Here is a brief description of how the Venture Rewards card rewards structure works:
- 5X miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
- 2X miles per dollar on all purchases
The Rapid Rewards Plus card only offers 2X points on Southwest purchases, Southwest hotel and car rental partners, public transit and local travel (including carpooling), Internet, cable, telephone and some streaming services. Then you only get 1X points back on all other purchases.
Not only does the Venture Rewards card offer a better rewards structure, but you’ll also get 2X miles on all purchases, while the Rapid Reward Plus only offers 1X points on all other purchases. If your goal is to accumulate more rewards with your everyday spending, the Venture Rewards card is a great choice.
Annual Fee Winner: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus
The Rapid Rewards Plus card offers a slightly lower annual fee of $69, compared to Capital One Venture Rewards’ annual fee of $95. However, with these lower annual fees, you might not get as many benefits or earn as many rewards as with the Venture Rewards card.
Foreign Transaction Fee Winner: Capital One Venture
The Venture Rewards Card has no foreign transaction fees, making it a great travel companion for trips abroad. However, the Rapid Rewards Plus card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Which card pays the most?
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus vs Capital One Venture Expense Example
|Clothing & services||$1,434.00||1,434||2,868|
|Internet cable and telephone||$1,200.00||2,400||2,400|
|Personal care products and services||$646.00||646||1,292|
|All other trips||$1,440.00||1,440||7,200*|
*Assuming other travel is booked through the Capital One Travel Portal.
In this spending example, the Capital One Venture Rewards card earns approximately 20% more rewards than the Rapid Rewards Plus card. The 2X on all “other” expenses makes a huge difference in how much you can earn with this card. Note that Rapid Rewards Plus adds an annual birthday bonus of 3,000 points, which narrows the earnings gap somewhat.
Why You Should Get Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus
One of the benefits of a co-branded card such as Southwest Rapid Rewards is the ability to earn more points and benefits by reaching certain statuses. A-list status earns a 25% bonus on qualifying flights, while Favorite A-list status earns a 100% earning bonus on qualifying flights.
A-List status also comes with priority boarding and check-in and a members-only phone line. You can achieve A-list status by earning 35,000 qualifying points or completing 25 qualifying flights.
Then A-List Preferred status includes all of the above, plus free in-flight Wi-Fi. To achieve A-list status, you will need 70,000 qualifying points or 50 qualifying flights. If you score the 40,000 point welcome bonus with the Rapid Rewards card (earned after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months), you’ll not only make an A-list, but you’ll be well on your way. for A-List favorite, too.
The Rapid Reward Plus has a few very basic advantages and benefits:
- Reimbursement for lost baggage (up to $3,000 per passenger) and baggage delay insurance (up to $100 per day for three days)
- Extended warranty and purchase protection (conditions apply)
- Annual Cardholder Account Anniversary Bonus of 3,000 bonus points
- Free DoorDash DashPass (conditions apply)
If you are a More rewards program member with a Rapid Rewards credit card, you can also redeem your points for international flights offered by other airlines, as well as gift cards, hotel stays, rental cars and merchandise (although trade-in values vary). Some from the southwest hotel and resort partners include:
- South West Hotels
- Best Western Hotels and Resorts
- Choice Hotels
- The world of Hyatt
- Marriott Bonvoy
- MGM Resorts International
You can earn and redeem Rapid Rewards points when you book with eligible Southwest partners. Plus, you can earn up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points each year by referring friends through Chase referral program.
If you want more details on earning and redeeming points with your Rapid Rewards Plus card, see Bankrate’s Southwest Rapid Rewards guide.
Recommended credit score
You will need a good or excellent credit score (670 to 850) to qualify for this card.
Why should you get the Capital One Venture?
Recently, the issuer relaunched its Capital One travel portal and added some cool features such as price prediction, price monitoring, price drop protection, price match guarantee, and “cancel for any reason” to cardholders who book accommodation through the site.
Here are some other notable benefits of the Venture Rewards card:
- Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Reimbursement of lost baggage
- Access to Capital One airport lounges
- 24-hour travel assistance services, which can help you get money if your card is lost or stolen
- Car rental insurance, extended warranty, fraud coverage, and travel and emergency assistance.
- Virtual credit card numbers
- Free concierge service
- Premium benefits at exclusive events, access to over 900 Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection properties, and access to over 60 Sonoma County wineries with Visa Signature card benefits
Primary redemption options include booking travel through the Capital One Rewards portal, receiving statement credit for recent eligible travel purchases (within the last 90 days), or transferring miles to programs airlines and partner hotels. If you don’t want to redeem your miles for travel, you can also redeem them in the form of a credit statement, check, gift cards, Amazon.com or PayPal purchases, and more.
Recommended credit score
Similar to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card, you will need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for this card.
The bottom line
Rapid Rewards Plus and Venture Rewards are both strong competitors in the field of entry-level travel credit cards. If you’re a die-hard Southwest fan, the Rapid Rewards Plus card could easily bring you some value, especially if you can get the companion pass through its updated welcome bonus promotion. On the other hand, Venture Rewards offers a higher rate for general expenses with the potential to get significantly more value (and revenue) for travel bookings. Overall, the card you choose will depend on how you spend and how you prefer to travel.