For the frequent traveler, airline credit cards not only offer good rewards but also provide awesome perks to make your flying more pleasant – not to mention cheaper.

So, let’s look at the credit card offerings of 2 of the top low-cost carriers in the U.S. – Southwest and JetBlue. Each airline offers a mix of credit cards to suit everyone’s taste.

But which one is the best for you?

Let’s dive in to find out.

Summary of Southwest and JetBlue credit cards

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Earn Rate Annual Fee Apply Now
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Visa 60,000 points (terms) * 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest
* 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
$0 Apply Now
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa 60,000 points (terms) * 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest
* 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
$99 Apply Now
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Visa 60,000 points (terms) * 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest
* 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
$149 Apply Now
JetBlue Mastercard 10,000 points (terms) * 6 points per $1 spent on JetBlue
* 2 points per $1 spent on restaurants and groceries
* 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
$99 Apply Now
JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard 40,000 points (terms) * 3 points per $1 spent on JetBlue
* 2 points per $1 spent on restaurants and groceries
* 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
None Apply Now

Airline credit cards

Before we get started, let’s go over why you want an airline card in the first place.

While the rewards aren’t any better than most travel cards, they offer a bevy of perks when traveling on the specific airline associated with the card, some of which include:

  • free checked bags,
  • priority check in,
  • priority boarding,
  • companion vouchers,
  • discounts on in-flight purchases, and
  • bonus miles on your card’s anniversary.

If you fly at least once per year with an airline, it can pay to have one of their cards in your wallet. You’ll not only save additional money while traveling, but make your airport and flying experience better as well.

So, without further ado, let’s see what both Southwest and JetBlue offer in terms of credit cards.

Southwest credit cards

The airline that offers Transfarency, Southwest Airlines flies throughout the United States, as well as Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

And while their cards can’t offer free checked bags – since everyone gets 2 free checked bags on Southwest – they do offer other great perks.

Earning and redeeming Southwest Rapid Rewards

An average value of a single Southwest Rapid Rewards point when redeemed for flights is approximately 1.5 cents.

One of the best parts about redeeming Rapid Rewards is there are no blackout dates and you can access every available seat.

And while you can use your points for more than just flights, other redemption options generally won’t provide the same level of value as flights.

So with all this said, here are the 3 Southwest credit cards, issued by Chase.

An interesting point to note about these cards – they all offer the same rewards on your purchases.

You’ll earn:

  • 1 point per $1 on all purchases, and
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines.

These cards also provide the same welcome bonus – 60,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months.

So the true deciding factor will be the perks each card offers and what kind of annual fee you’re willing to pay.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Visa

The top offering in the group, the , offers the most perks out of the bunch.

And while it also has the highest annual fee of $149, it also gives you the most perks:

  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit,
  • 7,500 anniversary points every year,
  • reimbursement for 4 purchased upgraded boardings per year, and
  • no foreign exchange fees.

If you fly with Southwest at least once per year, the $75 annual credit offsets half the annual fee – giving this card the lowest annual fee of the group.

It also earns the most anniversary points every year and is the only card to offer 4 free upgraded boardings per year.

And as one last added bonus, when you do leave the country, this card waives the standard 3% on foreign currency transactions, saving you money while using your credit card abroad.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa

The mid-tier offering among Southwest cards, the , offers fewer perks, but also has a lower annual fee of $99.

You can expect:

  • 6,000 anniversary points, and
  • no foreign exchange fees.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Visa

The entry-level card of the trio, the , has the lowest annual fee of $69 and has only one perk – 3,000 points on your cards anniversary every year.

JetBlue credit cards

JetBlue as an airline is no slouch either. Operating out of hubs in Boston, New York, Florida, and Long Beach, JetBlue offers coverage across the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Earning and redeeming TrueBlue Rewards

JetBlue’s rewards program is called TrueBlue.

Similar to Southwest, there are no blackout dates and you can use your points for any available seat.

When it comes to point value, an average value for a TrueBlue point is 1.3 cents each, a little lower than Southwest.

And like the Southwest cards, the 2 JetBlue credit cards (issued by Barclays) largely have the same earn rates.

Both cards will give you:

  • 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases, and
  • 2 points per $1 spent on restaurant and grocery store purchases.

They do have different earn rates on JetBlue purchases as well as welcome bonuses.

JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard

The top offering in the group, the offers the most perks, as well as the best sign-up bonus.

For an annual fee of $99, you’ll earn 6 points per $1 spent on JetBlue purchases. And it comes with a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.

As for JetBlue perks, you’ll get:

  • 50% savings on in-flight food and drink,
  • free first checked bag for 4 people traveling on the same reservation,
  • $100 annual statement credit when you purchase a JetBlue vacation package,
  • no foreign transaction fees, and
  • 5,000 anniversary bonus points.

The $100 statement credit, if used every year, offsets the annual fee and leaves you with some valuable perks virtually for free.

JetBlue Mastercard

A no fee card, the still offers the ability to earn JetBlue points, as well as some limited perks.

You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on JetBlue purchases and a sign-up bonus of 10,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.

However, this card does come with limited perks. You’ll only get the 50% discounts on in-flight food and drink, and no foreign transaction fees.

Southwest vs JetBlue credit cards

So, how do these cards stack up side by side?

Let’s compare the top options for each program, and determine who has the better card.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Visa JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard Category Winner
Welcome Bonus 60,000 points – worth $900 40,000 points – worth $520 Southwest
Earn Rates * 2 points per $1 on Southwest
* 1 point per $1 everywhere else
* 6 points per $1 spent on JetBlue
* 2 points per $1 spent on restaurants and groceries
* 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
JetBlue
Free checked bags First 2 checked bags free for all passengers (offered by Southwest, not the credit card) First checked bag free for 4 people Southwest
Anniversary points 7,500 points – worth $113 5,000 points – worth $65 Southwest
Discounts on in flight food and drink Not offered 50% JetBlue
Annual credit $75 $100, on vacation packages JetBlue
No foreign transaction fees Yes Yes Tie
Upgraded boarding 4 per year Not offered Southwest
Annual fee $149 $99 JetBlue
Verdict Tie

It’s definitely a close call between these 2 cards. The official tally is a tie.

But because of the lower annual fee and more points on your day to day spending, the comes out as a better card.

That being said, Southwest is a much larger airline, serves more destinations, has more hub cities than Southwest, and generally has better flight coverage around the U.S., including Hawaii.

JetBlue is best for flying to and from Boston, New York, Florida, and Long Beach. Outside of these areas, Southwest is a better overall airline, and their credit cards could be a better choice for you.

The bottom line

Both cards offer great value, good perks, and more convenient travels. And at the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with either card.

Do you have any of these cards?

What has your experience been with them?

Let us know in the comments below.