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Chase has added a new credit card to its lineup of Southwest co-brand cards, announcing the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. The new product is Southwest’s venture into the premium card market and joins the Plus, Premier, and Business Southwest cards as a fourth option available to Rapid Rewards members.
The Southwest Priority Card comes with a welcome bonus of 40,000 points and features:
- A $75 annual Southwest travel credit
- 7,500-anniversary points each year
- Four upgraded boardings per year
- 20% back on in-flight purchases
The card earns 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases., earns tier-qualifying points towards A-list status, and sports an annual fee of $149 per year, $50 higher than Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.
There’s good and bad news for Rapid Rewards members who want to apply for the new Southwest Priority Card. On a positive note, points earned from the welcome bonus and every day spend will count toward the coveted Southwest Companion Pass; however, Chase has extended the application restrictions from the current Southwest cards to cover the latest offering.
Not only is the card subject to 5/24, but if you currently hold a Southwest personal card, or you’ve received a welcome bonus from a personal card in the previous 24 months, you won’t qualify for a new cardmember bonus on the Southwest Priority Card.
Southwest Priority Card Welcome Bonus
New cardmembers of the Southwest Priority Card can earn a bonus of 40,000 points. after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Points Earning Potential & Category Bonuses
The earning structure on the Southwest Priority Card is identical to the two existing personal Southwest cards.
- 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases.
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
To be honest, the Southwest cards do not sit high on our list of best cards for earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points, outside of earning towards the total points required for the Companion Pass. Why do you ask?
Ultimate Rewards Points transfer to Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. This means you could earn the equivalent of 3x Rapid Rewards points on airfare (Southwest and others) with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or 2x points using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, up to 5x points on rotating bonus categories using the Chase Freedom®, and 1.5x points on non-bonus purchases using the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
Scenarios where it makes sense to pull out the Southwest Priority Card include paying for in-flight purchases at a 20% discount, or when chasing the Companion Pass which can require significant spend on cards that earn Rapid Rewards Points directly (points transferred to Rapid Rewards from other programs do not count towards the Companion Pass).
Southwest Priority Card Feature Benefits
While it won’t make sense for most cardholders to put significant spend on the Southwest Priority Card, the card provides a few feature benefits that make it worth holding onto for the long term if you regularly fly Southwest. As the card has an annual fee of $50 more than the Southwest Premier Card, the primary concern for potential applicants should be if the additional benefits offset the higher out-of-pocket expense to hold the card over the long term.
7,500 Anniversary Rapid Rewards Points Each Year
Cardholders receive 7,500 Rapid Rewards points on their account anniversary each year, 1,500 more points than the Southwest Premier Card which receives 6,000 points. You can consistently redeem Rapid Rewards points for roughly 1.5¢ per point, as the program is revenue based and award costs are tied directly to revenue fares. The additional 1,500 points at face value are worth $22-$23, almost half the extra annual fee.
$75 Annual Southwest Travel Credit
You’ll also receive an annual $75 Southwest travel credit each account year, good for most Southwest purchases including airfare, but specifically excluding Upgraded Boardings and in-flight purchases. Now, this should go without saying, but if you don’t spend at least $75 per year on Southwest tickets, this is not the card for you. It only makes sense if you regularly fly Southwest, and even then, it should form only a small part of a more extensive rewards strategy.
If you're confident you’ll make full use of the 7,500-anniversary points received each year, and the $75 travel credit, then you’ll be better off financially with the Southwest Priority Card than holding the Southwest Premier Card year on year, as the benefits more than offset the additional out of pocket expense.
Four Upgraded Boardings Per Year
If you hold the Southwest Priority Card, you’ll be reimbursed for buying up to four Upgraded Boardings (positions A1 through A15) each account year. You can purchase the Upgraded Boardings at the ticket counter or departure gate on the day of departure only, and they are subject to availability. How much these are worth to you depends a lot on your priorities and the routes you fly, the cost of Upgraded Boardings is differs based on your itinerary.
20% Back on In-Flight Purchases
When you use the Southwest Priority Card for in-flight purchases, you’ll receive 20% back as a statement credit on drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies.
In addition to the benefits listed above, the card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, a bonus if you’re using it overseas. Cardholders also receive 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQP) for every $10,000 spent on the card, up to $100,000 per year or 15,000 TQPs which count toward qualification for A-List and A-List Preferred status with Rapid Rewards. TQPs are calculated annually rather than by account year, so if you acquire the card mid-year, your TQP will be calculated up until your December statement before the count resets for the new year.
As with all of Chase’s Southwest cards, the Southwest Priority Card is subject to Chase's 5/24 Policy, which restricts the approval of new Chase rewards cards to applicants with less than five new personal credit card accounts, from any provider, opened in the previous 24 months. If you already hold a consumer Southwest card, or you’ve received a new cardmember bonus in the previous 24 months, you’re not eligible for the welcome bonus on the Southwest Priority Card.
“The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapids 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.”
When rumors surfaced of a premium Southwest co-brand card on the horizon, there was speculation that it would offer top-end perks, such as lounge access, and sport a top-end annual fee. The reality is that this card is more an evolution of the existing Southwest Premier Card, aimed squarely at travelers loyal to Rapid Rewards, or that fly Southwest enough to justify the higher annual fee which I’d say covers the majority of Southwest loyalists.
The Southwest Priority Card comes with a welcome bonus of 40,000 points, 7,500-anniversary points, 4x Upgraded Boarding credits each year, and a $75 annual Southwest travel credit, which includes purchased airfare.
If you have any questions regarding the new Southwest co-brand card, fire away in the comments below.
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