Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards<sup>®</sup> Priority Credit Card Review Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards<sup>®</sup> Priority Credit Card Review

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Review

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Southwest Airlines offers three personal credit cards with varying benefits and annual fees. Sitting at the top of the bunch is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. While its $149 annual fee might sound intimidating, we'll show how the Southwest Priority Card benefits more than make up for its cost.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Annual Fee$149
Welcome Bonus Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 7,500 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Member FDIC
  • 3X points per $1 spent on all Southwest® purchases
  • 2X points per $1 spent on all Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • 2X points per $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • 2X points per $1 spent on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming services
  • 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Southwest Priority Card Overview

The Southwest Priority Card comes with a welcome bonus of 50,000 bonus points and features:

  • 7,500 anniversary points each year
  • A $75 annual Southwest travel credit
  • Four upgraded boardings per year
  • 25% back on in-flight purchases
  • Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent on the card each year

The card earns tier-qualifying points towards A-list status, and sports an annual fee of $149 per year—which is $50 higher than the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. However, for many travelers, the additional perks more than cover this difference.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Logo

Southwest Priority Card Welcome Bonus

New cardmembers of the Southwest Priority Card can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Points Earning Potential & Category Bonuses

The Southwest Priority Card earning structure breaks down as follows:

  • 3 Rapid Rewards points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases—improved from 2X in October 2021.
  • 2 Rapid Rewards points per $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including rideshare—improved from 1X.
  • 2 Rapid Rewards points per $1 spent on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming services—improved from 1X.
  • 2 Rapid Rewards points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 Rapid Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Despite these increased earning rates, there may be better ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

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 all travel (including Southwest) and dining using the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Even better, you can earn up to 10x points on travel by booking it through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Just note that Southwest flights can't be booked online through the Chase travel portal.

Then, you could transfer those Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest for future award redemptions. Plus, you have the flexibility to transfer to other frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs.

The downside: points transferred to Rapid Rewards from other programs do not count towards the Companion Pass. That means it can make sense to pull out the Southwest Priority Card when chasing the Companion Pass—or paying for in-flight purchases at a 25% discount.

Southwest Priority Card Feature Benefits

While it won’t make sense for most cardholders to put significant spending 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.

7,500 Anniversary Rapid Rewards Points Each Year

Cardholders receive 7,500 Rapid Rewards points on their account anniversary each year. The Southwest Rapid Rewards program is revenue-based and award costs are tied directly to revenue fares. Based on recent redemption data using Rapid Rewards points, you can expect to redeem Rapid Rewards points for roughly 1.37¢ per point. That means these bonus points alone are worth more than $100 — well over half the annual fee.

$75 Annual Southwest Travel Credit

You’ll also receive an annual $75 Southwest travel credit each account year. This credit can be used on most Southwest purchases including airfare, but specifically excluding Upgraded Boardings and in-flight purchases. If you don’t spend at least $75 per year on Southwest tickets, you probably shouldn't be getting a Southwest card. So, you should be able to easily use this valuable perk that effectively cuts the annual fee in half.

If you use the 7,500-anniversary points received each year and the $75 travel credit, you’ll be better off financially with the Southwest Priority Card than holding the Southwest Premier Card year-over-year. These two 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 Boarding at the ticket counter or departure gate only on the day of departure. Note that Upgraded Boardings are subject to availability. The cost of Upgraded Boardings depends on your itinerary, so your exact savings will vary.

25% Back on In-Flight Purchases

When you use the Southwest Priority Card for in-flight purchases, you’ll receive 25% back as a statement credit on drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies.

Other Perks

In addition to the benefits listed above, the card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, which can save you significant money on purchases made abroad. Cardholders also receive 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQP) for every $10,000 spent on the card annually. TQPs 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.

Southwest Priority Card Application Restrictions

As with all of Chase’s Southwest cards, the Southwest Priority Card is subject to Chase's 5/24 policy. This policy generally prevents new cardholders from getting a new Chase card if they've opened 5+ new personal credit card accounts in the previous 24 months.

Also, you're ineligible for the welcome offer if you currently have another Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card. Additionally, you aren't eligible for this sign-up bonus if you have received a new card bonus on a Southwest card within the past 24 months.

“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.”

Final Thoughts

The Southwest Priority Card is well worth it—even for those who only fly occasionally with Southwest Airlines. Just the 7,500-point anniversary bonus (worth over $100) and the $75 travel credit more than make up for the card's $149 annual fee. That means the card could be well worth keeping year after year.

4.4 / 5 - (13 votes)
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  • Already have the swa priority card have shifted spend onto this card with the 5% bonus for spend on dining,grocery, and Amazon. Hopefully they revive the quarterly spend on gas

  • So if I upgrade to this card from Premier to the Priority and then decide it is not worth having can I downgrade back to the Premier card?

    • Hey, Chase doesn’t guarantee the ability to move back and forth between products, but historically that has been possible. You may need to wait a year after making the initial upgrade before you can downgrade.

  • I’m unclear on the terms of the companion pass. Do you get one companion ticket free (except for taxes) for anyone you choose to accompany you every time you buy or redeem points for a ticket or do you specify one person who must always be the companion all year long?

    • You can change companion up to 3 times per calendar year following your initial selection, so essentially you can have up to 4 companions. The companion must be selected in advance and will have a physical pass mailed out that you will need to have on hand when traveling.

  • Dave Anderson says:

    what is exactly 5/24?
    Does the 8/22/18 cut off mean I wouldnt get the extra 25,000 points by spending 15k in first 12 months?

  • I’m thinking of turning in (canceling) my old standard SWA card for this and then perhaps getting a business SWA card as well so as to get the companion pass plus the 7500 miles per year. Any reason to keep my old card?

    • Gotta do the math. This new card has a nice set of benefits and if you’ve got a small business to pair the business card with, this is a great way to earn the companion pass!

  • Interesting way to quickly attain CP …and buy a car?

  • Lillian Dikovitsky says:

    I love Southwest but will wait til late in the year to try to get CP for next year.

  • says:

    wow. that’s a big spend to get the max bonus pts.

  • While I certainly wouldn’t call it a premium card, I do think this is a strong card from a loyalty program.

  • Bonus looks great!

  • I haven’t flown SW yet so that could be why I am not a big fan of them. One day I will and we’ll see how it goes.
    This sounds great for people who do fly them a lot. I love the idea of the anniversary miles. I wish other carriers did that!
    Like most people, I do focus on my UR cards. I’ve only transferred to United currently, since I’m earning towards another trip.

  • Here’s my issue with Chase. I was trying to get my balance down on my account so I went 3 months without making a charge and Chase closed my account due to no activity. No warning, just closed it and didn’t even notify me. I have never heard of this. I called and they said I had to re-apply to open an account. And I still have a balance owed. And I’ve been making monthly payments. Bizarre.

  • Air Flyer says:

    Thanks for the info.

  • Not a card I would waste 5/24 on

  • Bertrand Say says:

    I think this is one of the better credit cards to get. However if you are looking for business class or first class seating, this is not the credit card for you.

  • Really disappointed that they didn’t add any additional 2x categories like the AA, UA, and DL cards have done. I LUV Southwest but have mostly shifted my spending away from my Southwest Premier and Plus cards because I can earn 2x or 3x on everyday spend elsewhere.

  • Thank you for the break down.

  • It really looks worthwhile to me, except the 5/24 kills it.

  • Aw. A premium card without Global Entry.

  • As another reader pointed out, the benefits make up for the annual fee. So for those that enjoy the Southwest Experience, this could be a great card. I have never been a fan of their operation (Though there is no doubt that the employees are friendly) so I will continue to focus my spend on flexible points cards. I definitely don’t want to waste a 5/24 application when I could get another UR earning card instead.

  • I didn’t realize about the August cutoff for signing up. I was going to apply for this as part of an effort to get the companion pass next January.

  • The 7,500 anniversary points and annual $75 travel credit more than cover the annual fee, all the other benefits are just the icing on the cake.

  • a big fan of southwest and its card

  • I like the sign up bonuses, indeed, this card sounds very attractive..

    many thanks.

  • Michaelj1 says:

    Yet another opportunity comes our way. Let’s seize the day! Thank you for the information.

  • great bonus!! Thanks!!!

  • Chase is getting tougher and tougher with its application restrictions!

  • Too bad this card is subject to 5/24…sigh.

  • It’s definitely worth doing for most people who fly SW at least a few times a year.

  • So interesting how in the credit card world there seems to be another product coming around the next corner every so often. And, that is a good thing.l

  • Seems like some good sign up bonuses with this card, many thanks.

  • I’m luke warm on this one. I initially thought this card was the way to go. But the $15k spend for the additional 25k points is turning me off.