Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Review

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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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Logo

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.

Other Perks

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.

Application Restrictions

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.”

Final Thoughts

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.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Review
5 (100%) 6 votes
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Comments

  • 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.

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

  • 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

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

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

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

  • great bonus!! Thanks!!!

  • Michaelj1 says:

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

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

    many thanks.

  • a big fan of southwest and its card

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Aw. A premium card without Global Entry.

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

  • Thank you for the break down.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Not a card I would waste 5/24 on

  • Air Flyer says:

    Thanks for the info.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bonus looks great!

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

  • ron_vaughn@hotmail.com says:

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

  • Lillian Dikovitsky says:

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

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

  • 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!

  • 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 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.

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