Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest domestic carrier, but it offers a remarkably simple frequent flier program called Rapid Rewards. You simply redeem your points for about 1.4 cents each toward any unsold seat.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card offers the most perks of any of their credit cards, but that comes at a cost.
What Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card?
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is a premium travel rewards credit card offered by Chase. With its $149 annual fee, it’s the most expensive of the three Rapid Rewards consumer credit cards offered.
As a new applicant, you can earn 60,000 Rapid Rewards points and a 30% off promo code after using your card to spend $3,000 within three months of account opening. You can use this code for a round-trip ticket with multiple passengers, and it’s valid with both cash and points bookings.
You also earn 2x points on Southwest airlines purchases and from purchases from Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. The 2x points offer is also valid for local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshare providers such as Uber and Lyft. You also earn 2x points on your internet, cable, and phone bills as well as for select streaming services.
You should expect plenty of valuable benefits from a premium travel rewards card, and this card largely delivers. For example, you receive a $75 credit toward Southwest purchases each year as well as a credit toward four upgraded boardings annually. These upgraded boardings currently sell for $30 to $80 each, depending on the flight.
This card can also help you earn elite status in the Rapid Rewards program. You earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) toward A-List status for every $10,000 you spend, and there’s no limit on the number of TQPs you can earn.
Other perks include 25% back on in-flight purchases as well as cardholder benefits like lost and delayed baggage insurance, extended warranty coverage and a purchase protection policy.
There’s a $149 annual fee for this card, but thankfully there’s no foreign transaction fee imposed on purchases processed outside the United States. You also get a 7,500-point bonus on your account anniversary instead of flowers, which is worth about $105.
What Sets the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Apart?
Nearly every airline offers several credit cards, but the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is different for a few reasons. Mostly, it provides you with enough perks to help you justify its considerable annual fee. These perks include:
- Big sign-up bonus. Earn 60,000 bonus points and a 30% off promo code after spending just $3,000 within three months. The promo code itself is a unique offer and can be very valuable.
- Lots of bonus categories. Earn 3x points on Southwest ticket purchases plus 2x from transit, commuting, and rideshare purchases and 2x from internet, cable, and phone services and select streaming purchases. You also earn 2x when you book reservations with Southwest’s hotel and rental car partners.
- Credit toward Southwest tickets. You get $75 back from your Southwest purchases each year. You also get a 7,500-point bonus on your account anniversary, which is worth about $105. For many travelers, these two features can justify this card’s annual fee.
- Earn credit toward A-List status. This card lets you earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) toward A-List status for every $10,000 you spend, and there is no limit on the number of TQPs you can earn. A-List status offers you perks such as a better boarding position and free same-day confirmed flight changes.
- Four upgraded boardings per year when available. This gives you a boarding position of A1-15, which normally costs $30 to $80 per flight.
Key Features of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is not a very complicated credit card, but it does offer a lot of features that are worth knowing about before you apply.
Earn 60,000 bonus points and a promo code for 30% off after spending just $3,000 within three months. The 30% off code has the potential to offer tremendous savings to large families who use it to book a round-trip ticket.
Earn 3x points on Southwest ticket purchases plus 2x from transit, commuting, and rideshare purchases and 2x from internet, cable and phone services, and select streaming purchases. You also earn 2x when you book reservations with Southwest’s hotel and rental car partners. You earn one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Rapid Rewards points are worth about 1.4 cents each toward airfare in any of their four fare classes. There are no restrictions on the number of seats available for redeeming rewards — you can use your points for any unsold seat.
This card has an $149 annual fee. No doubt, this will turn off a lot of potential applicants. However, it’s important to consider it in the context of the sign-up bonus as well as the $75 annual travel credit, 7,500-point anniversary bonus, and the four upgraded boardings each year. Fortunately, there’s no foreign transaction fee.
This card requires good or better credit to qualify. If your FICO score is much below 700, then you’ll likely have trouble being approved.
This card has several key advantages that help justify its pricey annual fee.
- Lots of benefits. This card offers numerous benefits, such as travel fee credits, upgraded boardings, in-flight purchase discounts and an anniversary bonus. You also get several purchase protection and travel insurance policies.
- Bonus points. With all the 3x and 2x bonus categories, this card makes it easy to earn a free trip.
- Big sign-up bonus. You can earn a bonus worth hundreds of dollars, and the minimum spending required is lower than many competing cards. The 30% off code can also be extremely valuable.
- Easy rewards program. Other airline credit cards offer miles that can be difficult and confusing to redeem for the most value. But the Southwest Rapid Rewards program still keeps it simple.
Before applying for this card, you have to consider some of its drawbacks and missing perks.
- Expensive annual fee. There’s no way around the fact that you must pay $149 a year to use this card, so you have to use the rewards and benefits of this card to justify it.
- No promotional financing offer. If you’re looking for a credit card with a 0% APR introductory financing offer, this isn’t it.
- Forget first-class. You can’t redeem your Rapid Rewards points for a first-class seat because there are only economy seats on Southwest.
- No overseas awards. Like first-class, Southwest fliers will find Europe, Asia, and much of the world out of their reach. However, Southwest does fly to Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean and even Central America.
How the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Stacks Up
One of Southwest’s closest competitors is JetBlue, and it offers the JetBlue Plus card from Barclays. The JetBlue card has a slightly better sign-up bonus and substantially more points for airline ticket purchases. However, JetBlue points are worth about 1.2 cents each, which is significantly less than Southwest points.
|Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
|JetBlue Plus Card From Barclays
|Up to 3x
|Up to 6x
|0% Intro APR
|Foreign Transaction Fee
|Good or better
|Good or better
Fans of Southwest Airlines know that it’s a different type of carrier than the likes of American, Delta and United.
Instead of business-class tickets to Europe, Southwest fliers prize little perks like an upgraded boarding position and easy-to-use rewards. That’s where the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card delivers.
But for those who aren’t fully onboard with the way Southwest works, the $149 annual fee can be hard to swallow. It’s also not a card for those whose home airport doesn’t offer much Southwest service. And for these more casual Southwest customers, it can be worth considering the Rapid Rewards Plus and Premier cards.
But if you find yourself regularly boarding Southwest and are looking for the best card to maximize your rewards and benefits, then there’s no substitute for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.
Disclaimer: The information related to the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.