Most products on this page are from partners who may compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how they appear on the page. However, opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain. This page may include information about American Express products currently unavailable on Slickdeals. American Express is not a partner of Slickdeals.

Southwest Airlines recently announced changes to the Rapids Rewards® program that now makes it easier than ever to earn A-List status or A-List Preferred. Frequent Southwest flyers may have their eye on A-List status to make their flights more comfortable, with a host of air travel benefits that include priority boarding, inflight Wi-Fi, boosted earning bonus rates and more.

If you’re interested in earning A-List status with Southwest, here’s everything you need to know about the new Rapid Rewards program changes and how to earn A-List status faster.

🚀 New Boosted Southwest Welcome Bonus

Right now, Southwest consumer credit card holders can earn a whopping 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. This bonus is notably larger than what’s typically available, making now an ideal time apply.

Find the Right Southwest Card for You

Benefits of A-List Status

Here’s a quick comparison of the benefits you can get with Southwest A-List and A-List Preferred statuses.

Benefit A-List Status A-List Preferred Status

Priority boarding



Priority check-in and security lanes



Same-day standby



Earning bonus



Dedicated customer support



In-flight amenities


Free in-flight internet

Up to 2 complimentary premium drinks*

*Effective November 6, 2023, available for each flight 176 miles or more

Consult the Rapid Rewards program for specific details, exclusions and restrictions.

Downsides of A-List Status

A-List status has a lot to offer, but some travelers may find a few things lacking with A-List, depending on their preferences. 

A-List status does not offer:

  • Lounge access: The airline doesn’t have lounges, so an elite status won’t help you out in that regard. Here are some cards that do come with lounge perks.
  • Extra luggage perks: All Southwest passengers get two checked bags for free anyway, and you won’t get any extra with A-List status.
  • Upgraded boarding and seats: Southwest doesn’t have first-class seats, so again, A-List status won’t aid you there. But A-List does offer priority boarding, which can help you nab the seat you prefer.

How to Get A-List Status

Getting A-List status is easier now than in the past, with new changes introduced by Southwest in October 2023 (new changes take effect on January 1, 2024).

You have two ways to get A-List status:

  • Fly 20 one-way qualifying flights (down from 25)
  • Earn 35,000 tier qualifying points (TQPs) in a calendar year

Similarly, to earn A-List Preferred status, you have two options:

  • Fly 40 one-way qualifying flights (previously 50)
  • Earn 70,000 TQPs in a calendar year

Note that tier-qualifying flights are revenue flights that are both purchased and flown, while TQPs must be earned from revenue flights during the qualifying year via select Rapid Rewards credit cards from Chase (exclusive of bonuses or promotions).

Earn Southwest Elite Status Faster

Southwest is also making it possible to earn elite status even faster with the right credit card. With both Southwest consumer and business cards, you’re able to earn Southwest points with your regular spending.

And beginning January 1, 2024, Rapid Rewards credit card holders will earn 1,500 TQPs for every $5,000 spent on purchases using:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
  • One of the Southwest business credit cards

That’s a huge drop from the previous $10,000 needed, which should make this much easier for many shoppers to earn.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Apply Now

Secure application on issuer’s website

  • Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work
  • APR21.49% - 28.49% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$99
  • Sign Up Bonus 75,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months Dollar Equivalent: $1,050 (75,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

This middle-of-the-pack Southwest card is a good option for occasional travelers. In exchange for a moderate annual fee, you'll enjoy strong travel perks on top of 6,000 bonus points every anniversary. Another nice perk is this card charges no foreign transaction fees, unlike the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus.


In addition to perks like no foreign transaction fees and being able to earn A-list flight status, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card also offers a generous 6,000 bonus points every cardholder anniversary. It’s these types of benefits that help round out the value of the $99 annual fee.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card also offers two EarlyBird Check-Ins each year.


  • Land A-List status faster with 1,500 TQPs for every $10,000 you spend
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass®
  • 6,000 bonus points awarded every cardmember anniversary


  • $99 annual fee
  • Must fly Southwest often for this card to make sense

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Apply Now

Secure application on issuer’s website

  • Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work Read the review
  • APR21.49% - 28.49% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$149
  • Sign Up Bonus 75,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months Dollar Equivalent: $1,050 (75,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

If you’re looking for a Southwest credit card stacked with travel rewards and perks, this is it. Although it has the highest annual fee of Southwest consumer cards, you could easily offset the fee if you travel Southwest frequently.


When you look at benefits like a $75 annual travel credit, free checked bags and discounts on in-flight purchases, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is probably the most affordable of all the Southwest credit cards. Similarly, the 7,500 bonus points each cardmember anniversary really pack on the value and offset this card’s $149 annual fee.


  • Although there's a $149 annual fee, the $75 Southwest annual travel credit makes the card much more affordable for frequent flyers
  • 7,500 anniversary bonus points as a cardmember


  • Higher annual fee may not be a fit for some
  • Must fly Southwest with some frequency for card to make sense

Note that TQPs earned will count toward A-List or A-List Preferred qualification based on when they post to your account, rather than on your purchase date, which can vary based on your statement closing date. For more information on how the Southwest cards stack up, check out our comparison guide.

Southwest airlines plane taking off Related Article

A Roundup of Current Southwest Credit Card Deals

Read More

Is Southwest A-List Status Worth It?

Southwest A-List status is worth it for travelers who frequent Southwest Airlines. The requirements to earn A-List status have recently been reduced, so if you take 20 one-way trips or earn 35,000 TQPs a year, you’ll qualify. With A-List status comes a list of travel comforts, including a dedicated security lane and priority boarding, which a lot of flyers value.

That said, if Southwest doesn’t serve airports you frequent or you just don’t take enough Southwest flights for it to be worthwhile, you might be better off with a different airline program. United Airlines MileagePlus, for example, serves a larger number of both domestic and international airports. You can enjoy a number of perks and earn elevated rewards on United purchases with select United credit cards. The key is to look at your personal travel habits and consider what sort of perks and onboard amenities you prefer as you compare loyalty programs and find the best fit for you.


  • A-List status is good for the remainder of the calendar year once you’ve qualified. When you meet the qualifications for A-List, your status kicks in immediately. So take note that if you qualify in January, you’ll get 12 months out of the program, but if you qualify in November, you’ll only get two months.

  • No, you can’t really buy A-List status, though you can spend money in other ways to earn the tier. To earn A-List status, you’ll need to fly at least 20 times (25 until January 2024, when it drops down) or earn 35,000 TQPs, which you can do by purchasing qualifying airfare or making eligible purchases with a Southwest Rapids Rewards credit card.

  • A-List Preferred members get a 100% earning bonus and enjoy in-flight amenities like free Wifi and complimentary premium drinks. With A-List, you’ll only get 25% more bonus points and don't benefit from in-flight amenities.

  • You get priority boarding with A-List Preferred, which means you and everyone on your reservation gets to board before regular boarders.


Slickdeals Money Staff

The Slickdeals Money editorial team is dedicated to helping readers navigate the personal finance space. We’re passionate about educating our readers on the very best financial tools & products on the market today.