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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Secure application on issuer’s website
- Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work
- APR20.49% - 27.49% (Variable)
- Annual Fee$149
50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
Earn 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)
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. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is as close to a premium credit card that Southwest Airlines offers non-business account holders. While its rewards-points earnings are the same as the Premier, the $149 annual fee does reward cardholders with a generous 7,500 bonus points on their account anniversary, as well as a $75 annual travel credit.
Practical Perks and a Reasonable Annual Fee
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card isn’t your average premium credit card. It seems downright modest compared to behemoths. But what it lacks in glamour, it makes up with substance. In exchange for a relatively reasonable annual fee, it packs many perks to improve your travel experience on a notoriously egalitarian airline.
Southwest already offers flyers two free checked bags and a free carry-on. The airline has no premium cabin or seat selection. So which Priority credit card perks make flying Southwest more pleasant? Benefits include bonus points, travel credits, and upgraded boardings.
Whether you’re looking to fast-track your way to a Companion Pass or want extra points for your next Southwest flight, the Priority card can get you there. It’s not just the welcome bonus; the Rapid Rewards Priority card earns generous rewards beyond the welcome bonus.
Still, the Southwest Priority card isn’t for everyone. Here’s everything you need to know about the pros and cons of this card
- 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
The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card offers generous rewards in common spending categories. These rewards can add up if you spend a lot on commuting costs, streaming, and travel. Depending on your spending habits, you could make this your go-to card for purchases:
- 3X points on Southwest purchases
- 2X points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
- 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
- 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services, and select streaming services
- 1X points on all other purchases
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Annual Fee
The Priority Credit Card has a $149 annual fee. It’s the most expensive Southwest credit card on the market, but it also comes packed with benefits.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card offers generous benefits that offset the $149 annual fee. Southwest isn’t a flashy airline, so these benefits are as flashy as it gets:
7,500 Bonus Points On Every Cardmember Anniversary
Priority card members earn 7,500 bonus points annually for renewing and paying the annual fee. This is a pretty valuable perk since earning 7,500 points would require a minimum of $2,500 in credit card spending. You can use 7,500 Southwest Rapid Rewards points for around $97 worth of Wanna Get Away fares. Even occasional Southwest flyers will find value in this benefit.
$75 Annual Southwest Travel Credit
The card’s $75 annual travel credit is one of the most valuable recurring perks. You can use it on virtually any Southwest purchase, including flights and vacation packages. In-flight purchases and upgraded boardings are excluded The credit applies cumulatively throughout the cardmember year, so you don’t have to use it all on one purchase.
Four Upgraded Boardings Per Year
If you’ve ever flown Southwest, you know what a hassle the boarding process can be. If you don’t check in for your flight exactly 24 hours in advance, you’ll end up with a late boarding position. Translation: You’ll end up sitting in the back with no overhead space left and possibly in a middle seat.
With the four annual upgraded boardings from the Southwest Priority card, members can avoid this hassle and get automatic Group A1-15 boarding. Simply purchase upgraded boarding with your Southwest Priority card and you’ll get a statement credit back.
1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points (TQPs) for Every $10,000 Spent
If four upgraded boardings a year aren’t enough, you can spend your way to A-list status with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card. The card earns 1,500 TQPs for every $10,000 spent. Southwest A-List status normally requires 35,000 TQPs and includes priority boarding.
If you make it to 70,000 points, you’ll reach A-List Preferred status. At this level, you’ll enjoy the same perks as A-List members, plus complimentary Wi-Fi and 100% bonus points on paid flights.
25% Back On In-Flight Purchases
Southwest doesn’t offer much for sale during flights, so the 25% discount on purchases won’t go very far. You can use it to pay for Wi-Fi, which costs $8 per day, or alcoholic beverages. Otherwise, the airline doesn’t sell food, so you won’t get much value from this benefit unless you’re traveling with a group.
Simply charge your purchases to your Southwest Priority card and you’ll get 25% back as a statement credit within 1-2 billing cycles.
Whether traveling or staying put, you want your valuables to be protected in case of damage or theft. The Southwest Priority card gives you peace of mind with four types of protection:
- Lost luggage reimbursement: Up to $3,000 per passenger
- Baggage delay insurance: Up to $100 per day for three days when your luggage is delayed over six hours
- Extended warranty: Extends eligible warranties of three years or less by one additional year
- Purchase protection: Covers purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Cardmembers who sign up by Dec. 31, 2024, can enjoy a year of free DashPass. Membership includes free deliveries through DoorDash and Caviar. DashPass normally costs $9.99 per month or $96 per year. If you already pay for it, this benefit can largely offset the Southwest Priority Card’s $149 annual fee.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Program Review: Big Value on a Budget
Your options for redeeming Southwest Rapid Rewards are somewhat limited compared to most other airline cards. Southwest doesn’t partner with any major airlines, so members are limited to redeeming Southwest Rapid Rewards points on Southwest flights. Rewards points are worth about 1.3 cents toward Wanna Get Away fares, which is not bad compared to other airline valuations.
That being said, Southwest credit card members get access to More Rewards, which includes international flights and hotels, events, rental car bookings, and gift cards. While that makes the card more appealing, remember that the redemption value isn’t great. You’ll get less than one cent per point on international flights, which is not ideal.
Who Qualifies for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card?
You need good credit to qualify for a Southwest Priority Credit Card. Experian defines this as a FICO score in the 670-739 range. With banks tightening their lending practices, it’s best to have at least a 700 credit score before applying. If you’re not quite there yet, read up on ways to improve your credit score before applying.
If you’ve applied for five or more credit cards in the last 24 months (from any issuer, not just Chase), you won’t qualify under the 5/24 rule. You’re also ineligible if you have a personal Southwest card or received a sign-up bonus in the past 24 months.
Comparison to Other Cards
The Rapid Rewards Priority credit card is the most premium of the three co-branded Southwest cards. It has the same welcome bonus as the other two cards, with a few more travel perks thrown in. It also has no foreign transaction fees, which is great for international travelers. Meanwhile, the Rapid Rewards Plus card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. That amounts to a $30 fee for every $1,000 spent.
When choosing a card, consider which perks you’ll get the most value from. The Priority credit card offers plenty of perks that offset the $149 annual fee, but only if you use them every year.
Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Worth it?
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is worth it if you redeem the annual travel credit and 7,500 bonus points. Even if you don’t earn the Companion Pass, the welcome bonus is solid (assuming you’re okay with not getting the highest bonus to date). The $149 annual fee is fairly reasonable for a card with premium perks like four upgraded boardings and TQPs on card spending.
The downside to this card is the limited options for redeeming points. Southwest Rapid Rewards isn’t the best program for Southwest flyers who want to travel outside the airline’s network. The airline has plenty of routes to Mexico and the Caribbean. But you won’t get much further without redeeming points at a terrible value through More Rewards.