If you had told me three years ago that Chase would be launching a “premium” Southwest credit card, I would’ve called you crazy. But over the past couple of years, the credit card market has been inundated with new premium credit card products, as consumers become more comfortable about signing up for credit cards with higher annual fees. And now that trend looks like it’s going to continue as Chase looks to release a new premium Southwest credit card.
The new premium Southwest credit card
Per DOC, Chase is set to release a premium Southwest credit card. Here are the details that DOC has heard as of yet:
- Launch date set for sometime in July
- Annual fee of $150
- Will come with a discount on inflight items
- Comes with upgrades for A1-15 boarding
- Sign up bonus of 70,000 points
Like other recent “premium” cards released, this credit card looks like it’s going to be a lower-tier premium credit card with only a $150 annual fee. Typically, premium cards come with $400+ annual fees but are loaded with benefits like lounge access. In this case, Southwest doesn’t have fancy airport lounges so it’s going a different direction with its premium card.
Being able to upgrade to A1-15 boarding (Business Select) is actually a decent perk if you’re like me and like to snag the seats in the emergency exit rows (these come with more leg room or give you and a companion more privacy with only 2 seats in a row). Depending on the length of the route, this could cost you $30 to $50 per upgrade. So even if the card only gives you two upgrades per year, that’s potentially up to $100 worth of value.
I’m also curious to see how the upgrade works. Typically, you have to upgrade at check-in or sometimes even at the gate, so I wonder if this upgrade perk will work in the form of a statement credit to cover upgrade purchases made at the airport or if you’ll be able to utilize an upgrade at the time of purchase (my guess is the former).
The 70,000 sign-up bonus would be huge. Even though Southwest just devalued their currency, 70,000 is still a pretty valuable sign-up bonus. Chase just limited applicants to one personal Southwest credit card at a time per 24 months, so this 70,000 bonus will work in conjunction with the small business Southwest credit card and allow you to hit the 110,000 needed for the Companion Pass even when that business credit card bonus falls down to 40,000.
It will be interesting to see what other benefits develop for this credit card. I’m wondering if we’ll see an anniversary bonus for the card that’s stronger than the bonus for the Premier and if the bonus earning will be any better for this card. One would think that it would also come with a better shortcut to A-List.
And finally, I think the new premium Southwest card will likely be subject to 5/24 as the other Southwest cards are as well.
This card is an interesting development. For those who like to upgrade to Business Select, this card potentially will bring real value with its perks. And for those trying to hit the Companion Pass requirements with credit cards, this might be one of the best ways to get that done. I’ll be keeping track of how the details develop for this card.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.