Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Review

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is loaded up with some interesting benefits like a travel credit, upgraded boardings, and right now it comes with a very solid limited-time welcome bonus!

Let’s take a look at all of the features of this card to see if it might be worth it for you to jump on this offer while it lasts.

Southwest Priority Credit Card

First, here are some highlights for the Southwest Priority Credit Card.

  • 3X on Southwest purchases
  • 2X on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • 2X on internet, cable, phone services, and streaming
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 7,500 anniversary points each year
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 25% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn tier qualifying points towards A-list Status
  • $149 annual fee

Not your typical premium card

When we think of premium travel rewards credit cards, it’s usually a card with a hefty $400+ annual fee that offers airport lounge access among other valuable travel perks.

But this card is different.

Southwest doesn’t have an airport lounge network so there’s no surprise that lounge access is not a perk here.

Instead, the additional value justifying the “semi-premium” price is going to come from the travel credit, upgrades, discounts, and the anniversary points.

These are benefits that could be very worthwhile to Southwest flyers but may not be as attractive to people who don’t normally fly Southwest.

I’ll discuss all of those in detail below.

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Southwest Priority Credit Card Features

Welcome bonus

  • 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

The 75,000 Rapid Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months is a great offer.

That puts you only 50,000 Rapid Rewards short of the Companion Pass requirements which you could easily meet by also going for a business card like the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card which is currently offering 60,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Just make sure that you hit your spend requirements after your December statement closes so that you can take advantage of this perk for as close to two years as you can get. (If you don’t want to risk anything, just wait until January of 2023 to meet your bonus.)

Learn how to apply!

Bonus spending

  • 3X on Southwest purchases
  • 2X on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • 2X on internet, cable, phone services, and streaming

Earning 3X on Southwest is solid but you might want to consider using a different Chase card for some of these categories.

That way, you can earn more points and have the added benefit of flexibility for transferring your points.

For example, I use the following Chase cards to rack up more rewards:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on dining and travel)
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited (1.5X on every single purchase)
  • Chase Freedom Flex (5X on quarterly purchases)
  • Chase Ink Cash (5X on office supply stores, telecommunications)

$75 Southwest annual travel credit

The $75 Southwest annual travel credit can be used on airfare which essentially gives you a $75 discount every year if you fly Southwest.

Many people have also used this credit on gift cards although you probably always want to check on the latest data points before you do that.

The credit will automatically be applied to your account when your Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority Card is used for purchases (excluding Upgraded Boardings and inflight purchases).

Ultimately, this credit helps to offset the $159 annual fee down to $84, which makes this card much more attractive.

7,500 anniversary points each year

The Southwest Priority Card earns 7,500 anniversary points each year on your account’s anniversary. 

All of the Southwest cards offer anniversary points each year and this bonus is 1,500 more Rapid Rewards than what the Premier offers and 4,500 more than what the Plus offers.

If you value Southwest Rapid Rewards at 1.5 cents per point, then 7,500 anniversary points amounts to $112.50 in value received each year.

So with the $75 travel credit and the $112.50 in annual Rapid Rewards, that’s value at $187.50 received each year from the perks which already offsets the annual fee.

Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available

The Priority Card will offer you four upgraded boarding positions which are upgrades to Business Select boarding (A1-A15).

If you’re not aware, Southwest doesn’t offer a traditional business class or first class experience. They offer something called Business Select, which allows you to receive priority boarding.

This means you can grab the seats at the front of the airplane or within the emergency exit rows where the seats have a little more leg room or where you can grab a row with only two seats.

The amount of seats with more legroom/privacy depends on whether you’re flying on a 737-700 or 737-800. You can find out more information about the different types of seats in my Tips for Flying Southwest.

The amount of money it costs to upgrade depends on the length of the journey but you usually pay $30 to $50. So getting four upgraded boardings per year when available could be worth anywhere from $120 to $200. That’s quite a bit of value.

I know a lot of people don’t care for Southwest since there’s no true business class but I’ve always enjoyed upgrading and then grabbing one of the couple seats in the emergency exit row so Brad and I have our own row.

So I wouldn’t sleep on this benefit if you fly Southwest, but if you don’t usually fly with them, this isn’t exactly a very enticing upgrade benefit.

It’s worth noting that when you upgrade you’re usually not given the other Business Select perks like a free drink.

Also, unlike the cheaper Southwest cards you do NOT get the two free Early Bird passes.

Learn how to apply!

25% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies

Even though your Southwest $75 credit is not good for in-flight purchases, they do offer you a 25% discount on many of these purchases which is nice.

No foreign transaction fees

Both the Southwest Premier and the Priority Credit Card do not come with foreign transaction fees.

Earn tier qualifying points towards A-list Status

You’ll earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 in purchases annually. There is no longer a limit on this earning potential!

TQPs can be used to count toward qualification for A-List or A-List Preferred status.

You need 35,000 tier qualifying points or 25 qualifying one-way flights per calendar year to qualify for A-List Status. A-List Members enjoy:

  • Priority boarding
  • Priority check-in and security lane access
  • 25% more Rapid Rewards points earned on each flight (A-List Preferred receives a 100% bonus)
  • Free same-day standby
  • Dedicated A-List Member phone line

$149 annual fee

The Southwest Priority Credit Card comes with a $149 annual fee. Compare that to the Premier which has a $99 annual fee and Southwest Plus which comes with a $69 annual fee.

As you can see, it’s very easy to offset the $149 annual fee with the perks offered by this card.

N569WN Southwest Airlines 2002 Boeing 737-7CT serial 33656 / 1246
Photo by Tomás Del Coro.

Not available to all

It’s important to remember the rules for Southwest credit cards that state:

This product is available to you if you do not have a current Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.

That last sentence is very important since the Business Southwest credit cards are excluded.

That means that if you’re striving for the Companion Pass then one of the best things that you can do is go for the business card and one of the personal cards.

Subject to 5/24

It’s also worth noting that the new Southwest Priority Credit Card is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so if you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months you won’t be eligible for the card.

Is it worth it?

The Priority Card’s benefits will clearly offset the annual fee for a lot of people, so I think it’s a great travel rewards card for Southwest flyers.

Learn how to apply!

Cover photo by BriYYZ via Flickr.

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