Updated Jul 01, 2021 | Published Jun 23, 2020 • 13 min read
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If you love flying with Southwest, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card could upgrade your flights and help you relax. For an annual fee of $149, you’ll earn 2X points per dollar on all Southwest Airlines purchases and receive helpful travel perks like an annual travel credit and 7,500 annual bonus points.
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For budget-conscious travelers who are Southwest Airlines loyalists, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card could be a good choice, with valuable rewards and benefits.
This card offers 2X points per dollar spent on Southwest flights and bookings through hotel and car rental partners, in addition to the 1X point you’ll earn on all other purchases. If you value those miles at 1.5 cents each, which is about average, you’d be getting a cash back equivalent of 3% at Southwest.
There’s also a solid introductory offer, 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months; 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
Cardholders will get benefits like a $75 annual travel credit for use on future trips, four upgraded boardings per year, when available, and 7,500 bonus points each year on your anniversary of opening the card.
The Rapid Rewards Priority Card has many extra benefits, including the ability to redeem bonus points for airfare, gift cards, car rentals, cruises, and hotel stays. It might be an expensive option for some due to its $149 annual fee, but the credits and bonus points you get will offset that quite a bit. Whether or not it’s the right card for you will depend on your spending and travel habits, as well as your relationship to Southwest Airlines.
Keep reading to learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card and find out if it should be your new go-to travel rewards card.
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
Compare with other travel credit cards: This card offers benefits that make sense for Southwest travelers. If you prefer to use different airlines or only fly Southwest occasionally, another travel card might make more sense for you.
Book travel through Southwest: Book your flights, hotel stays, and car rentals through Southwest and Southwest’s partners to earn 2X points per dollar spent.
Take advantage of the introductory bonus: 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months; 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
Enjoy your anniversary bonus: You’ll receive 7,500 bonus points every year on your cardmember anniversary.
Redeem your rewards: The best redemption values come from redeeming your rewards for flights, so save your points for air travel.
Take advantage of your flight credits: Each year, you’ll get a $75 airline credit to use for future Southwest flights.
Indulge in-flight: Treat yourself to drinks, snacks, or WiFi on Southwest flights and get 20% back.
Don’t pay extra when traveling: The Rapid Rewards Priority Card has no foreign transaction fees, a great perk when traveling internationally.
Offset the annual fee: You can completely offset the $149 annual fee by using the yearly $75 credit and 7,500 bonus points. Those can give you a total value of at least $150 — perhaps quite a bit more.
This card can earn the equivalent of about 1% to 4% cash back on purchases with the normal redemption methods, depending on how you earn and redeem the points. And you may find a better value than that if you get a great point redemption.
In addition to what the card earns, you’ll also earn points from your Southwest membership depending on the type of fare you fly. You’ll earn 6X points per flight for “Wanna Get Away” fares, 10X for “Anytime,” and 12X for “Business Select” fares. So depending on your ticket, you could increase your cash back equivalent to 12%–16%, 18%–24%, or 21%–28% respectively.
2X points per dollar spent on eligible purchases from:
40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months; 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year
If you redeem them through Southwest Airlines or Southwest’s partners, those points can be worth as much as 1.5 cents or more. That means you could earn the equivalent of 3% cash back in the 2X categories, and 1.5% cash back for other purchases.
If you get a value of 2 cents per point you’d be earning a 4% cash back equivalent at Southwest, with 2% back everywhere else. You can rack up points quickly by booking your travel primarily through Southwest and its partners.
However, other purchases — such as gas, groceries, or anything from retail stores — will only get you 1X point. Other rewards credit cards offer more cash back for that kind of spending, so if that’s a priority you might want to look for another card to supplement this one.
Membership points don’t expire and there are no blackout dates, so you don’t have to worry about your points disappearing.
The points you earn with this rewards program also count towards the famous Southwest Companion Pass, which lets you designate one person to fly free with you all year long.
There are several different ways to redeem your points.
Book flights, hotel stays, or car rentals
For merchandise like electronics, jewelry, or other items
For gift cards from over 70 different retailers
Points are generally worth 1 to 2 cents each. So if you were to redeem 40,000 bonus points you could take home a $400 gift card, at the low end.
However, how you redeem your points can affect their value and can make them worth even more. For example, a Wanna Get Away fare from Orlando to Philadelphia is 9,998 points, or $152 when paid for normally.
That means each point is worth about 1.5 cents when redeemed. For Anytime or Business Select fares – where the cost can easily be $500 or more – the cost worked out to about 1.5 cents a point, too.
That’s a good deal for budget travelers, though how much your points are worth is dependent on your travel dates, destination, and ticket fare class.
We recommend looking for flight redemptions to get the best value for your points. If you’re not going to get at least 1.5 cents per point, it probably makes sense to wait to use your points until you find a better deal.
Most of the value you get from the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card is from the benefits, rather than the travel rewards. Depending on which benefits you use, you can easily get several hundreds of dollars of value, offsetting the annual fee.
Some of the biggest highlights are the $75 credit and 7,500 bonus points, along with upgraded boarding positions and the ability to earn Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs). That’s on top of more typical travel benefits, like lost luggage reimbursement and baggage delay insurance.
This card is available at either the Visa Platinum or Visa Signature level. If you’re approved for a credit limit of $5,000 or more, you’ll get the Visa Signature card. Otherwise, you’ll get the Visa Platinum card. Visa Signature cardholders get slightly better versions of some of these perks, along with access to one additional benefit — Travel and Emergency Assistance.
$75 annual southwest travel credit: Receive a $75 annual travel credit to use to book your flights, Rapid Rewards hotel stays, or car rentals each year.
7,500 anniversary points: Every year you’ll receive 7,500 bonus points.
Tier Qualifying Points: Travelers with Southwest A-list status get priority boarding, priority check-in and security lane access, access to a dedicated customer support line, free same-day standby flights, and a 25% earning bonus on flights. To get on the A-list, you need to fly 25 qualifying one-way flights or earn 35,000 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) in a calendar year. You’ll earn 1,500 TQPs for every $10,000 you spend, up to $100,000 per year. That means you can earn as many as 15,000 TQPs by using the card.
Four upgraded boardings: Skip the scramble and get one of the coveted A1 through A15 seats. Each anniversary year, you will be reimbursed for up to four Upgraded Boardings for A1 through A15 seats. The price of an Upgraded Boarding varies depending on your flight, but usually costs between $30 and $50.
20% back on in-flight purchases: You’ll receive 20% back on in-flight Southwest purchases like drinks, meals, entertainment, and WiFi.
No blackout dates or restrictions: There are no blackout dates or restrictions on award flights, so you don’t have to worry about coordinating your travel dates around the holidays.
Purchase Protection: When you make an eligible purchase using the card, you’ll receive protection for up to 120 days against theft and damage up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Extended Warranty Protection: Eligible manufacturers’ warranties can be extended by up to one year.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: If you rent an eligible vehicle and decline the rental company’s insurance, you can get coverage against theft and collisions.
Roadside Dispatch: If you’re stranded on the side of the road due to a flat tire or dead battery, you can get 24/7 help with roadside emergencies like these. Third-party fees will apply.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement: If you or an immediate family member have a checked or carry-on bag that is lost or damaged by the airline, you’re typically covered by up to $3,000.
Baggage Delay Insurance: In most cases, if your checked bag is delayed by six hours or more, you’ll be reimbursed for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing, up to $100 a day for three days.
Travel Accident Insurance: You can get up to $250,000 in accidental death or dismemberment coverage when you use your card to book travel with a common carrier.
Travel and Emergency Assistance: Visa Signature cardholders can get help with emergencies, such as legal or medical referrals.
The Terms & Fees
Balance Transfer APR
Cash Advance APR
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
Foreign Transaction Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Cash Advance Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
Returned Payment Fee
Up to 29.99%
Up to $39
Up to $39
The fees on the the Rapid Rewards Priority Card are straightforward. There is no intro APR offer, so any purchases you make will start accruing interest at the rate above unless you pay off the statement balance in full each month. There is no benefit to doing a balance transfer since there isn’t a promotional low-interest offer.
With a valuable introductory bonus, you might be able to book a full round-trip using just your bonus points, offsetting the cost of the $149 annual fee. Plus, the annual anniversary bonus of 7,500 points and the ability to upgrade your boarding position bring that cost down even further.
Between the $75 travel credit and 7,500 bonus points, the annual fee can be completely offset, making the card basically free to use. That’s an excellent deal that Southwest fliers should be aware of.
However, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card is not for everyone. For business travelers or for those used to travel benefits with other cards, the Southwest Priority Card’s benefits might feel anemic. You don’t get any luxury perks, like airport lounge access, which might make other cards a better alternative for you.
How Do I Apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card?
You can apply now for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card, securely on the Chase website, by following the link below.
Once you submit, you’ll usually receive a decision from Chase within minutes. In some cases it could take longer, if they need additional information or verification of income.
What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card?
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is designed for people with good credit.
If your FICO score is at least 670 for FICO or 700 for VantageScore, you’re thought to have good credit.
But that doesn’t mean approval is a sure-fire thing. When credit card issuers weigh your application, they take more into consideration than credit scores. So even if you’re in the recommended range, you might not be accepted. That goes for the opposite as well: If you’re in a lower range, you might still get it.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18 to apply (19 in Alabama/Nebraska, and 21 in Puerto Rico)
Personal identifying information: Birth date, Social Security number, email address, and phone number
Address and contact information: Email, phone number, address
Financial information: Total annual income, source of income, monthly mortgage/rent payment
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
Receive a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.*Payment of the government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
Complimentary access into the Delta Sky Club® for you when travelling on a Delta flight.
Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
The true value of the Delta Skymiles Reserve is found in its benefits. You’ll get Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access, and an annual companion ticket for your flights, all of which hold considerable value.
There’s a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application credit included too, but no other credits to help lessen the blow of the high annual fee.
If you could live with either Delta or Southwest, you’ll have to ask yourself: Will you trade an annual travel credit and lower annual fee for more rewards, airport lounge access, and an extra ticket?
Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access: Get complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, with up to two guests at $39 each, plus complimentary access to Centurion Lounges, with up to two guests at $50 each. Includes two free Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes.
Annual Companion Certificate: A certificate for a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flight
Status Boost: Earn 15,000 MQMs for spending $30,000, up to four times per calendar year.
First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
Priority Boarding on Delta flights: Get on the plane more quickly with Zone 1 priority boarding.
Complimentary upgrades: If you don’t have Medallion status you can still get some upgrades for free.
20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount, in the form of a statement credit, on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $550
Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Rates & Fees)
In addition to being just as rewarding as the Southwest Priority card, the Citi / AAdvantage card offers some helpful perks like a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, as well as the more valuable Admirals Club membership. The latter will get you and up to ten authorized users airport lounge access (with two guests for free).
The annual fee is pretty high however, with few credits to bring it down. But, it’s a hefty metal card that still provides pretty good rewards and useful benefits for frequent travelers.
So, if you could fly with either airline, you’ll have to decide which card you’d get more value from: the Southwest card with a lower annual fee and $75 travel credit, or the Citi AAdvantage with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and airport lounge access, along with other perks, but at a higher annual cost.
Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Where this card shines is the rewards and flexible redemption options. There’s a bonus if you redeem your points for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards, upping the value to 1.25 cents per point.
You’ll get a plethora of travel protections, but there aren’t any annual travel credits to help offset the annual fee, so the Southwest card can end up costing you less per year despite its higher annual fee.
1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
100,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening
Chase features one of the most rewarding rewards programs of any card issuer. While you’ll get slightly increased value from redeeming your points for travel expenses, you can find a far greater value by transferring your points to Chase’s travel partners.
By doing so, you could find a point value of 2–4 cents, or even more, increasing your cash back equivalent. One of the travel partners is Southwest, so even if you choose this card over the Southwest Rapid Rewards card, you can still redeem your points for Southwest airfare.
Credit Journey: Monitor your VantageScore 3.0 credit score based on your TransUnion credit report, and get advice to improve your credit scores.
1:1 point transfer: 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points. The travel and hotel partners include Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, United, World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, and IHG Rewards Club.
DoorDash membership: You’ll get a free DoorDash membership for at least a year, known as a DashPass. That’ll get you free delivery and reduced service fees for orders over $12.
Referral bonus points: You can invite friends to apply for the Sapphire Preferred, and for every friend who’s approved you’ll get 20,000 bonus points. You can earn up to 100,000 bonus points per year in this way.
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
$200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
$240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
$200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
$200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
$300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
$179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
5X Membership Rewards points per dollar (on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year, then 1X) on:
Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
100,000 bonus points for spending $6,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months
Depending on the spending category and how you redeem, you can earn a cash back equivalent of 10% or even more. That assumes you’re spending in the 5X category and redeeming for 2 cents per point, using point transfers to Amex’s travel partners.
When you transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to hotel or travel partners, you can usually find more value than what you’d get through normal redemption methods. The greater the value you find, the larger cash back equivalent you’ll receive. To maximize the value of your points, try waiting until you’ll get a rate better than 1.5 cents each.
$300 Equinox credit: Pay with your Platinum card to get up to $300 in statement credits annually with Equinox (up to $25 per month), for Equinox All Access, Destination, E by Equinox, or Equinox+ membership fees.
$240 digital entertainment credit: Pay with your Platinum card to get up to $240 in statement credits annually for digital entertainment (up to $20 per month), only for eligible purchases from Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times.
CLEAR credit: Up to $179 in statement credits annually for CLEAR biometric security, enough for a membership.
Uber Eats Pass: Get unlimited $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders at eligible restaurants for 12 months; must enroll by 12/31/21. Taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum. Eats Pass will start auto-billing 12 months from enrollment, at then-current monthly rate. Learn more.
Uber VIP status: Add your Platinum card to the Uber App to get Uber VIP status where available.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four and a half years)
Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay
Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more at eligible properties
$100 annual Saks credit: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December
Global Dining Access by Resy: Resy provides access to exclusive reservations and dining experiences.
Point transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel loyalty programs
Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection; Extended Warranty; Return Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance; Trip Delay Insurance; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $695
Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.
Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.
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