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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, offering valuable rewards and benefits.
This card offers 2X points per $1 spent on Southwest flights and bookings through hotel and car rental partners, in addition to the 1X point per $1 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%.
There’s also an introductory offer, 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
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. However, it might be an expensive option for some due to its $149 annual fee. 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.
There are several co-branded Southwest credit cards, including business cards.
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card||$69||
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card (Review)||$99||
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (This review)||$149||
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card||$99||
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card||$199||
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.
We give the Rapid Rewards Priority Card 5 out of 5 Stars because it can provide cardholders with valuable travel perks and airline bonus points.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card is a good option for those who regularly fly Southwest Airlines. But if you want to earn rewards with other airlines, or that can redeemed by multiple carriers, check out some alternatives below.
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.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
Points are typically worth about 1 cent each, on average. But 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 per $1 spent. 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.
There are several different ways to redeem your points.
Points are generally worth 1 to 2 cents each. So if you were to redeem your 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.
While there are other travel reward cards that don’t charge an annual fee, it’s pretty easy to recoup the value of the $149 fee charged by the Rapid Rewards Priority Card. The cost shouldn’t hold you back from applying for the card if the other rewards and benefits are a good fit.
Each year you’ll receive a $75 Southwest flight credit. That brings the effective annual fee down, so you’ll only need to offset $74 per year to make the card a worthwhile investment.
Not only that, you’ll also get 7,500 bonus points each year. Even if you value those at the low end of 1 cent per point, that will provide $75 in value all on its own — or as much as $150 if you get 2 cents per point.
Those two benefits — the $75 credit and 7,500 bonus points — can serve to completely offset the $149 annual fee, providing a total value of $150 if you redeem at 1 cent per point. And if you redeem at a better rate you’ll profit even more.
Ta da! This card can pay for itself!
Whereas most cards require some yearly spending to make them worthwhile, the Rapid Rewards Priority card provides an exceptional value from these two benefits alone. Any spending rewards you earn or other benefits you use will be a bonus.
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.
Receive a $75 annual travel credit to use to book your flights, Rapid Rewards hotel stays, or car rentals each year. The credit applies to Southwest ticket purchases, but upgraded boardings and in-flight purchases are ineligible.
Every year you’ll receive 7,500 bonus points. You can redeem those Rapid Rewards points for flights, at Rapid Rewards hotel partners, for gift cards, and other options. At a value of 1–2 cents per point, those bonus points would be worth $75–$150.
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.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card helps you reach the A-List faster. 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.
If you frequently travel via Southwest, you know how important checking in early is to score a decent boarding position and room for your carry-on luggage.
With the Rapid Rewards Priority Card, you can 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 frequently costs between $30 and $50.
Three or four free Upgraded Boardings – which may cost $120 to $200 – could offset the annual fee, making it a very useful perk that can help you save money.
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 APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|17.49% - 24.49% Variable||17.49% - 24.49% Variable||26.49% Variable|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$149||$0||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.|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|None||None||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.
There is an annual fee of $149. As discussed above, you can offset that amount simply by using two of the yearly benefits: the $75 credit and 7,500 bonus points. There are no foreign transaction fees, making it a good option for those who travel internationally.
There are two versions of the card. The card you’ll get is determined by your credit limit when approved, which is dependent on your credit scores and overall creditworthiness, including income.
After having the card for some time and showing yourself to be a responsible user, you can request a credit limit increase from Chase.
|Chase Customer Support|
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card is issued by Chase. According to the most recent J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Chase is 4th out of 11 issuers in 2018.
Chase scores above average in the key moments category; “key moments” is defined as when customers apply for a card, need a replacement card, or have to report fraudulent activity. Chase is noted for its responsiveness in those situations.
|Chase Twitter Support||@ChaseSupport|
|Southwest Twitter Support||@SouthwestAir|
If you have questions about your Southwest credit card, you can reach customer support by tweeting @ChaseSupport or @SouthwestAir. Although Twitter can be a useful tool to get a quick response, make sure you don’t use personal information in public social media posts.
Hey, Kat! That would be a question best directed to our friends at Chase! To speak with a specialist, please call 1-800-792-0001. -Adrienne
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) August 30, 2018
We tweeted to Southwest’s customer service with a question about the availability of the introductory bonus offer to cardholders of other Southwest cards, and they got back to us very quickly — within just a few minutes. However, we were only dealing with Southwest’s customer service — not Chase’s — and Southwest directed us to Chase, so resolving your issue might take longer.
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority Card might be a smart choice for Southwest Airlines devotees. If you do most of your travel with the no-frills carrier, you’re likely to get a lot of value out of the card.
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 add additional value.
Between the $75 travel credit and 7,500 bonus points, the annual fee is 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.
You can apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card securely on the Chase website.
Once you submit, you’ll usually receive a decision from Chase within minutes. In some cases, it could take longer. For example if they need additional information or verification of income, it might take a few days or even longer.
There are a number of fantastic travel rewards credit cards out there, and not all of them are limited to one airline. And, if you’re looking for more travel benefits, there are cards available with more bells and whistles than the Southwest Priority Card to help make your next trip more comfortable.
If you’re looking for an airline card that offers luxury travel benefits, check out the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express. With a $450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020), it’s an expensive card, but the benefits include valuable airport lounge access and an annual companion certificate.
|Introductory BONUS OFFER|
You can earn 2X miles for every $1 spent on purchases made directly through Delta, and 1X mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. You can redeem those points with Delta and with over 15 other airline partners, giving you more flexibility in your travel arrangements.
Points can be valued at the low end of 1 cent each, or they could be worth 1.5 cents or more. At 1.5 cents each you’d get a cash back equivalent of 3% for Delta purchases, which is about the standard for airline cards.
With the Delta Reserve Credit Card, you get more luxury travel benefits than you do with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card. The highlights of those benefits are complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club airport lounge and a discounted rate of $29 for up to two guests.
The card has a $450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020). There are no foreign transaction fees.
If you’re looking for a card that makes an impact, the metal Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® could be for you. Boasting a nice signup bonus of 50,000 miles, the card also offers generous spending rewards and benefits.
|Introductory BONUS OFFER|
You can earn 2X AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, a pretty standard rate among airline credit cards.
That’s on top of the special introductory offer, where you can get 50,000 points for spending $5,000 within the first 3 months. This requirement is pretty high compared to most cards, so you may want to look into some methods for reaching minimum spend requirements.
If you’re getting 1.5 cents per point, a fairly good redemption value, that would give you a cash back equivalent of 3% for AA purchases.
The Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard offers luxury travel perks like a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application fee credit, a big benefit for frequent travelers looking to cut down on the amount of time they wait in the security line. But the Admirals Club membership, and all the authorized users you can add, might be the most appealing.
The Citi / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard does have a high annual fee of $450. There are no foreign transaction fees.
|Introductory BONUS OFFER|
Ultimate Rewards (UR) points are generally worth 1 cent each. But if you redeem for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll get 1.25 cents per point.
That would give you a cash back equivalent of 2.5% for travel and dining, with 1.25% everywhere else.
Or, if you transfer your points to an airline or hotel program (a favorite strategy for Sapphire cardholders) you could get as much as 2 cents per point or more. That’d give you a cash back equivalent of 4% for travel and dining, and those 60,000 bonus points would be worth $1,200.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with some nice benefits, including the chance to earn more points through a referral program.
The Sapphire Preferred card has a $95 annual fee. There are no foreign transaction fees.
Read more in our Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
A metal card with a high annual fee (Rates & Fees), the The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) is for frequent travelers. It offers unique perks and benefits. However, unlike the other cards on this list it’s a charge card, which means you must pay off the balance in full every billing period.
|Introductory BONUS OFFER|
Depending on the spending category and how you redeem, you can earn a cash back equivalent up to 10%. That assumes you’re spending in the 5X category and redeeming for 2 cents per point, using point transfers to travel partners.
Other spending and redemption rates will provide a lesser value. To maximize your points try waiting until you’ll get a rate greater than 1.5 cents each.
The Platinum Card by American Express’ real value is in its benefits rather than its rewards. You can score the best airport lounge access available on any credit card, access to the Fine Hotels & Restaurants Collection, and annual travel credits.
You’ll have to pay $550 each year to use the Platinum Card by American Express. There are no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees).
You don’t have to worry about interest since it’s a charge card, but failing to pay off the balance in full every billing period can result in a late fee of Up to $39.
Read more in our Review of the Platinum Card from American Express.
Do you use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card for travel? Let us know how you like it by leaving your own review!
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