Updated Mar 31, 2021 | Published Jun 23, 2020 • 14 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 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 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 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
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: Enjoy complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, with up to two guests at $39 each. Plus, access Centurion Lounges for free, with up to two guests at $50 each. Two free Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes per year are included.
Annual Companion Certificate: Get a certificate for a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flight. Certificate use requires the payment of applicable fees, not to exceed $75.
First checked bag free on Delta flights: Book with your Delta SkyMiles number, and baggage fees for your party’s first checked bags will be waived (covers the cardholder and up to eight additional passengers on the same itinerary).
Main Cabin 1 priority boarding: Board earlier (with up to eight additional passengers on the same itinerary) when you book airfare with your Delta SkyMiles number.
Complimentary upgrades: Reserve cardholders are added to the complimentary upgrade waitlist after Medallion members, even without Medallion status.
20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: Get 20% off (in the form of a statement credit) a host of in-flight purchases, including food, drinks, and headsets, but not including WiFi.
Concierge service: Request 24/7 non-emergency assistance with things like travel arrangements, dinner reservations, and entertainment plans.
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.
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
80,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months; up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery purchases in the first year
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 15,000 bonus points. You can earn up to 75,000 bonus points per year in this way.
While the annual fee is much higher than that of the Southwest Rapid Rewards card, it comes with several credits that effectively bring it down to a more manageable level.
These include $200 in Uber credits, a $100 Saks credit, and a $100 hotel credit that can be used over and over again. These annual credits drop the annual fee to about $250. And the benefits are slightly better, making your travel experience that much more comfortable.
It’ll be a far more flexible and rewarding option than the Southwest card, earning more than double on flights and hotels booked through Amex Travel.
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
75,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, in 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.
Global Lounge Collection: Cardholders get the best airport lounge access available on a credit card with the Global Lounge Collection, which includes Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Centurion Lounges, and more.
$200 annual Uber credit: You’ll get a statement credit for up to $15 in Uber rides each month, except for December, which has a $35 credit.
$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 Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Get a statement credit for the application fee for either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 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 and Resorts Collection: Book at least two nights from a list of specific hotels and get a room upgrade when available, daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, up to $100 credit for eligible charges when you check out, and more.
Point transfer: To airline and hotel loyalty programs, like Delta, British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy, and Hyatt
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $550
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
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 is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
$550 annual fee.
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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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