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      Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Benefits & Review 2021

      Josh Patoka
      Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Benefits

      Southwest Airlines is a favorite discount airline for frequent flyers as you can get two free checked bags and affordable award flights. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card is the most luxurious of the carrier’s three consumer credit card options with a low annual fee.

      Here’s an in-depth look at how the Priority Card can maximize your Rapid Rewards membership.

      People who fly Southwest Airlines several times a year will benefit the most from the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card.

      The Priority Card includes several unique benefits, including a $75 annual travel credit and four Upgraded Bookings. 

      This card also makes it easier to qualify for the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass loyalty benefit as card purchases and the signup bonus count toward the annual points requirement.

      Benefits at a Glance
      Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Table
      Annual Fee: $149
      APR: 15.99%-22.99% variable APR
      Current Bonus: 40,000 Rapid Rewards after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and 3x Rapid Rewards on dining in the first 12 months.
      2x points on Southwest Airlines purchases
      1x points on all remaining purchase
      20% back on inflight purchases 
      7,500 bonus points on each card anniversary
      $75 annual Southwest travel credit
      No foreign transaction fee
      Travel insurance benefits
      Purchase Protection
      Complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership for 12 months
      Good to Excellent Credit Score Required (680+)

      Featured Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card Benefits

      These travel rewards can help you save money on Southwest Airlines flights and enjoy unique loyalty benefits.

      40,000 Rapid Rewards Signup Bonus

      The current Priority Card signup bonus is 40,000 Rapid Rewards after $1,000 in purchases during the first 3 months.

      You can also earn 3x Rapid Rewards on all dining, takeout, and qualifying meal delivery app purchases during the first 12 months. These purchases typically earn 1x points.

      This bonus can cover several one-way flights across the United States. The signup bonus can also be enough for a round-trip flight to Hawaii from the U.S. West Coast or an international tropical destination.

      In addition to earning Rapid Rewards you can redeem for award flights, the signup bonus also counts toward the annual Southwest Companion Pass points requirement. You must either earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards or complete 100 one-way qualifying flights each year.

      This is a valuable signup bonus but you should time your application to verify you qualify if you have earned a previous Southwest signup bonus. 

      You qualify for this bonus if you currently do not have another Southwest consumer card and have not received a Southwest consumer card bonus in the last 24 months. You still qualify for this bonus if you have the airline’s small business or employee cards. 

      $75 Annual Southwest Travel Credit

      The annual $75 statement credit reimburses Southwest Airlines flight bookings you pay for with cash. However, this statement credit doesn’t cover Upgraded Bookings or inflight purchases.

      Upgraded Bookings

      Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Travel Benefits

      Photo: Pixabay

      You can redeem up to 4 Upgraded Bookings per year when available on Southwest flights. 

      This perk lets you get a seat in sections A1-A15. To check availability for your flight, you can redeem the booking at the ticket counter or departure gate on your flight date.

      7,500 Anniversary Points

      You will receive 7,500 bonus Rapid Rewards each card anniversary. The other Southwest consumer cards offer a similar anniversary bonus, but the Priority Card has the highest payout.

      20% Back on Inflight Purchase

      All Southwest inflight purchases for food, beverages, and wifi qualify for a 20% statement credit. These purchases also earn 2x Rapid Rewards.

      Earn Up To 2x Rapid Rewards on Purchases

      Each card purchase earns Rapid Rewards points that can help you gain the Companion Pass sooner. 

      Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases earn 2x points. All non-bonus purchases earn 1x points.

      Tier Qualifying Points Boost

      In addition to earning points, you receive 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points (TQPs) for every $10,000 in card purchases (up to $100,000 per year). TQPs can help you reach A-List and A-List Preferred status.

      Other Southwest Priority Card Features

      These are some of the other travel and retail benefits the Priority Card offers.

      Lost Luggage Reimbursement

      The primary cardholder and immediate family members can each qualify for up to $3,000 in lost luggage coverage. This benefit applies when carry-on or checked baggage is lost or damaged by the carrier.

      Baggage Delay Insurance

      You can receive reimbursement of up to $100 for 3 days on baggage delays exceeding 6 hours. This credit covers essential purchases, such as toiletries and clothing.

      Secondary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

      Most domestic and international car rentals qualify for secondary collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage. You must decline the rental agency’s CDW coverage to be eligible for this benefit.

      No Foreign Transaction Fee

      You won’t pay a foreign transaction fee on international purchases. This feature can be convenient if you plan on flying Southwest to tropical getaways in Mexico, Belize, or other Caribbean locations.

      Purchase Protection

      Purchases can qualify for up to $500 in purchase protection for damage or theft within the first 120 days. The maximum coverage limit is $50,000 per account.

      Extended Warranty Protection

      Qualifying purchases can receive one additional year of warranty protection when the manufacturer’s warranty is three years or less.

      Free DoorDash DashPass for 12 Months

      You can receive 12 months of free DoorDash DashPass membership when you activate this partner offer by December 31, 2021.

      DashPass benefits include $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on orders larger than 12 months.

      Chase offers additional partner offers for its various rewards credit cards.

      Chase Offers

      You can also activate one-time shopping offers to get cashback on in-store and online purchases. These card purchases also earn Rapid Rewards.

      Redeeming Southwest Rapid Rewards

      Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Redemption Options

      Photo: Pixabay

      Your purchase rewards deposit into your Rapid Rewards account. You have several exclusive award travel redemption options as a Southwest credit card customer. 

      Some of the extra booking options include non-Southwest flights in the More Rewards redemption categories.

      Southwest Award Flights

      Rapid Rewards are most valuable when booking award flights with an average redemption value of 1.2 cents.

      Southwest uses a variable pricing model that factors the current cash price and travel demand to calculate the award flight price. 

      There are many routes that Southwest has cheaper award seats than the legacy carriers. You will find the best deals when flying from a Southwest Airlines point including Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Phoenix.

      In addition to the potentially lower award flight price, you get these two benefits:

      • Two free checked bags per ticket
      • No change fees

      International Flights

      Southwest cardholders can also redeem their points for international flights on other carriers. However, as Southwest is not part of an airline alliance, the redemption value isn’t as valuable as competing partner flight programs. 

      However, this redemption option can prevent you from paying cash for an international flight.

      Travel Experiences

      You can redeem points for travel experiences such as city tours and unique dining experiences. This redemption can supplement an award flight if you’re looking for an exciting activity at the destination. However, Southwest award flights are still the most valuable option.

      Hotels and Rental Cars

      You can also redeem points for hotels and rental cars with the Rapid Rewards travel partners. As the redemption value is mediocre, you are better off paying cash for these purchases to earn double Rapid Rewards.

      Gift Cards

      Gift card redemptions to participating stores and restaurants is the closest redemption option to getting cash back. Unfortunately, you will get a better redemption value from a cash rewards card if you prefer travel and cash redemption options.

      Merchandise

      Redeeming points for physical merchandise is another option but can have the lowest redemption value.

      Card Fees

      Here are some of the fees for the Priority Card:

      • Annual Fee: $149
      • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
      • Purchase APR: 15.99% to 22.99%
      • My Chase Plan Fee: 1.72% monthly fee of the purchase total
      • Late Payment: Up to $40

      Southwest Airlines Priority Card Compared to Similar Cards

      Here is a comparison to other cards that may also offer Southwest Airlines benefits.

      Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card:

      There are three different Southwest Airlines consumer cards and the Priority Card has the most benefits but also the highest annual fee. 

      You may consider the mid-tier Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card for a smaller fee if you only want a card that focuses on earning bonus points.

      The Premier Card has these benefits:

      • Earn 2x Rapid Rewards on Southwest purchases
      • 1x points on non-bonus purchases
      • 6,000 anniversary points bonus
      • Ability to earn Tier Qualifying Points
      • No foreign transaction fee

      The annual fee is $99.

      If you can redeem the $75 annual Southwest travel credit, the effective annual fee for the Priority Card is only $74. As a result, the Priority Card can be the better option.

      Chase Sapphire Preferred Card:

      The Chase Sapphire Preferred is another excellent option if you want flexible redemption options for various airlines and hotels.

      Your purchases can earn up to 5x Ultimate Rewards on purchases. Southwest Airlines purchases earn 2x rewards. 

      Your point redemption options include a 25% redemption bonus on award travel you book through Ultimate Rewards. You can also transfer points at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments to airlines and hotels, including Southwest.

      As you can only book Southwest flights from the Southwest website, the 25% travel redemption bonus doesn’t apply to Southwest flights. However, you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio or 1 cent each for cash rewards.

      This card also offers a 100,000 Ultimate Rewards signup bonus ($1,250 value) after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

      The annual fee is $95 and there is no foreign transaction fee.

      Chase Sapphire Reserve:

      The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers premium travel benefits that are valuable to frequent flyers.

      These benefits include:

      • Annual $300 travel statement credit
      • Priority Pass Select airport lounge access
      • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
      • Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection on-property benefits
      • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance 

      Your card purchases can earn up to 10x Ultimate Rewards with Southwest Airlines purchases earning 3x Rapid Rewards.

      The redemption options are similar to the Sapphire Preferred. You can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account and other Ultimate Rewards travel partners.

      Each point is worth 50% more when booking award travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

      The annual fee is $550 for the primary card and $75 per authorized user.

      Capital One Venture:

      The Capital One Venture is your best option if you want to earn bonus points on every travel and non-travel purchase. 

      Each purchase earns 2x miles. Each mile is worth 1 cent each for travel statement credits of recent travel bookings, regardless of the airline or travel brand.

      Other redemption options include booking award flights or transferring points to airlines and hotels. Southwest doesn’t participate in either of these two options with the Venture Card.

      You also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

      The annual fee is $95 and there is no foreign transaction fee.

      In addition to its straightforward rewards program, you may consider this card if you’re subject to the Chase 5/24 rule.  

      Chase Freedom Unlimited:

      The Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t offer airline benefits like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card does. However, you can earn valuable points and avoid an annual fee.

      Each purchase earns at 1.5% back, including Southwest flight bookings. You can also earn 3% back on dining and drugstores. In addition, travel bookings on Ultimate Rewards earn 5% back.

      As you can only book Southwest flights on the airline website, these bookings earn 1.5% back.

      While you won’t earn as many points on Southwest purchases as a travel credit card does, you earn more points on non-travel purchases. As a result, your total earning power can be more than with the Southwest Priority Card.

      Each point is worth 1 cent for award travel, cash, and gift cards. You cannot transfer points to travel loyalty programs.

      The annual fee is $0, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee.

      FAQ

      What is the Southwest Priority Card annual fee?

      It’s $149 for the primary card and $0 for authorized users.

      Does the Southwest Priority Card have a foreign transaction fee?

      No, the foreign transaction fee is 0% for all international purchases.

      How does the $75 Southwest travel credit work?

      The credit reimburses the first $75 in Southwest Airlines flight reservations you make each year. This credit doesn’t reimburse Upgraded Bookings or inflight purchases.

      How does the 7,500 anniversary points bonus work?

      Southwest Priority cardholders get 7,500 bonus Rapid Rewards at each card renewal.

      How do the free Upgraded Bookings work?

      The Southwest Priority Card provides up to 4 Upgraded Bookings per year in sections A1-A15, depending on flight availability. Flyers will need to request the upgrade at the check-in counter or departure gate on the flight date.

      Which card purchases earn Rapid Rewards?

      All Southwest Airlines purchases and any travel purchases with the Rapid Rewards hotel or car rental partner earn 2x miles.

      Any remaining purchase earns 1x points.

      Do Southwest credit card purchases help you get a Companion Pass?

      All Southwest credit card purchases and the signup bonus earn qualifying Rapid Rewards to qualify for the Companion Pass.

      You will need to accumulate 125,000 qualifying Rapid Rewards to earn the pass or complete 100 qualifying one-way flights. In addition, paid flights and Rapid Rewards partner purchases also earn qualifying points.

      For 2021, you only need 100,000 points as Southwest credits Rapid Reward members with 25,000-point credit.

      What is the Southwest Companion Pass benefit?  

      The Companion Pass benefit waives the cash or points value for one travel companion. Taxes and fees still apply and are $5.60 one-way on most flights.

      The Companion Pass holder must fly on the same flight and purchase their ticket with cash or points to get the free flight.

      This benefit is valid for the remaining months of the year you earn it and all of the following year. For example, getting the Companion Pass in September 2021, means it’s valid for the rest of 2021 and all of 2022.

      Do Southwest Rapid Rewards expire?

      Southwest Rapid Rewards points do not expire as long as your loyalty account remains open.

      What is the current Southwest Priority Card signup bonus?

      The current signup bonus is 40,000 Rapid Rewards after $1,000 in purchases during the first 3 months. Dining purchases also earn 3x Rapid Rewards during the first 12 months.

      Is the Southwest Priority Card subject to the Chase 5/24 rule?

      Yes, you should only apply for this card if you have opened 4 or fewer new credit cards in the past 24 months to avoid the Chase “5/24” application guideline.

      What is the credit score needed for the Southwest Priority Card?

      A minimum credit score of 680 (good credit) is necessary for the Priority Card. A score above 700s will have higher approval odds as the Priority Card has more benefits than the other Southwest Airlines consumer cards.

      The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts

      The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card is an excellent option if you fly Southwest Airlines several times a year and want to earn Rapid Rewards on every purchase.

      While the $149 annual fee is higher than many travel credit cards, the $75 annual travel credit and Upgraded Bookings can be worth the higher fee in comparison to the other Southwest credit card offerings.

      Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

      Josh Patoka The Vacationer Bio

      By Josh Patoka

      Josh Patoka writes about maximizing travel rewards for The Vacationer. As well, he contributes to several personal finance sites specializing in making money, paying off debt, and investing.