Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Benefits & Review for 2023
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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 Credit 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.
Table of Contents
Who is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card For?
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|
|Annual Fee: $149|
Current Bonus: bonus_miles_full
3x points on Southwest Airlines purchases, including flights and gift cards
2x points on local transit. Includes rideshare services like Uber and Lyft
2x points on cable, Internet, and phone services, and select streaming
2x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
1x points on all remaining purchase
25% back on inflight purchases
7,500 bonus points on each card anniversary
$75 annual Southwest travel credit
No foreign transaction fee
Travel insurance benefits
Free DoorDash DashPass membership for 12 months (enroll by 12/31/24)
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.
Current Signup Bonus
The current bonus is bonus_miles_full
$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.
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.
25% Back on Inflight Purchase
All Southwest inflight purchases for food, beverages, and wifi qualify for a 25% statement credit. These purchases also earn 3x Rapid Rewards!
Earn Up To 3x Rapid Rewards Points on Southwest Purchases
Each card purchase earns Rapid Rewards points that can help you gain the Companion Pass sooner.
Southwest purchases earn 3x points per dollar spent. This includes the cost of the flight, inflight purchases, and even gift cards. All non-bonus purchases earn 1x points.
Earn Up to 2x Rapid Rewards Points on Other Purchases
The following categories earn 2x points per dollar spent:
- Local transit and commuting (this includes rideshare services)
- Phone Services
- Select Streaming Services
- Rapid Rewards Hotel Partner Purchases
- Rapid Rewards Car Rental Partner Purchases
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). That is equal to 15,000 TQPs 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, travel insurance, 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.
Further reading: best credit cards offering travel insurance.
Secondary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
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.
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, 2024.
DashPass benefits include $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on orders larger than 12 months. After the 12 months, you will be auto-enrolled in the DashPass at the current full price. I recommend setting a reminder to cancel your membership before the 12 months are up if you do not plan on becoming a paying member.
Chase offers additional partner offers for its various rewards credit cards. They range from restaurants to online shopping and more.
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
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
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.
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 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 like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the Chase Freedom Flex℠ if you prefer travel and cash redemption options.
Redeeming points for physical merchandise is another option but can have the lowest redemption value.
Here are some of the fees for the Priority Card:
- Annual Fee: $149
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
- Purchase APR: reg_apr,reg_apr_type
- Late Payment: Up to $40
Southwest Airlines Priority Card Compared to Similar Cards
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit 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 3x Rapid Rewards on Southwest purchases
- Earn 2x Rapid Rewards on commuting, local transit, cable, Internet, and phone services, & select streaming 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.
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
Travel purchases can earn up to 10x Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent (after spending $300 on travel for the year). Southwest Airlines purchases earn 3x points per dollar spent.
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 Rewards Credit Card:
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 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. It also earns 5x miles per dollar spent for hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One.
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.
It’s $149 for the primary card and $0 for authorized users.
No, the foreign transaction fee is 0% for all international purchases.
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.
Southwest Priority cardholders get 7,500 bonus Rapid Rewards at each card renewal.
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.
All Southwest Airlines purchases earn 3x points per dollar spent.
Commuting, local transit, cable, Internet, and phone services, select streaming purchases, Rapid Rewards hotel or car rental partner earn 2x points per dollar spent.
Any remaining purchase earns 1x points per dollar spent.
All Southwest credit card purchases and the signup bonus earn qualifying Rapid Rewards to qualify for the Companion Pass.
You will need to accumulate 135,000 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.
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 2022, means it’s valid for the rest of 2022 and all of 2023.
Southwest Rapid Rewards points do not expire as long as your loyalty account remains open.
The current signup bonus is earn 60,000 bonus points plus a 30% off promo code after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
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.
A minimum credit score of 700 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.
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply
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