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The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card the newest member of the Southwest family of credit cards offered by Chase.
In fact, it earns its place as the head of the household.
With a welcome bonus of 40,000 Southwest points (worth ~$600 or more in travel) after meeting minimum spending requirements, the Southwest Priority Card can get you closer to earning the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. And it also comes with a slew of terrific benefits, including a $75 travel credit and 7,500 Southwest points on your card anniversary.
Let’s dive deep to see who can best make use of this card and who might want to pass.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Card Has a 40,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus Worth ~$600!
Apply Here: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
If you fly Southwest often or have a Southwest hub nearby, the Southwest Priority Card is great to have in your wallet. And if you are earning towards the Companion Pass, the sign-up bonus will help you get to your goal.
With the Southwest Priority card, you’ll earn 40,000 Southwest points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Considering Southwest points are worth, on average, ~1.5 cents each (and sometimes more), it’s easy to get at least $600 worth of travel from the welcome bonus alone!
And because award flights are based on the cash price of the ticket, you’ll never have blackout dates when redeeming your hard-earned points. Plus, everyone gets 2 free checked bags and there are never any change or cancellation fees on Southwest.
How to Earn Points With the Southwest Priority Card
It’s easy to earn points with the Southwest Priority Card! You can earn points in 3 ways:
- 2 Southwest points per $1 on all Southwest purchases including flights, gift cards, and hotel and rental partner packages
- 1 Southwest point per $1 on every other purchase
- 7,500 Southwest points each year on your card anniversary
How to Use Your Points
Southwest award prices are based on the cash price of the ticket. While this means no blackout dates as along as a paid ticket is available, it also means no defined award pricing. In general, Southwest points are worth ~1.5 cents each, but I’ve seen them go up to 1.75 cents each, and occasionally higher.
You can only redeem Southwest points for Southwest flights. In addition to award flights, you can also donate your points to charities or gift your points to another Southwest frequent flyer program member.
It’s really easy to redeem your Southwest points using their website or mobile app. In fact, they have a really fancy map that shows you all the routes they fly. I use this for inspiration when I want to see where I can travel.
To use your points, click on the “Points” button in the top right when searching for flights. On the next screen, you’ll see 3 columns showing you Business Select, Anytime, and Wanna Get Away fares. The latter will offer the best value for your points. You’ll always get 2 free checked bags and free cancellations and changes with any fare. Select the flight you want and hit continue.
The next page shows you your specific itinerary, your points cost, and the taxes and fees (usually ~$6 for a one-way domestic flight).
The Southwest Priority Card will also fetch you 20% back for in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi while giving you the chance to be upgraded to priority boarding up to 4 times per year.
If you ever need to cancel or change your flight, just head to your account page. You can see your future flights and choose the “Cancel/Change” button to see your options. If you don’t like any of the alternatives, you can cancel your flight. Your points will return to your account and your ~$6 will be refunded to your credit card or can be held on your account for future use – your choice!
Benefits of the Southwest Priority Card
You’ll qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass after earning 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year. The welcome bonus of 40,000 points counts towards this! Most people will earn try to earn the Companion Pass by opening up a personal and business Southwest card and meeting minimum spending requirements. But keep in mind all of the Southwest cards are subject to the Chase “5/24” rule.
Once you earn the Companion Pass, a friend or family member can travel with you on paid and award flights for just the cost of taxes and fees. This can easily save you hundreds of dollars per flight. I use this to get my fiance’s tickets and we have saved $1,000+ this year alone.
$75 Southwest Annual Travel Credit
Each year, you’ll receive $75 in statement credits after making eligible Southwest purchases. Basically, any Southwest purchases except for upgraded boarding and inflight purchases qualify. You can use this credit to purchase a ticket and effectively cut your annual fee in half!
7,500 Anniversary Points
Every year on your account anniversary, you’ll receive 7,500 Southwest points (worth ~$113 in airfare). That’s a nice way to offset most of the annual fee.
4 Upgraded Boardings
On your day of travel, when available, you can purchase an upgraded boarding. My last flight to Chicago was offering these upgrades for $50! Just use your card to purchase the upgrade and you’ll receive a statement credit up to 4 times per cardmember year. That’s worth up to $200.
20% Back Inflight
When you purchase in-flight drinks, entertainment, and Wi-Fi, you’ll receive 20% back in statement credits with no maximum. Wi-Fi is available for $8 per device, per flight. So you can save ~$2 when you purchase Wi-Fi.
Is the Southwest Priority Card Worth the Annual Fee?
The annual fee is $149 and is applied during your first billing statement. And it can easily be worth it if you can make the most of your points and card benefits.
The anniversary points alone can be worth ~$113. And the 4 boarding upgrades can be worth up to $200 (4 X $50).
And don’t forget the annual $75 credit for Southwest purchases. If you can use the card’s perks, you could get nearly $400 in value by only paying $149 per year.
For folks that may not make use of all of the perks, we’ll suggest a few cards below that might be a better deal.
Does the Southwest Priority Card Have a Foreign Transaction Fee?
Who Is Eligible for the Southwest Priority Card?
Chase will NOT approve you for most of their cards if you’ve opened 5+ cards from any bank (NOT counting Chase business cards and certain other business cards) in the past 24 months.
Credit Cards Similar to the Southwest Priority Card
Credit cards usually check off some of the same boxes when it comes to perks and benefits. Here are cards we’d recommend in addition to or in place of the Southwest Priority Card:
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Apply Here: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is our all-around favorite card for beginners. And the points you earn are extremely valuable, because you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from this card to airline and hotel partners, including Southwest!
If you don’t fly Southwest enough to make the Southwest Priority Card worth the annual fee, check out our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred to see why team member Scott has paid the annual fee on his Chase Sapphire Preferred 4 times!
After spending $4,000 within 3 months of opening the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points worth $625 when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal! And potentially more when you transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.
2. Other Chase Southwest Cards
Apply Here: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Apply Here: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
If you like earning Southwest points but prefer a lower annual fee, consider the other Chase Southwest cards. While they don’t have as many perks as the Southwest Priority card, they also come with nice welcome bonuses that can boost your Southwest point balance and help you earn the Companion Pass:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card – Earn 40,000 Southwest points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, $99 annual fee
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – Earn 40,000 Southwest points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, $69 annual fee
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – Earn 60,000 Southwest points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, $99 annual fee
Note: It’s no longer possible to have more than one personal Southwest card at the same time. But you can still get a business and a personal card!
The Southwest Priority Card is the top dog among all the Chase Southwest cards.
It offers over a recurring value of nearly $400 for only a $149 annual fee, not including the ~$600 in value from the 40,000 Southwest points earned after meeting the minimum spending requirements. It’s a great way to get closer to the Southwest Companion Pass!
Most folks who fly Southwest regularly make great use of this card. However, if you don’t plan to fly Southwest often, we recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred for its versatility and well-rounded value.