Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card Review

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Rewards rate:

Earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: 40,000 points
  • Annual fee: $149
  • Regular APR: 15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

For loyal Southwest flyers, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card can enhance the travel experience when flying the airline. It comes with perks like a $75 Southwest booking credit, four upgraded boardings per year and 20% back on in-flight purchases. It can even fast-track you towards earning a Companion Pass, one of the most coveted benefits for Southwest’s frequent flyers. The card carries a $149 annual fee.

At a Glance

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months plus an additional 7,500 points per cardmember anniversary
  • 3x miles per dollar on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services) for your first year
  • 2x miles per dollar on Southwest purchases
  • 1x mile per dollar on everything else
  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit
  • 20% off in-flight purchases on Southwest
  • Earn Southwest’s Companion Pass faster
  • 4 boarding upgrades per year, depending on availability
  • $149 annual fee
  • 15.99 – 22.99% variable APR

Pros

  • Welcome offer

  • Bonus points at cardmember anniversary

  • Travel benefits for Southwest flights

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Rewards are geared towards Southwest

  • $149 annual fee

Additional Card Details

This card will also give you an opportunity to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass faster via your regular spending. With the Companion Pass, you can choose a companion to fly with you free of charge (not including taxes and fees) on the airline for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it. That applies whether you purchase the flight or use points. To earn the pass, you can take 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 125,000 qualifying points in one calendar year. You can change your designated companion up to three times.

In addition to perks geared towards frequent travelers on Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card also offers perks not related to the airline. 

It comes with extended warranty protection, purchase protection, lost luggage reimbursement, and baggage delay insurance. You’ll also get roadside dispatch and an auto rental collision damage waiver, which you can use in place of expensive collision insurance offered by the rental agency.  

Should You Get This Card?

Southwest Airlines flyers will benefit from this card’s perks while earning points that can be redeemed for free travel. However, if you don’t fly Southwest frequently, this card may not be worth its annual fee.

Depending on availability, you can get up to four upgraded boardings per year — in practical terms, this means using the card to pay for boarding among the first 15 passengers, and then getting a refund. This is especially important on Southwest, since the airline does not assign seats, and boarding among the first can mean snagging the seats you want. Ordinarily, upgraded boarding costs between $30 and $50 per round-trip upgrade, depending on the itinerary, so this perk can be worth up to $200 per year.

Additionally, you’ll get a $75 Southwest travel credit that you can use on most Southwest purchases — including tickets, but excluding boarding upgrades (Southwest does not have first class, so there are no class upgrades) and in-flight purchases. This benefit alone can cut the cost of the annual fee in half.

The card does not come with complimentary lounge access, unlike other co-branded airline credit cards, but Southwest does not have airport lounges. 

The annual fee is $149 per year. If you do not fly Southwest with some frequency, or are loyal to another airline, there are better rewards cards out there for comparable fees — both co-branded airline cards and travel cards that earn points transferable to airlines.    

How to Use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card

We recommend using this card to book all of your Southwest flights since you’ll get 2x miles per dollar on those purchases. These points will add up over time, and you can later redeem them for travel, as well as for gift cards, merchandise and even car rentals. Southwest Rapid Rewards points never expire.

You’ll also get 3x points per dollar on all dining purchases for the first year, and 1x point per dollar on all other purchases. If you’re looking to build up a points balance to redeem with other airlines or hotels, consider a card with more flexible rewards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, for everyday purchases instead. Like other co-branded airline cards, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card earns only the airline’s own currency. 

With this card, you’ll get 20% off in-flight purchases while flying Southwest Airlines. You can use this perk to get discounts on food, drinks and beverages.

Start maximizing your value early by spending $1,000 in the first three months from account opening to earn the 40,000-point welcome offer. You’ll also get 7,500 points on your cardmember anniversary each year.

Make sure you spend only what you can afford to pay off to avoid taking on interest. Interest on any balance you carry accrues at a variable APR between 15.99% and 22.99%, so you’ll want to pay your bills on time and in full each month. 

There aren’t any foreign transaction fees, so this card will be a good choice for international travel when it’s safe to do so again. 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card Compared to Other Cards

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Intro bonus:
    40,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $149
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Intro bonus:
    80,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • Intro bonus:
    70,000 Miles
  • Annual fee:
    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
  • Regular APR:
    15.74% to 24.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.

Bottom Line

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card is a useful credit card for loyal Southwest flyers. It comes with perks like a $75 Southwest travel credit, 7,500 points per cardmember anniversary, a solid welcome offer and bonus points on Southwest flights, dining and everyday purchases. It has a $149 annual fee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card have an annual fee?

Yes, this card has a $149 annual fee.

What credit score do you need to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card?

You’ll need a credit score between 690-850 to get approved for this card.