Southwest’s New Premium Credit Card: A Must for Southwest Passengers?

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest and Chase introduced a new more premium credit card product last week that’s a nice improvement over their existing cards. I like the line from Southwest’s chief marketing officer about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, it has the 3 Ps… “more perks, more points, and more priority.”

Southwest Airlines passengers should consider getting it, and existing Southwest credit card customers should consider upgrading to it.

Card Details

The biggest inital bonus they’ve ever had for a Southwest card, up to 65,000 points: 40,000 after $1000 in spend within the first 3 months of cardmembership and an additional 25,000 after $15,000 of spend within the first year. Since that full spending requirement is spread out over a full year, it’s not nearly as big a number as it sounds, just $1250 per month. It’s also limited-time, until August 22, 2018.

It’s a $149 annual fee card that gives you a $75 Southwest travel credit and 7500 additional points at cardmember anniversary — each of which give you value worth at least half the fee.

Then you get 4 upgraded boardings per year – A1-15 boarding, which you purchase at the gate and get statement credit back for and 20% back on Southwest inflight purchases like inflight cocktails and internet.

And spending contributes towards elite status: 1500 tier qualifying points for each $10,000 in purchases (up to $100,000 in purchases annually or 15,000 tier qualifying points) and of course it goes a long way towards Southwest’s companion pass.

Eligibility for the Card

Southwest’s cards have been subject to 5/24, Chase’s informal requirement that they’ll only approve customers who have opened fewer than 5 new cards in the last 24 months.

In addition, you cannot be a current Southwest Airlines personal card cardholder (though you may be able to product change that card to this new product) or have received a Southwest personal card bonus in the past 24 months.

The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapids Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.

If you’re under 5/24, and you fly Southwest with some regularly especially if it’s not enough for status, or you’re looking to earn a companion pass then certainly apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.

Already Have a Southwest Card, Consider Upgrading

Obviously the best way to get this card is as a new customer if you’re eligible, because the initial bonus offered is lucrative. Although it’s worth it for anyone that flies Southwest for the (4) A1-15 boarding credits each year.

However if you are a current Southwest credit card customer you can consider product changing to this new card. The $75 Southwest Airlines travel credit and 7500 annual point bonus cover the card’s annual fee and make it worth keeping. The $75 travel credit covers the difference in annual fee versus the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. And then you get the incremental benefits of this card.

Some current Southwest cardmembers appear to be receiving 5000 point offers to upgrade to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. However current cardmembers can call Chase and asked to be product changed (no bonus).

This product change appears to reset your card anniversary date, so if you were about to get points at the anniversary of a current card you might want to wait to make the change. Meanwhile upgrading charges you this card’s $149 annual fee right away, while giving you a pro-rated refund of your current card’s annual fee based on how long it’s been since it was charged. (HT: Doctor of Credit) The $75 annual credit, though, should be available quickly.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. I have the personal Premier Visa RR card, can you get this new card as a business card?

  2. Does buying the “A1-15 boarding upgrades at the gate” mean that they may not always be available due to others purchasing those slots on SW’s website?
    It might be difficult to regularly take advantage of that perk.

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