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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
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Advertising Disclosure

LendingTree is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products. We are compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order).
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American Express Disclosure
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American Express Disclosure

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Review

Southwest Rapid Rewards<sup>®</sup> Priority Credit Card
Sign-Up Bonus
Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Rewards Rate
Receive 7,500 anniversary points and a $75 Southwest® travel credit each year. Enjoy benefits including 3X points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points boost each year, and more.
APRs
21.49% - 28.49% Variable for purchases and balance transfers
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It was not reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
Citi is an advertising partner.

Our take: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card isn’t a must-have card for everyone, but it’s the most valuable of Southwest’s consumer cards, thanks to its rewards and solid perks.

Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card worth it?

First Year Savings: $1,047
 
Fans of Southwest can find much to love about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card — from its sign-up bonus and elevated points on Southwest purchases to anniversary rewards and the ability to earn Companion Pass points. On each card anniversary you’ll get 7,500 Rapid Rewards® points, an annual $75 Southwest travel credit (that applies to airfare), four upgraded boardings per year and 25% back on in-flight purchases. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card comes with good travel protections and $0 foreign transaction fees.

The $149 annual fee is a drawback, as is being locked into a non-transferable airline point currency. For Southwest aficionados, or those looking to capitalize on flying, the overall value of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card outweighs the negatives.

Quick facts

    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • 7,500 anniversary points each year.
    • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
    • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
    • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
    • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
    • No foreign transaction fees.
    • Member FDIC
    720 850
    Excellent
  • Credit needed: Excellent
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earning rate: Receive 7,500 anniversary points and a $75 Southwest® travel credit each year. Enjoy benefits including 3X points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points boost each year, and more.
  • Annual fee: $149
  • Foreign transaction fee: $0

Intro Purchase APR

N/A

Regular Purchase APR

21.49% - 28.49% Variable

Intro BT APR

N/A

Regular BT APR

21.49% - 28.49% Variable

Annual Fee

$149

Cash Advance Fee

Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Foreign Transaction Fee

$0

Balance Transfer Fee

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.

Pros and cons

  • 7,500 Rapid Rewards points every
    cardmember anniversary
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit (applies
    to airfare)
  • Four upgraded boardings per year
  • 25% off in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $149 annual fee
  • Return on spend is less than many other travel credit cards
  • Locks you into Rapid Rewards points rather than a flexible, transferable currency

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card sign-up bonus

The sign-up bonus is a decent perk to this card. You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Not only is the spending requirement attainable, since it breaks down to spending just under $350 a month, depending on the flights you choose, you could get a couple round trip flights with the bonus alone. These bonus points count as qualifying points towards the Southwest Companion Pass, giving you a significant boost in accumulating the 135,000 points needed.

Earn the Southwest Companion Pass

A Southwest Companion Pass allows you to have a friend or family member fly with you for a year or longer just for the cost of taxes and fees (starting at $5.60). You need to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year to qualify.

Some ways you can earn qualifying points include:

  Booking flights with Southwest
  Booking travel with Rapid Rewards® partners
  Using a Southwest credit card
  Shopping and dining with participating retailers and restaurants

Earning rate

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card holders Receive 7,500 anniversary points and a $75 Southwest® travel credit each year. Enjoy benefits including 3X points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points boost each year, and more.

While this is a good earning rate, you may be able to find a higher rewards rate with other cards.

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is a 2% cash back card and gives you a higher return than your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card since we value Rapid Rewards® points at 1.4 cents each. The 2x Rapid Rewards® point reward is mediocre because you can earn that with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It earns 2x Ultimate Rewards points which offer greater flexibility and can even be transferred to Southwest Rapid Rewards® or any of the other partner programs.

What are Rapid Rewards® points worth?

We value Rapid Rewards® points at around 1.4 cents per point which is better than the average rewards program point. Southwest points are also very straightforward and easy to redeem. There’s no complicated redemption chart to deal with, nor are there any blackout dates or restrictions — as long as a flight has available seats, you should be able to book it with your points.

Value: Above average
Ease of redeeming: Easier than average (all seats are available as rewards)

Redeeming rewards

Southwest makes redeeming Rapid Rewards® easy — there are no blackout dates or restrictions on award seats. Southwest flies to many destinations within the lower 48 states, all major Hawaiian islands, Puerto Rico, plus destinations in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. You can find all of your options for redeeming Rapid Rewards® points at Southwest.com.

The number of points required for a free flight with Southwest depends on the cash price of the fare. Award prices start around 2,600 points and can go upwards of 29,000 for a one-way ticket. The value that you get for your Rapid Rewards® depends on the type of ticket you choose. Southwest offers three tiers of tickets: Wanna Get Away, Anytime and Business Select. Wanna Get Away fares are the cheapest, but also most restrictive. Both Anytime and Business Select tickets are fully refundable.

The issue of ticket refundability is less of a concern when you redeem Rapid Rewards® because all Southwest award tickets are fully refundable up to 10 minutes prior to flight departure. This tidbit of information may make your decision easier: opt for the Wanna Get Away fares as you’ll get the most value out of your points.

Business SelectAnytimeWanna Get Away +Wanna Get Away
Fully refundable if you cancel your flight
Same-day change
Same-day standby
Flight credit for cancellations
Transferable flight credit
EarlyBird Check-In®
Fly By (priority security lane)
Priority boarding A1-A15
Complimentary premium drink
Savvy traveler tip: When using the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll first need to book your own award ticket. Then go to the My Trips section of your account and find the Add Companion link. Follow the directions to add your companion to your trip.

Other Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card benefits

Even though the card’s earning rates are just so-so, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card has a great variety of benefits that make up for that plus the annual fee.

  • Anniversary bonus: After your account anniversary each year 7,500 Rapid Rewards® bonus points will be added to your account. We value these points at approximately $105, which offsets the majority of the annual fee. The points are redeemable just like any of the other points you earn through the many ways to earn Rapid Rewards® points.
  • $75 travel credit: Your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card also comes with an annual $75 credit towards Southwest purchases. This credit is applied automatically to your credit card statement after making a Southwest Airlines purchase (excluding upgraded boardings and in-flight purchases). This is not an “incidental” credit, like those offered by some other products — you can use this $75 annual credit for airfare purchases.
  • Upgraded boardings: With your card you receive four upgraded boardings per year. This is useful due to Southwest’s unique style of boarding. Everyone is assigned a boarding number upon flight check in. You then board the plane in order and select any open seat. Southwest allows customers to purchase upgraded boarding for positions A1 to A15 at the ticket counter or at the gate on the day of travel. Receiving upgraded boarding is subject to availability and you’ll be reimbursed for up to four of these purchases.
  • Up to 15,000 tier qualifying points per year: Tier qualifying points are what you accrue to earn elite status with Southwest, and each year you can speed up your progress towards A-List or A-List Preferred (the two status levels) by using your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. For every $10,000 you spend on your card you’ll earn 1,500 TQPs, up to a total of 15,000 TQPs annually.
  • Travel insurance: When you use your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card to book your travel and travel-related expenses like car rental and hotel stays you are eligible for the travel insurance benefits the card offers. Protections include car rental insurance (secondary in the U.S. and primary abroad), lost luggage coverage of up to $3,000 per passenger and baggage delay insurance of up to $100 per day for the purchase of essential items when your luggage is delayed for at least six hours.
  • No foreign transaction fees: Don’t forget to pack your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card even on trips abroad as there aren’t $0 foreign transaction fees.

Drawbacks

  • First year fee isn’t waived: Some travel credit cards waive the annual fee during the first year, but this one does not.
  • No lounge access: If you’re in airports regularly and lounge access is important, you may want to choose a card that offers this benefit.
  • No TSA/Global entry: Another travel benefit that’s lacking from this card is a credit towards getting TSA Precheck or Global Entry.
  • Limited point redemption options: Although Rapid Rewards® points are easy to redeem, you’re locked into using them for Southwest flights. If you find yourself flying a variety of airlines, consider a general cash back card or travel rewards card for more flexibility.

What credit score is needed for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card?

To have the best approval odds, it’s best to ensure your credit score is solidly in the Excellent range. To boost your chances of being approved for this, or any, credit card, be sure you make on-time payments, keep your credit utilization ratio low and follow best practices in building credit.

Alternatives to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

While the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card offers many benefits, the annual fee of $149 is the highest among Southwest personal credit cards. The others are each a step down and offer fewer perks but with more affordable price points.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

| Disclosures
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
N/A
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
$99
Receive 6,000 anniversary points each year. Enjoy benefits including 3X points on
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 6,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Member FDIC
720 850
Excellent

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers many of the same benefits as the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, including:

  • Anniversary points: Receive 6,000 anniversary points each year. Enjoy benefits including 3X points on Southwest® purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year, 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points boost each year, and more.
  • Earn up to 15,000 tier-qualifying points per year toward A-list status
  • $0 foreign transaction fees

The annual fee of $99 saves you $50 over the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, but you are losing benefits that — if used — easily recoup that amount: the $75 annual travel credit, larger anniversary benefit and four upgraded boardings per year.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

| Disclosures
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
N/A
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
$69
Receive 3,000 anniversary points each year. Enjoy benefits including 2X points on
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Member FDIC
660 720 850
Excellent/Good

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is the lowest tier card and comes with a $69 annual fee and fewer benefits. That’s not to say there are no perks; you will get:

  • A bonus of 3,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Receive 3,000 anniversary points each year. Enjoy benefits including 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year, 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points boost each year, and more.
  • 25% bonus on in-flight purchases

This may be the most affordable card, and considering the 3,000 points are worth $45 and the two EarlyBird Check-Ins are worth another $30, you come out ahead by $6. The overall value is less than the other cards and you’ll also have to pay foreign transaction fees when you use this card overseas.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

| Disclosures
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Rates & Fees
N/A
21.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
$95
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles per
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the 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
660 720 850
Excellent/Good

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

 
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card ticks several of the boxes that the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card doesn’t: Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and two free lounge visits each year (at select Capital One lounges). The annual fee of $95 makes it a cheaper and more flexible alternative since you can redeem miles in a variety of ways including travel, gift cards, Amazon, cash back and statement credit.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card cardholders receive 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Miles can be partnered to more than a dozen partner airlines for itineraries around the world.

Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card worth it?

With a slew of benefits, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is arguably the best Southwest personal credit card — even with its high $149 annual fee. Frequent travelers should be able to make good use of the travel credit plus the upgraded boardings and annual bonus make it easy to recover the fee.

But if you just take an occasional flight or aren’t particular about which airline you fly, a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card might be good since it offers decent rewards on all purchases. The points can also be transferred to other airline programs, so you’re not pigeonholed into just one airline.

Still not sure? Check out the array of best travel credit cards for 2023 to see if any meet your needs.

Frequently asked questions

No, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card doesn’t offer a credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

According to our research, Southwest points are valued around 1.4 cents each. This means a flight that costs $175 would require about 12,500 points. Point value varies by destination and fare class.

To use your $75 Southwest annual travel credit all you need to do is book a Southwest flight with your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. You will find a $75 credit applied to your credit card statement.

The best Southwest credit card is the one that you can afford and will be able to take advantage of the most. If you can swing the annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card offers the most value with the sign-up bonus, the statement credit and other perks.

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.

The information related to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.