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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.
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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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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Review

LendingTree's Review

How LendingTree Rates Credit Cards?

Our experts rate credit cards based on several factors including card benefits, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers do not influence or have a say in our card ratings. Read our credit card methodology here.
3.4
Southwest Rapid Rewards<sup>®</sup> Priority Credit Card
Sign-Up Bonus
Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Rewards Rate
Receive 7,500 anniversary points, 4 upgraded boardings per year when available, 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.

Pros and cons

  • Valuable sign-up bonus
  • High earning rate on Southwest flights
  • Many Southwest perks
  • Easily redeemable rewards
  • Strong travel protections
  • $149 annual fee
  • Only redeemable for Rapid Rewards points
  • No complimentary Early Bird Check-In

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

First year savings: $1,532*

*Based on LendingTree’s value methodology

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is likely worth it for the frequent Southwest traveler who takes advantage of all its benefits. The card’s sign-up bonus, anniversary rewards, flight credit and more can help you recoup the $149 annual fee.

The card’s sign-up bonus is worth around $1,190, and its annual flight credit is worth $75. There’s also the bonus 7,500 Rapid Rewards points each card anniversary, 25% back on in-flight purchases and Wi-Fi and $0 foreign transaction fees that add to the card’s value.

Quick facts

    • Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 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
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit scores ranges may vary. Your individual chance at approval may vary due to factors such as creditors using a particular variation at their discretion
  • 720 850
    Excellent
  • Credit needed: Excellent
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earning rate: Receive 7,500 anniversary points, 4 upgraded boardings per year when available, 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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card benefits

  • Valuable sign-up bonus

    You’ll earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s more than enough for a couple of round-trip flights, depending on the flights you choose.

    You’ll typically have to accumulate 135,000 points to get the Southwest Companion Pass, so this sign-up bonus will give you a nice head start.

  • High earning rate on Southwest flights

    Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Cardholders receive 7,500 anniversary points, 4 upgraded boardings per year when available, 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. For example, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earn more flexible, valuable points that you can redeem for any travel purchase or transfer to a variety of airline partners.

    In fact, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card includes Southwest Rapid Rewards® among its airline partners, making it a great alternative for frequent Southwest flyers. We value Ultimate Rewards points at a much higher value (around 2 cents per point) compare to Rapid Rewards points (1.4 cents) due to their versatility. This amounts to more reward earning power per $1 spent, as you can see from the chart below:

    How does the earning rate compare?*

    *We estimate an earning rate for the average consumer based on U.S. Bureau of Labor data and multiply that by the value of each card’s points or miles. See our value methodology for more details.
  • Easily redeemable 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.

    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 four tiers of tickets: Wanna Get Away, Wanna Get Away Plus, Anytime and Business Select. Wanna Get Away fares are the cheapest, but also most restrictive. You can have all types of tickets refunded.

    Business SelectAnytimeWanna Get Away +Wanna Get Away
    Fully refundable if you cancel your flight
    Same-day changeFare difference may apply
    Same-day standby
    Transferable flight credit
    Early Bird 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.
  • Southwest perks

    The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card charges an annual fee, so it’s able to provide valuable benefits, including:

    • 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
    • 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points every year
    • 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) toward A-List status* for every 10,000 you spend annually
    • $0 foreign transaction fees

    *A-List status earns you perks like priority boarding, Priority Lane and Express Lane, a 25% earning bonus, same-day change/standby and more. You can earn A-List by earning 35,000 TQPs in a year or booking 25 one-way qualifying flights.

    If you’re a frequent Southwest traveler who already pays for upgraded boardings or in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi, then this card likely makes sense for you to get.​​ The flight credit alone covers about half of the annual fee.

    However, other airlines, like Delta and American Airlines, provide better perks than Southwest with their higher-annual-fee cards.

  • Strong travel protections

    The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card card provides nearly every travel and purchase protection you can get. It provides an auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside dispatch, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel and emergency assistance services (only with Visa Signature) and travel accident insurance.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card drawbacks

  • Annual fee

    The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card charges a $149 annual fee. That’s the highest annual fee for a Southwest consumer card, but the travel credit covers about half of it. If you don’t frequently fly Southwest, then the annual fee likely won’t be worth it for you.

  • Not very flexible points

    The most valuable way to use your Rapid Rewards points are for Southwest flights, where they’re worth around $0.014 per point. However, if you use them for anything other than Southwest flights, they might be worth less.

    There are other options for redeeming Rapid Rewards points, like gift cards, merchandise and hotel stays — but you’re best off redeeming them for flights.

  • No Early Bird Check-In

    Southwest’s Early Bird Check-In allows you to check in before the standard 24 hours before your flight, which can lead to a better seat. However, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card doesn’t offer two complimentary check-ins like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card do.

    Both of the latter cards have a lower annual fee than the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.

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
Learn More
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
*The information related to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply

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 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 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
Good/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® 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.
  • Two Early Bird Check-Ins per year
  • 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 Early Bird 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
19.99% - 29.99% (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®
  • 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
Good/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 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card ticks a box that the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card doesn’t: Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit. 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.

*To see rates & fees for Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, please click here.

Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card right for you?

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 to see if any meet your needs.

apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Chase's secure site

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.