Southwest and Chase recently refreshed the co-branded Rapid Rewards credit cards.
They’re all good products. But is there one Southwest Airlines credit card that’s the best to get right now?
Why the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the Best
Several perks set the card_name apart from the other two.
And, yes, this card carries the highest annual fee of the bunch ($149 vs. $99 vs. $69). But you can easily recoup that (and much more) in statement credit and benefits.
$75 Annual Southwest Travel Credit
You’ll receive up to $75 each anniversary year when you use your card_name for Southwest purchases (excluding Upgraded Boardings and inflight purchases).
An easy way to enjoy it is to buy $75 worth of airfare.
The other two cards do not offer the annual travel credit.
7,500 Bonus Points Each Anniversary Year
You’ll receive 7,500 bonus Rapid Rewards points each anniversary year, starting your second year of card membership.
Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth about 1.3 cents each of travel. So that’s almost like getting $97.50 in award travel each year.
So if you combine that value with the annual travel credit, you enjoy about $172 in Southwest travel each year — thanks to your $149 card. (The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card awards 6,000 bonus points each anniversary year and the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card awards 3,000. Again, with no annual travel credit.)
Oh, there are still more benefits.
25% Statement Credit on Southwest In-Flight Drinks and WiFi
card_name members receive 25% back when using their card to pay for inflight cocktails and WiFi during Southwest flights. (The card used to offer 20% back but upped it!) I almost always enjoy a beverage (or two) when flying. So if you’re like me, this perk will save you some bucks.
For drinks, you receive better earnings with cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5X on purchase made directly with airlines), or Chase Sapphire Reserve (3X points on travel, after the card’s annual $300 travel credit is reacher) and American Express® Green Card (3X points on travel). (A recent WiFi purchase made with my Platinum Card® from American Express did not code as a Southwest expense, just FYI.)
(All information about the American Express® Green Card has been independently collected by Eye of the Flyer. It has not been reviewed by the issuer.)
Four Upgraded Boardings (A1-A15) Each Year
Southwest is (in)famous for its open seating policy. You want an A group boarding pass; you don’t want C.
If any Southwest’s Business Select boarding positions (A1-A15) are unsold before a flight, you can “upgrade” to one of those high-A slots.
If you pay a premium upcharge.
But card_name members have no such worry.
Four times each year, they can upgrade to A1-A15 (when available) and pay the fee with their card. They’ll be reimbursed those charges.
So if you value things like legroom (especially on long flights), getting on board ASAP to score an exit row or bulkhead seat is critical. And upgraded boardings help. A lot.
All points earned on Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards count toward the Companion Pass threshold. Plus, they all earn:
- 3X on Southwest Airlines purchases (up from 2X)
- 2X on local transit and commuting (including rideshare)
- 2X on Internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming providers
If you strictly want a quick haul of points and nothing else, then get the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card ($69 annual fee) and reevaluate next year. The Premier doesn’t make a compelling case — at least, for me. I’d rather spend $50 more in annual fees and receive more in return.
The card_name makes sense for people who fly — or want to fly — Southwest Airlines a few times a year. The $75 travel credit, 7,500 annual bonus points, the 20% inflight incidental credit, and upgraded boardings make this a decent card to hold.
The card pretty much pays for itself — and then some.
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