Comparison of Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority, Premier and Plus Credit Cards

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new information.


Welcome offers are often one of the best ways to differentiate between credit cards in the same family. But what about Southwest Airlines consumer credit cards that often have the exact same sign-up bonus?

The following three cards offer a hefty bonus of 75,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening:

These offers end on December 5, 2022.

These bonuses can be especially lucrative for those who want to take advantage of the Southwest Companion Pass, especially if you play your cards right (pun intended) and get the bonus points to arrive in your account starting January 1st. While it’s true that the points required for Companion Pass will increase next year, cardholders can also offset the increase with the 10,000 bonus points they’ll receive from Southwest for having one of their co-branded credit cards.

With all the similarities between these cards, you may be wondering: What exactly are the differences between the Plus, Premier and Priority versions of Southwest credit cards? Although their names sound similar, the three cards are quite different. Which one will be better for you depends on how often you fly to the South West and how many of these cards’ respective perks you can maximize.

Here’s what you need to know to choose between them.

Card Overview

Benefit Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Annual quota $69. $99 $149.
Anniversary Points Bonus 3,000 Rapid Rewards points. 6,000 Rapid Rewards points. 7,500 Rapid Rewards points.
Win Rates 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases.

2 points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partner purchases.

2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting (including ride share applications).

2 points per dollar on internet, cable, telephony and select streaming services.

1 point per dollar on everything else.

3 points per dollar on Southwest purchases.

2 points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partner purchases.

2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting (including ride share applications).

2 points per dollar on internet, cable, telephony and select streaming services.

1 point per dollar on everything else.

3 points per dollar on Southwest purchases.

2 points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partner purchases.

2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting (including ride share applications).

2 points per dollar on internet, cable, telephony and select streaming services.

1 point per dollar on everything else.

Other advantages 2 EarlyBird registrations per year.

25% refund on purchases on board.

2 EarlyBird registrations per year.

25% refund on purchases on board.

$75 annual Southwest travel credit.

Four upgraded shipments per year (when available).

25% refund on purchases on board.

Tier Qualification Points N/A Earn 1,500 TQP toward A-List status for every $10,000 spent per calendar year (no limit). Earn 1,500 TQP toward A-List status for every $10,000 spent per calendar year (no limit).
Foreign transaction fee 3%. None. None.

While Southwest travelers have a choice, the divergence in costs and benefits between these cards isn’t as great as when deciding between members of other card families, such as deciding between Chase Sapphire’s Favorite Card Y Chase Sapphire Reservewhose annual fees and benefit portfolios differ significantly.

Plus, you don’t miss out on 75,000 bonus points, which TPG values ​​at $1,125 for travel, when you apply for one Southwest credit card instead. Instead, your choice will come down to which card benefits you can take advantage of most often on your travels and what annual fee is affordable for you.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

This is the kind of traveler each card is probably best for.

If you’re a frequent Southwest flyer

the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card makes a very compelling case for itself.

If you’re a frequent Southwest flyer, you should have no problem maximizing Southwest’s $75 annual travel credit, which reduces the out-of-pocket cost of this card from $149 to $74. However, this could be even more valuable if you have the famous Southwest Companion Pass.

Remember, every dollar (or point) you spend on Southwest tickets is doubled once you have the Companion Pass. Why? When you book a ticket with points or cash, you can get a second ticket for your companion and pay only applicable taxes and fees. With that in mind, you could argue that a $75 credit is actually worth $150 for Companion Pass holders, effectively lowering the annual fee on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card up to zero.

Even if you’re not willing to take that numerical leap, you’ll end up spending less each year while maintaining the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card What if you opted for the middle level? Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.

With the Priority card, in addition to the annual travel credit, you’ll get four upgraded boardings in position A1-A15 per year, when available. And the extra bonus points on the cardholder’s anniversary, 1,500 more than the Premier card, should net you $22.50 in extra rewards when you go to use them.

The only argument against Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is that you must pay the full annual fee of $149 in advance. However, if you can quickly use the above benefits, you can easily offset a large part of that cost.

Related: Battle of the Airlines: Why I Think Southwest Airlines is the Best

ALEX TAI/SOPA IMAGES/LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES

If you are looking for a cheaper card

If you are looking for a lower initial cost to acquire the current registration bonus, you can choose between the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card (with an annual fee of $99) or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card (with an annual fee of $69).

What does the extra $30 a year on the Premier card get you? For starters, your bonus anniversary points will be 6,000 instead of 3,000. TPG values ​​those 3,000 extra points at $45, more than offset by the card’s higher annual fee.

If you opt for the cheapest card, the Plus, you will also receive a 3% fee on foreign transactions. This isn’t a big deal when you consider that most of Southwest’s network is domestic, but Southwest’s cheap fares, low fares, and above-average customer service are a great excuse to take a trip to a Caribbean destination at an affordable cost. Keep this in mind if you have a card with foreign transaction fees.

Finally, with Premier, you can earn Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) toward elite status: 1,500 for every $10,000 you spend on card purchases in a calendar year (with no limit to how many TQPs you can earn when you spend on the card). credit in one year). year). So if you’re interested in A-List or Preferred A-List status, go with the Premier.

Eligibility

What keeps most people from opening these Southwest credit cards has always been Chase’s restrictions on credit card applications.

First and foremost is the 5/24 Chase rule, which applies to these three cards. Chase will almost certainly reject applicants if they have opened five or more credit cards, from any issuer, in the past 24 months. You can read this full guide on the 5/24 rule, but if you’re on (or more than) your five slots, we recommend you don’t waste an application on these cards, as you’re likely to get rejected.

In addition to the 5/24 rule, the terms and conditions of each of these cards state:

Product is not available to (i) current cardholders of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® credit card, or (ii) previous cardholders of any Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card who received a new cardholder bonus within the last 24 months. . This does not apply to cardholders of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.

So if you currently have one of these personal Southwest credit cards or have received a bonus on one in the last 24 months, you won’t be eligible for these offers.

Please note that this only applies to personal credit cards. If you recently opened the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card either Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, you can still open a personal card. Likewise, these and other small business credit cards you’ve opened recently shouldn’t generally count toward Chase’s 5/24 card limit, so you might still be good to apply.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Southwest Credit Card Eligibility

JOHN GRIBBEN FOR THE POINTS BOY

Bottom line

Southwest Airlines credit cards continue to be popular. The high bonuses on these cards right now are likely to continue that popularity. Right now, new applicants for all three cards can earn 75,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. These offers end on December 5, 2022.

Anyone who flies Southwest, even a few times a year, should have no problem maximizing the travel benefits that come with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card. After factoring in Southwest’s $75 annual travel credit (double if you have the Companion Pass), high anniversary bonus points and other perks, this is hands down the card that will add the most value to your wallet.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card’s $149 annual fee is relatively cheap in today’s world of hyper-expensive premium credit cards. But if that still seems like too much, it’s also possible to get good performance from the Premier and Plus cards.

Official App Link: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.
Official App Link: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.
Official App Link: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card.

Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Stella Shon, Eric Rosen, and Ryan Smith.

Leave a Comment