Update January 10, 2019: Southwest and Chase are currently offering an amazing deal. You can earn the Companion Pass plus 30,000 Rapid Rewards points by signing up for just ONE of the Southwest Rapid Rewards personal credit cards! Click here for more details.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority credit card
A new Southwest credit card product is now available from Chase. That brings the total to 4 Southwest credit cards on the market. The new card is a personal card called Rapid Rewards® Priority credit card. Click here for more details.
I’ll go over details of the new card, but I stand by my post from last week. I think a Chase Sapphire card is better, unless you are trying to earn the Companion Pass and/or you fly Southwest frequently. If you fly Southwest frequently, this new card may be worth having for the benefits. But after meeting the minimum spend, I would switch my everyday spending to a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred®
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
Ultimate Rewards points earned from these cards transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio. But you also have the option to transfer Ultimate Rewards to other partners. So you have more redemption options if you use a Chase Sapphire card rather than a Southwest card. Southwest Rapid Rewards are only redeemable for Southwest flights. You cannot transfer Rapid Rewards points to Ultimate Rewards, other airlines, or hotels.
There are 3 other Southwest Rapid Rewards® credit cards.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Details
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card sign up bonus
The sign up bonus is deceiving. Yes, it is up to 65,000 points, but the minimum spending requirement isn’t pretty. It is a tiered bonus, which seems to be a common trend right now.
- Like the 2 other personal Southwest cards, the requirement is $1,000 in the first 3 months to earn 40,000 points.
- The extra 25,000 points will only be awarded if you spend $15,000 on the card in your first year.
So, yes, you have a whole year to spend the $15k. But you could be earning Ultimate Rewards or another currency that is more valuable than Rapid Rewards points with that amount of spend.
Here’s another consideration though. That $15k in spend also gets you the standard 1 point per dollar. So if you accomplish this, you actually end up with a total of 80,000 Rapid Rewards points.
- 40,000 from the first $1,000
- 15,000 from the extra spend in the first year (1 point per dollar for $15k)
- 25,000 bonus from the $15k
If you have earned a sign up bonus from either of the other 2 Southwest personal credit cards the past 24 months, you are not eligible for this bonus offer.
Also, if you currently have a personal Southwest credit card open, you cannot open this card. You may be allowed to upgrade to this new card, and you might even be offered a small bonus to do so. But you will not be eligible for the 65,000 points if you upgrade.
If you already have a personal card but you received the bonus more than 24 months ago, and you are under 5/24 (more on that below), you could close whichever card you have and apply for the new Priority card rather than upgrading. That way, you would be able to earn the sign up bonus.
Do points from the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card sign up bonus qualify for the Companion Pass?
All of these points qualify for the Companion Pass. But you still need another 30,000 Companion Pass qualifying points to make it to the 110,000 points needed for the CP.
Timing is very important if the Companion Pass is your goal
If you are trying to earn the Companion Pass, you need to earn 110,000 points in one calendar year. If you were to open the card today, the 40,000 bonus will be earned this year since you only have 3 months to meet the minimum spend ($1,000). You will need to earn the rest of the points needed for the Companion Pass by the end of the year.
If you are counting on that second bonus of 25,000 points to reach the110,000 points needed, you must be sure that you can meet the extra spending requirement to have your points post by the end of the year. Qualifying CP points reset every January, so keep this in mind.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card annual Fee
The annual fee is $149 and it is NOT waived for the first year. One of the benefits is a $75 annual credit for Southwest. So if you use that, your fee is effectively $74.
The benefits also offset the annual fee. More details below.
How many points do I earn on everyday spending with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card?
The earn rate is just like the other personal versions of the card. Most purchases are 1 point per dollar. The only bonus categories are Southwest flights and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases which earn 2 points per dollar.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card Benefits
- 7,500 anniversary points each year
- $75 Southwest annual travel credit
- Four upgraded boardings per year when available
- 20% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies
- No foreign transaction fees
- Earn tier qualifying points towards A list status
The four upgraded boardings per year stands out. We’ve all had it happen. You forget to check in for your Southwest flight and you get a C group boarding position. You can buy a better boarding position at the airport (subject to availability). I have seen the cost anywhere between $30-$50, depending on the route. With this benefit, you can upgrade to a boarding position of A1-15 four times per year for free.
No foreign transaction fees and earning tier qualifying points are also benefits of the Rapid Rewards Premier credit card (the $99 card).
20% back on in-flight purchases is nice, but it’s probably not going to make much of a dent in offsetting the annual fee. But some other benefits will. 7,500 anniversary points, the $75 credit, and the upgraded boardings are more than enough to justify the annual fee, especially if you frequently fly Southwest.
For those who fly Southwest often, the benefits of this card make the card worth considering even if you decide to take my advice and not use it for everyday spending after meeting the minimum spending requirement.
The limiting factor is that dang Chase 5/24 rule
*If you do not know what I am talking about, read this post about Chase’s 5/24 policy.
Chase has an unofficial policy that is known as 5/24. This means that if you have opened 5 or more cards from ANY bank (not just Chase) in the past 24 months, you will not be approved for any Chase 5/24 cards until 25 months after your 5th newest card was opened. For that reason, it is important to open the Chase 5/24 cards that you want early in your points and miles hobby! Then you can move on to cards issued by other banks.
Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card subject to Chase 5/24?
Since we rely on data points to determine which cards are and are not subject to 5/24, it is impossible to tell if a brand new card is going to find its way on the 5/24 list. Considering other Southwest credit cards from Chase are 5/24 cards, it’s safe to assume this new one will also be a 5/24 card.
I am under 5/24. Can I have 2 Southwest credit cards?
There are some reasons you may want to do this:
- To earn another sign up bonus
- If you’re trying to earn the Southwest Companion Pass
You cannot have more than 1 personal version of a Southwest credit card at the same time. This is a fairly new rule. But you can have the business card and one personal card. That is the quickest way to earn the Companion Pass.
Can I have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® and a Southwest Rapid Rewards® credit card at the same time?
Yes, and I actually encourage it. If you’re trying to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, you will need a Southwest Rapid Rewards business card and a Southwest Rapid Rewards personal card. So I would start with those. After that, a Chase Sapphire card should be your next move.
Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards are also subject to 5/24.
Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card the best Southwest card?
Probably. If you are going to get a Southwest card, this is probably the best one considering the benefits.
The sign up bonus is decent, but not outstanding considering the spending requirement for the additional 25,000 points. The first 40,000 points for $1,000 in spend matches the sign up bonuses of the other two personal Southwest credit cards.
To compare annual fees, the Plus is $69, Premier is $99, and Priority is $149. Assuming you will use the $75 Southwest credit, it brings the Priority fee down to $74. That’s lower than the Premier version, and similar to the Plus version. I’d say the extra $5 is worth it for the benefits that come with Priority.
Final Verdict: Should you open the new Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card?
You are eligible if you:
- are under 5/24
- do not have a personal Southwest card open
- have not earned a sign up bonus from a personal version of a Southwest card in the past 24 months
If you want the Companion Pass, yes. This is assuming you either have the rest of the points needed for the Companion Pass or you have a plan to earn the rest of the points needed before the end of the calendar year.
Otherwise, it just depends on your travel plans and goals. For most people, I would still suggest opening a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card first. And possibly a Chase Freedom Unlimited. Then you can decide which other 5/24 cards are right for you.
If you fly Southwest often, you might want to consider the Rapid Rewards Priority credit card. 7,500 anniversary points, the $75 credit, and the upgraded boardings are more than enough to justify the annual fee if you frequently fly Southwest. I would still keep everyday spending on cards that earn transferable points such as Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards, though*.
*To get the sign up bonus, you should put all of your spending on the Southwest card. Switch your spending to another card only after you have earned your sign up bonus.