For true Southwest fans, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is a value magnet, whether you fly them exclusively or only when a particularly good deal pops up on your radar.
The rewards on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card are pretty simple: You get 2 points per $1 spent on purchases made directly with Southwest Airlines, including:
Southwest Airlines Vacations package purchases.
Purchases at participating Rapid Rewards Hotel and Rental Car Partners.
All other purchases will earn you 1 point per $1 spent.
Here’s how you can get the most out of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card for the moderate $149 annual fee.
Get the sign-up bonus
Once you’re approved for the card, set your sights on the sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
If your goal is to maximize the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, it’s essential that you prioritize spending on this card in the early days, especially if you have upcoming travel plans that could involve Southwest. Use your new card for those bookings to hit the minimum spending.
Use your $75 Southwest credit
Every year, you’ll get $75 back in the form of a statement credit for purchases made with Southwest. There’s nothing for you to do in advance — just make sure you put some direct Southwest spending on the card so you don’t miss out on this perk. Plus, you'll get 20% back on in-flight purchases of drinks and Wi-Fi that you charge to your card.
Plan for anniversary bonus miles
On your cardmember anniversary, you’ll earn 7,500 bonus points, which is often good enough for a one-way flight on many of Southwest’s cheaper domestic routes. While there are many ways to earn Southwest points, be sure to factor these into your trip planning.
Take advantage of upgraded boardings
Every Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card member is eligible for four upgraded boardings every calendar year (based on flight availability). The savings add up quickly since it can cost $30-$50 per flight to access those coveted early boarding positions. Don’t let this benefit go to waste, so plan which flights you might want to use it on.
Nerdy tip: Use your upgrades either on long flights or when you forget to check in on time and end up with a late B or C boarding group.
Stretch points by booking Wanna Get Away fares
Southwest flight award prices are based on the fare cost. This means that reward pricing can vary based on destination, time, day of travel, demand and fare type. One trick is to purchase Southwest’s cheapest fares, known as Wanna Get Away fares.
Southwest sales can be a steal for reward bookings because as soon as ticket prices drop, so does the amount of points needed to secure your fare. By redeeming your points for these low-cost fares, you’ll get a great value, save points and even potentially have some left over to use in the future.
Nerdy tip: Use the Low Fare Calendar and book in advance since you can always change your flight later.
Purchase through Southwest.com when you can
Rather than booking your flights, hotel stays and car rentals on individual websites, look to Southwest.com first. Purchases through Southwest and Southwest’s partners will double your points earnings per dollar spent.
You can also earn bonus points when buying everyday items in the Rapid Rewards mall.
» Learn more: Why I love Southwest Airlines
Earn the Companion Pass
After 100 qualifying one-way flights or earning 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, you can unlock the highly valuable Companion Pass. Once earned, this means that every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight, a designated companion can fly with you free of airline charges (just pay taxes and fees, as low as $5.60 one-way).
If 125,000 points sounds like a lot, don’t fret. It’s actually easier to get than many think, and your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card sign-up bonus and earning rates are big pieces of the Companion Pass puzzle. Check out our comprehensive guide to the Companion Pass.
As a cardmember, you can earn 10,000 points for each person you refer that gets approved for a Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (up to five people per year). If you have a spouse, partner, friend, relative or co-worker who's looking to get a new card, refer them through Chase’s website for your own bonus points.
Use travel protections
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card comes with a variety of travel protections such as car rental insurance, roadside assistance, purchase protections, baggage insurance and more. Review the specifics of your card for details and coverage limits. If you don’t have travel protections from another card, these can be quite handy in several situations.
The bottom line
There's no shortage of ways to get the most from your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, from the minute you sign up. Earn that bonus, take advantage of Southwest credits and upgraded boarding passes, and use a variety of other benefits provided by the card.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card