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5 Reasons to Get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card

Sept. 2, 2019
Loyalty Programs, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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If you decide you want to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, it may be because you already fly Southwest frequently (or you plan to start). Whether you’re here for the points earning possibilities, the sign-up bonus, or something else, there are plenty of reasons this card may work for you. Here are our top 5 reasons to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

1. You want to earn the sign-up bonus

One of the biggest reasons to sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is the current sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

We value Rapid Rewards points at 1.4 cents each, which means this bonus could be worth around $1,050.

Unlike some other airlines, Southwest determines award prices based on the cash price of their tickets rather than the distance you’ll be flying. This means your points can get you more value if you usually book cheaper flights.

» Learn More: Southwest Rapid Rewards Program: The Complete Guide

2. You fly Southwest Airlines regularly

While many credit cards allow travelers to earn rewards outside of airline spending, this isn’t one of them. You’ll earn earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases with Southwest Airlines and its hotel and rental car partners.

Outside of these purchases, you’ll only earn 1 point per $1 everywhere else. If you don’t plan to fly Southwest regularly, this probably isn’t the card for you.

3. You want to earn the Companion Pass

To get the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll need to earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. The Companion Pass offers nearly free flights for a designated companion traveling with you for the remainder of the year and the entire following year — you just have to pay taxes and fees.

If you’re just earning Rapid Rewards points by taking flights, you’ll be earning between 6-12 points per dollar (depending on the fare class you purchase). That means you’d need to spend around $10,000 on Business Select fares, or $20,000 on Wanna Get Away tickets.

But if you combine spending on flights with earning 1-2 points per dollar on credit card purchases, earning the Southwest Companion Pass becomes much more achievable for less frequent travelers.

4. You want the tier qualifying points for A-List status

To get A-List status on Southwest Airlines, you have to earn 35,000 tier qualifying points or fly 25 qualifying one-way flights in a year. Here’s what A-List status get you:

  • Free same-day standby flight changes.
  • 25% bonus points earned on qualifying flights.
  • Priority boarding and security access.

With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, you can earn up to 15,000 tier qualifying points per year: 1,500 for every $10,000 you spend on your card (up to $100,000). If you plan on spending a lot, this card could help you earn A-List status — though you’ll still need to fly with Southwest to make up the difference.

5. You prefer this card over other Southwest Airlines cards

There are three consumer Southwest Airlines cards to choose from. While their base points-earning structures are the same, here’s a brief summary of how they compare otherwise:

CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Sign-up bonusEarn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Annual fee$69$99$149
Anniversary point bonus3,0006,0007,500
Foreign transaction fees?YesNoNo
Tier qualifying points earned toward A-List status?NoYesYes
Other benefitsN/AN/A$75 Southwest annual travel credit, 4 upgraded boardings per year, 20% back on in-flight purchases

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card may make sense for you if you value the extra anniversary points over paying a higher annual fee compared to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. Or you might want the ability to earn those extra tier qualifying points toward A-List status, and prefer not having a foreign transaction fee.

» Learn more: Chase 5/24 rule explained

But the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card might be a better option, especially if you fly Southwest very frequently and are OK with the annual fee. Considering the yearly travel credit and extra anniversary points, this card could be a better fit for higher-volume travelers who also want a few extra perks.

The right travel credit card can make a significant difference in your travel experience, so always consider your options carefully. Think about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card if you plan to fly with Southwest Airlines regularly and can take advantage of the earnings opportunities it offers.

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 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best airline credit card for you
Snag these hotel loyalty perks, even if you’re disloyal
Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies

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