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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card review

Get an annual point bonus that practically pays for the price of the card.

finder.com’s rating: 3.6 / 5

★★★★★

  • Get this card if you want a card that pays for itself and is more valuable than the Southwest entry-level card.
  • Pick something else if you want Southwest benefits like an annual travel credit, limited upgraded boardings and discounts on eligible in-flight purchases.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 and above.

50,000

Points as welcome offer

Up to 3x

Points

$99

Annual fee

15.99% to 22.99%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Annual fee$99
Welcome offerUp to 100,000 points. 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus 50,000 points after spending $12,000 total in the first 12 months
RewardsNew! Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
New! Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
New! Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
Purchase APR15.99% to 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR15.99% to 22.99% variable
Minimum Credit Score670
IssuerVisa
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Review by


Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.

Expert review

When it comes to rewards, all three Southwest credit cards are practically identical and all three received the same point and welcome offer upgrades brought on by the October refresh. The Premier earns 3x points on Southwest purchases, 2x points on local transit and commuting, and 2x points on internet, cable, phone and streaming services. They also all earn a welcome offer of 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months. If earning Southwest points is all you want, you can choose any card you like and earn roughly the same number of points, with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card earning 2x points on Southwest purchases instead of 3x points.

What really separates each card is the annual fee, the number of anniversary bonus points you get each year and the additional perks. For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card costs just $30 more annually than the entry-level Southwest card, but you get to offset the difference with 3,000 more bonus points each year, and you’ll save money abroad with no foreign transaction fees. The Premier also now comes with 2 Early-Bird Check In passes each year, a value of about $50.

These additional perks fully offset the annual fee of the card and makes the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card the ideal entry-level card for those who want to earn miles toward their next flight. And the new earning categories, while not the most lucrative, are a nice addition for frequent travelers.

How to apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

To apply, you must be at least 18 years old, 19 in Alabama and Nebraska or 21 in Puerto Rico. You also must have a valid Social Security number or taxpayer identification number. Here’s how to apply:

  1. Learn more about how to apply for Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.
  2. Complete the application with details like your name, contact information and financial information.
  3. Review your details. Then submit your application.

What credit score do I need?

For most airline credit cards, you’ll have better approval odds with a good to excellent credit score of 670 and above. Consider following this rule of thumb for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

Southwest’s personal credit cards compared

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Annual fee$69$99$149
Signup bonus40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months.40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months. 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months.
Rewards2x points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares, 2X points on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming, 1x points on all other purchases.3x points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares, 2X points on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming, 1x points on all other purchases.3x points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares, 2X points on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming, 1x points on all other purchases.
Anniversary points3,000 points every year after your card anniversary.6,000 points every year after your card anniversary.7,500 points every year after your card anniversary.
Annual travel credit
x
x
$75
Upgraded boardings
x
x
4
20% off on in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi
x
x
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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card benefits

  • Signup bonus. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months of account opening.
  • Rewards. On Southwest Airlines purchases, you’ll earn 3x points. Earn 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares, and 2x points on internet, cable, phone and streaming services. Earn 1x points on everything else. Redeem points for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, merchandise, experiences, gift cards and more.
  • Anniversary point bonus. Each year after your anniversary, you’ll earn 6,000 points.
  • EarlyBird Check-In passes. Each anniversary year you can use 2 EarlyBird Check-In passes, which automatically checks you in for a flight. This is up to $50 in value and helps cover the full cost of the card’s annual fee when combined with the card’s anniversary points.
  • Travel and purchase coverage. On eligible purchases you make with your card, you’re protected by baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card drawbacks

  • Chase 5/24 rule. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. This means your credit card application will be automatically denied if you have opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months.
  • You can have only one Southwest credit card. If you already have a Southwest personal credit card, you won’t be eligible to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Even if you had a Southwest card and you closed it to open a new one, you still won’t be eligible if you earned a Southwest credit card signup bonus in the past 24 months.

Is the annual fee worth it?

Yes. The card has a $99 annual fee that’s not waived for the first year.

To break even on it with rewards, you’ll need 7,615 points according to our May 2021 valuation. That’s $3,807 spent on Southwest purchases or $7,614 spent on other purchases. Thankfully, as long as you’re traveling with Southwest and using your card perks, you shouldn’t have to pay a dime to make up for the cost of the card. The 6,000 anniversary points will cover much of the cost of the card and the 2 EarlyBird Check-In passes more than make up the rest.

What can I get for 50,000 Rapid Rewards points?

You can get a lot out of 50,000 points, which are worth around $640 according to our valuation at the time of writing.

You can potentially redeem these points for a few one-way flights. Here are a few Wanna Get Away award fares you might find on the Southwest website:

Origin/DestinationAward cost for one-way flight using Wanna Get AwayFees
Denver (DEN) to Las Vegas (LAS)6,864$5.60
Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (LGA)10,764$5.60
Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to Seattle (SEA)7,332$5.60

How to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points

Compare similar travel credit cards

The high-end Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card could be a better option for travelers who want to get the best Southwest perks. This card also has the best value because its perks are enough to offset the annual fee.

As an alternative, consider either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® cards. These cards give you great reward redemption flexibility, and if you decide to fly Southwest, you can always transfer your Chase points to Southwest points in a 1:1 ratio. Check out other alternatives in the table below and see how they stack up.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
100,000 miles after you spend $10,000 in your first 6 months of account opening
10x miles on hotel and rental car purchases booked through Capital One Travel, 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on every other purchase

$395
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, every day
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months ​from account opening
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points), 3x points on directly-booked flights and 1x points on other eligible purchases
$250

Rose Gold is here to stay. Card Members can choose between a Gold or Rose Gold Card.

Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 based on our valuation with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card reviews and complaints

Customers are often impressed with the card’s starting credit limit and signup bonus. However, some cardmembers say they found Chase’s customer service to be poor.

JPMorgan Chase Credit Card is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau but it has an C+ rating and a composite score of 1.18 out of 5 stars based on 229 customer reviews as of December 2021. Most customer complaints revolve around poor customer service and hidden costs Chase credit cards in general. Make sure you read your card’s terms and the rewards agreement to avoid issues with your account.

As of December 2021, Chase earns a Trustpilot score of 1.6 out of 5. Most negative reviews cite slow responses to fraud complaints and less-than-helpful customer service. Positive reviews cite the bank’s great mobile app and quick resolutions to their issues. Overall, your mileage may vary with Chase customer support.

Bottom line

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is very similar to Southwest’s entry-level card, though offers more value than it’s little sibling and pays for its own annual fee with features, making it the superior choice if you’re looking for an entry-level Southwest credit card. If you want more Southwest perks, you might like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, or consider other airline credit cards for a broader range of options.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: What’s changed?

12/8/2021Old: Earn up to 100,000 points – 50,000 when you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and another 50,000 after you spend $12,000 total in your first 12 months.New: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
10/19/2021Old: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months; Earn 2x points on Southwest purchases. New: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and another 50,000 points after you spend $12,000 total in your first 12 months; Earn 3x points on Southwest purchases.Added: Earn 2x points on local transit and commuting, internet, cable, phone services and select streaming; 2 EarlyBird Check-In each year
07/15/2021Old: Earn 65,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. New: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
05/13/2021Old: 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.New: Earn 65,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

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