Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card overview
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card is the middle of the pack for Southwest personal credit cards. While airline credit cards generally don’t have many perks, the absence of foreign transaction fees and 6,000-anniversary bonus points should help offset this card’s reasonable $99 annual fee. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½
*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Savvy TPG readers know we generally don’t recommend building your points strategy around a single cobranded airline credit card, as these tend to offer fewer perks and less flexibility than a comparably-priced transferable points card.
When it comes to the Southwest Rapid Rewards card portfolio, you’ll generally find better earning rates and more flexible redemption options with cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points — such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — which you can then transfer to Southwest Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 rate.
That said, Southwest credit cards are very popular among Southwest fans. With a recommended credit score of 670, the mid-tier version of the three personal Southwest cards — the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card — has a good balance of perks and an annual fee that could make it worthy of a spot in your card collection.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Southwest Premier Card to help you decide if it should earn a spot in your wallet.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card pros and cons
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card welcome offer
New applicants for the Southwest Premier card can earn a Companion Pass (good through Feb. 28, 2025) plus 30,000 bonus points when they spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
The Southwest Companion Pass is an ultra-valuable perk that allows you to add a companion to your Southwest reservation for free (plus applicable taxes and fees) on an unlimited number of Southwest Airlines flights for as long as you have the pass. Usually, you need to earn 135,000 tier-qualifying points (by flying Southwest or spending on cobranded credit cards) or complete 100 qualifying flights within a calendar year to snag this coveted Companion Pass.
But with this offer, you can get a valuable Companion Pass just by meeting the minimum spending requirement to earn this bonus. Plus, you’ll also get 30,000 bonus points, which TPG values at $420. This matches the best offer we’ve seen on this card, so now is a great time to snag it if you’ve been thinking about it.
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Remember that you can’t earn a sign-up bonus on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card if you currently have any personal Southwest card or have earned a sign-up bonus on a personal Southwest card in the past 24 months.
Also, Southwest’s cobranded cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. If you’ve opened five or more new accounts over the past 24 months (across all issuers, not just Chase), you will likely be denied for this card.
Related: The ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card benefits
While you don’t expect an airline credit card with a $99 annual fee to come loaded with perks, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card has quite a few benefits.
You’ll receive 6,000 bonus points on each account anniversary, which TPG values at $84 — meaning that the anniversary bonus nearly offsets the card’s $99 annual fee.
Also, you’ll enjoy additional benefits like two EarlyBird check-ins per year with the Southwest Premier Card — helping you get on the plane early to snag a better seat — and 25% back on inflight purchases.
You may also be interested in earning Southwest A-List elite status to further enhance your travels with the carrier. You can earn bonus TQPs by spending on the Premier card: 1,500 TQPs for every $5,000 spent per calendar year.
Related: Battle of the airlines: Why I think Southwest Airlines is the best
Earning points on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Most airline credit cards award bonus points or miles for purchases directly with the carrier, and that’s certainly true here: You’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent with Southwest on the Premier Card.
However, it also has other enticing bonus categories: You’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on local transit and commuting purchases, internet, cable and phone services and with select streaming providers. You’ll earn 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
This amounts to a 4.2% return on spending with Southwest and a 1.4% return on everyday spending, according to our valuations.
Redeeming points on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
When it’s time to use your rewards, one of the best things about redeeming Southwest Rapid Rewards points is the simplicity of the process. Whether you select the cheapest Wanna Get Away fares or the most expensive Business Select tickets, the cost of your award ticket is tied to the cash price of the flight.
This means you don’t have to worry about getting the highest possible cent-per-point redemption value. If you have Rapid Rewards points, you can redeem them for gift cards or merchandise. Still, the best value comes from using your points for Southwest flights — including options to Hawaii and international destinations.
Southwest regularly runs flash sales, which you can take advantage of to get a great deal booking with points. For example, TPG credit cards writer Emily Thompson recently booked a round-trip flight between Nashville (BNA) and San Jose, California (SJC) for under 25,000 points during one of these sales.
And remember that Southwest’s policy of no change or cancellation fees means you can reprice your award ticket if the price drops. This offers valuable flexibility to get the best possible redemption.
Read more: How to change or cancel a Southwest Airlines flight
Which cards compete with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card?
The Southwest Premier card has two obvious competitors: Chase’s other Southwest credit cards. However, it’s worth considering a general travel credit card with a similar annual fee to see whether this is better for your wallet. Let’s see how they stack up:
For more options, check out our full list of travel credit cards.
Related: Comparing the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority, Premier, and Plus Credit Cards
Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card worth it?
The Southwest Premier card with a $99 annual fee is mostly offset by the 6,000-anniversary bonus points, which have a value of $84, according to TPG’s valuations. It covers the annual fee if you value its other perks at more than $15. However, most Southwest loyalists should apply for the Priority card instead, as it offers more benefits.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card can be a good option for semi-frequent Southwest flyers. If you fly with Southwest occasionally, this card’s price point and perks could make it a good fit for your wallet without the higher price tag on other travel credit cards.
Apply here: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card