Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card review: One of the most value-packed airline credit cards around, and a single benefit cancels out $75 of the annual fee

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

If you're not flying Southwest right now, there's no harm in holding on to your points until you're ready, because they'll never expire. However, Southwest credit card holders do have other options for redeeming points through the More Rewards program, including merchandise, gift cards, car rentals, hotels, cruises, experiences, and international flights on other airlines. The value you'll get per point varies, but it's usually a poor value compared to redeeming for Southwest flights.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card benefits and perks

$75 Annual Southwest Airlines travel credit

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card has a $75 annual travel credit, which is valid for any Southwest purchase except upgraded boarding and in-flight purchases. Just buy a Southwest ticket, pay with the Priority card, and get a $75 credit back on your credit card statement automatically with no hoops to jump through.

If you'll spend at least $75 on Southwest flights anyway, this annual credit is an easy way to offset the $149, effectively bringing it down to $74.

Upgraded boardings and discount on inflight purchases

This card will reimburse you for the purchase of four upgraded boardings with Southwest every year. This is different from Southwest Early Bird Check-In, which you purchase at booking or add afterwards; upgraded boarding is sold at the gate when there is extra space available in the A1-A15 boarding group.

Since Southwest seating is famously first-come, first-serve, upgraded boarding can be a great way to avoid a middle seat. This normally costs $30-50 per flight, but with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card you won't pay anything for the first four Upgraded Boardings each year.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card also offers a 20% rebate on in-flight purchases — including premium drinks, Wi-Fi, movies, and messaging — when you pay with your card.

You don't get a free checked bag with this card, but you don't need one, because Southwest is the rare airline that offers two checked bags for free.

Accelerated access to Companion Pass and A-List status

The Southwest Companion Pass is perhaps the most famous deal in travel: earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, and the person you pick can fly with you on any Southwest ticket (paid or award) for just the cost of taxes and fees. The points you earn from using the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card — including the sign-up bonus — count toward the Companion Pass qualifying requirements.

If you're aiming for Southwest's A-List or A-List Preferred elite status, this card can also help you move up to the next level. For every $10,000 in eligible net purchases on the card, you'll earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs), up to 15,000 points per year. This is the only way to earn TQPs other than flying on a paid Southwest ticket.

Other travel benefits

If you use this card to pay the full cost of a car rental, you can forget the rental company's collision insurance: the Southwest Priority Card offers automatic theft and damage protection on most rental cars in the US and abroad. In the US, though, this coverage is secondary to your personal car insurance. Other cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offer primary car rental insurance in the US, so you don't need to file a claim with your personal insurance first.

When traveling, your luggage is also covered: if you use the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card to pay for your flights and your bags are delayed over six hours, you'll be reimbursed for necessities (up to $100 a day for three days), and if your bags are lost or damaged, you're covered for up to $3,000 per passenger.

Purchase protection and extended warranty

Nearly anything you purchase will be covered against damage or theft for 120 days, up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account. And if it has an eligible manufacturer's warranty of three years or less, paying with this card will grant you an additional year of warranty coverage.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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