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Chase has really been on a roll with new co-branded airline credit cards this year — they’ve already released the Iberia Visa Signature Card and the Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card. Now, they have expanded the Southwest cards lineup by adding the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Card.
This card will overlap quite a bit with the other two personal cards offered by Chase, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. However, it will offer a few other benefits that might actually make it a better choice.
With Southwest continuing to expand its reach — I know a ton of people anxiously awaiting flights to Hawaii, this card just might pack enough punch to make it a keeper if you’re a Southwest flyer.
Now, let’s dig into some of the benefits and see if it’s right for you.
Sign-up bonus plus big-spend bonus
Of course, the sign-up bonus is the hook that gets you to bite, so let’s talk about that first. Until August 22, 2018, the sign-up bonus will be 40,000 Rapid Rewards once you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months with the card.
Similar to what we’ve seen on the British Airways Visa Signature, there is another opportunity to earn a bonus. The Southwest Priority Card only has one extra spending tier — unlike the 2 with the British Airways Visa — so it’s pretty straightforward.
If you spend $15,000 within the first year — $14,000 more after meeting the minimum spend, then you will earn an additional 25,000 Rapid Rewards points. Rather than think of this as part of the sign-up bonus, I think it’s more of a one-time opportunity to earn a big-spend bonus.
The Southwest Priority Card comes with four new benefits that help distinguish it from the Southwest Premier and Plus cards. With an annual fee of $149 compared to the $99 and $69 annual fee that comes with the other two, respectively, this should be expected.
As with all other Chase Southwest cards, the Southwest Priority Card comes with an anniversary bonus. With the Priority Card, you’ll receive 7,500 Rapid Rewards points on your account anniversary compared to 6,000 points with the Southwest Premier Card and 3,000 with the Southwest Plus Card.
Tired of getting a middle seat when you have to board in group C? You’ll enjoy the 4 upgraded boardings per anniversary year that you’ll receive when you get the Priority Card. If you’re someone who has described boarding Southwest flights as herding cattle, this might make you reconsider for a least 4 flights.
To utilize this benefit, you must purchase an upgrade on the day of travel with your Priority Card, if available, and you will receive a boarding number between A1 and A15. You will be reimbursed with a statement credit within 8 weeks for the charge.
While the card does carry a higher $149 annual fee, you will receive an annual Southwest travel credit of $75. If you’ll book even one cash ticket on Southwest Airlines anyway, you’ll be able to reduce the effective impact to about $74. Paired with the 4 upgraded boardings each year and the 7,500, you’ll basically be paying $25 less than you would for the Premier Card and getting a little bit more.
Additionally, you can also receive 20% back on inflight purchases when using the Priority Card. These purchases could include drinks, Wi-Fi and movies.
Standard benefits that overlap with the Southwest Premier Card
As with the Southwest Premier Card, you’ll earn 2X per dollar on purchases with Southwest Airlines and its hotel and rental car partners. All other purchases will earn 1X point per dollar.
Each point you earn — including those from the sign-up bonus — will count toward the Southwest Companion Pass which will earn you 2-for-1 flights on Southwest if you earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points within a calendar year.
You’ll also be able to earn tier qualifying points (TQPs) toward A-List and A-List Preferred status. For every $10,000 you spend on the card, you’ll earn 1,500 TQPs up to 15,000 TQPs. I find it hard to imagine a scenario in which spending $100,000 to earn 15,000 TQPs will be worth it but, okay then.
Who is eligible to open the Priority Card?
As with other Chase Southwest cards — including the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, you can expect that the Southwest Priority Card will be restricted by the Chase 5/24 rule. Sad for those of you who have already hit 5 new personal cards — and Capital One business cards — in the last 24 months, but important to remember if you’re under 5/24.
Additionally, Chase implemented a new rule regarding personal Southwest cards in early April. Previously, you were allowed to open both the Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier cards but now you are restricted to one personal Southwest card. You also aren’t eligible if you’ve received a sign-up bonus for any personal Southwest card in the last 24 months.
So, if you are under 5/24, don’t have a personal Southwest card and haven’t earned a sign-up bonus from a personal Southwest card in the last 24 months, you have a shot!
Should you get the Southwest Priority Card?
Obviously, this only matters if you are eligible to get the card, so we’ll start with the assumption that you are. With that settled, there are few things we want to consider.
The Southwest Priority Card can still be opened if you have the Southwest Business Card — or vice versa. This means you can utilize the sign-up bonuses to help you earn the Southwest Companion Pass quickly. With the Companion Pass, you’ll be able to book award and cash flights for you and a designated companion — can be changed 3 times per year — which will save you a ton on Southwest flights.
To be perfectly honest, I’m a bit disappointed the initial 40,000-point sign-up bonus alone won’t be enough to earn the Companion Pass when paired with the Southwest Business Card. However, I do think this card is preferable in many ways to the Premier Card thanks to the increased annual account anniversary bonus of 7,500 Rapid Rewards points and the $75 Southwest travel credit.
To top it off, I think the 4 upgraded boarding passes could make a hectic trip much more pleasant for families with small children as it will make it easier to sit together.
While the sign-up bonus is a bit lower than I’d prefer and the spend required for the additional bonus is more than I’d like, I actually think the Southwest Priority Card could be the best option for the personal cards.
The ongoing benefits that you receive each year can easily offset the cost of the annual fee if you fly Southwest even just a couple times — once if you’re traveling with a companion or your family. If you meet the eligibility requirements and are looking for a Rapid Rewards points boost or way to knock out a big chunk of the 110,000 points for the Companion Pass, this is the personal card I’d consider.
Heck, if I weren’t lol/24, I might even consider it to take care of some domestic travel if they operated flights to my hometown — we can get Hawaii but not Lexington?! But, I digress.
So, those of you who are eligible for a personal Southwest card, what do you think of the new Southwest Priority Card?