Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card review

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card review

Updated: June 13, 2024
Updated: June 13, 2024
Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
4.2 rating
4.2 rating
4.2 / 5
Rewards Value:4.0
Annual Percentage Rate:4.0
Rewards Flexibility:4.0
Issuer Customer Experience4.0

In a Nutshell:

If you frequently fly Southwest, it’s worth upgrading to this high-value airline card, despite its $99 annual fee. It offers a generous sign-up bonus and its rewards points are worth substantially more than the average credit card rewards point.


All information about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 on Southwest purchases
  • 2:1 on local transit, commuting (including rideshare), internet, cable, phone services and select streaming
  • 1:1 other purchases
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In each year
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass
Very Good

Sign-up Bonus

Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Very Good

Annual Bonus

  • 6,000 points each cardmember anniversary
  • 10,000 Companion Pass® qualifying points each calendar year
Very Good

Annual Fee


21.49% - 28.49% Variable

Very Good

Rewards Redemption

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • Unlimited rewards seats
  • Use miles for airfare, gift cards, merchandise, car rentals, cruises, hotel stays, access to exclusive events
  • No change fee
  • No booking fees
  • One-way rewards tickets permitted


  • No stopovers permitted on rewards tickets
  • Limited options for international travel
  • You can only book rewards flights on Southwest, since Southwest doesn’t have airline partners
Very Good

Chase Customer Service Ratings

  • J. D. Power 2020 customer satisfaction rating: 809 (30% of issuers in this category ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: Yes
  • Online chat available?: No
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.4/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.8/5
Very Good

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, first 2 checked bags free, lost luggage reimbursement, travel and emergency services, baggage delay insurance, purchase protection, other Visa Signature benefits

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Review: More Details

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card makes it easy to rack up rewards in the popular and versatile Southwest Rapid Rewards airline loyalty program. There is a $99 annual fee, but this fee is more than made up for by the initial bonus points you earn when you sign up and meet a minimum spending requirement.

Keep reading to find out everything about the Southwest Premier Card, the best ways to redeem your rewards and how to apply.

Solid sign-up bonus and ongoing perks

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card is currently offering an incredible sign-up bonus for frequent flyers. If you spend $3,000 in your first three months as a cardholder, you’ll score 85,000 Rapid Rewards points.

The 85,000 points alone are worth around $1,275 in Southwest travel based on Bankrate’s latest airline mile valuations, which give Southwest Rapid Rewards points a value of around 1.5 cents per point.

Unfortunately, one of the previous, more lucrative sign-up bonuses, which included a Southwest Companion Pass, is no longer available. The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most sought-after perks in rewards travel. For as long as it’s valid, the Companion Pass lets you pick a companion to fly with you for free (minus taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way and $11.20 round-trip) on an unlimited number of flights you book with cash or points. You typically need to earn 135,000 points from qualifying purchases or take 100 qualifying one-way flights to earn the Companion Pass. While such an excellent offer couldn’t last forever, the current sign-up bonus still holds a terrific value.

Annual bonus

Also note that the Southwest Premier card offers an annual bonus that can make keeping the card and paying an annual fee well worth it. This bonus is worth 6,000 points each year (worth around $96 in airfare, by our valuations), and you receive it on your card member anniversary.

Earning points

The Southwest Premier card offers an earning structure that is easy to understand. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on Southwest Airlines purchases and with the card’s recent update, 2 points per dollar on local transit, commuting (including rideshare options), internet, cable, phone services and select streaming. All of the points you earn from these categories will count toward a Companion Pass (available on an ongoing basis if you earn 135,000 points or take 100 qualifying flights).

Keep in mind, however, that you can earn even more points with the airline if you sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards dining program or shop through the Southwest Rapid Rewards shopping portal.

What are Rapid Rewards points worth?

While point values can vary, Southwest Rapid Rewards points are typically worth 1.5 cents each when you use them to book airfare.

While that’s less than you can get with some other programs, Southwest’s fare-based rewards program makes it easy to save miles. If the price goes down in cash on a flight you want to book, the award price will also drop. This isn’t always the case with other airline loyalty programs.

When we multiply the point value by the average earning rate (the rate at which the average cardholder can earn Rapid Rewards points with the card across all the card’s spending categories), we figure that the Rapid Rewards Premier card can earn around 1.74 cents per dollar spent on average.

Flight network

One potential downside of earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points is the fact that their international range is very limited. Southwest does fly to Caribbean destinations like Aruba, Grand Cayman, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Nassau in the Bahamas as well as several destinations in Mexico, but they don’t fly to other areas of the world.

The airline’s network is robust, however, and they operate more than 4,000 flights per day during peak travel season. Southwest currently flies to over 90 destinations within the U.S. as well as to Hawaii and its international destinations.

You can also book international flights with other airlines through with your points, although you’ll only get 1 cent in value if you do.

Redeeming points

Redeeming Southwest Rapid Rewards points is easy thanks to Southwest’s website and mobile app. You can log into your account to book airfare, hotels, rental cars and more online.

The chart below highlights how much value you can expect to get for various redemption options:

Point value (in cents)
Wanna Get Away fare1.5
Anytime fare1.1
Business Select fare0.9
Gift cards0.7
Car rentals0.7
International flights0.8

In case you’re wondering, Southwest offers three different types of airfare you can buy – Wanna Get Away fares, Anytime fares and Business Select fares.

  • Wanna Get Away fares are nonrefundable, although you can apply the ticket cost toward future travel. These fares are also less flexible in general, but then again, they’re also the cheapest.
  • Anytime fares are similar to Wanna Get Away fares, although they come at a higher cost, and they are fully refundable.
  • Business Select fares cost significantly more points than other options, yet they come with the most perks. You’ll get early boarding on Southwest, a priority security lane and free drinks if you choose this option.

Of course, you can also redeem points for gift cards, hotels, rental cars and experiences. These options typically offer less than one cent per point in value though, so they’re not the best deal.

One benefit that sets Southwest apart is that, when it comes to their flights, they have the most generous cancellation and rebooking policy around. For their refundable fares, you can request travel credit to use for another flight up until your booked flight has departed. If you paid with points, you can receive your points back for use toward another award flight.

This makes it easy to cancel and rebook another flight if your dates change or you decide to cancel your trip altogether. And remember, most airlines do not let you change your flights without paying a hefty change fee.

Other benefits

The Southwest Premier card offers a slew of important benefits that can add more value and help you save money. Once you sign up, you’ll receive the following perks as a cardholder:

  • No foreign transaction fees: Use your credit card abroad without paying a foreign transaction fee for your overseas purchases.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: This coverage will reimburse you if you experience rental car damage or theft when you use your credit card to pay for the entire rental cost. Keep in mind that this coverage is secondary, meaning it only kicks in after your own auto insurance.
  • Baggage delay insurance: Get reimbursed up to $100 per day for three days if a baggage delay leads to out-of-pocket spending for toiletries or clothing.
  • Lost luggage insurance: Receive up to $3,000 per passenger if you or an immediate family member is stuck dealing with luggage damaged or lost by the carrier.
  • Roadside dispatch: You can call into a designated 1-800 number if you need a tow or a tire change or any type of roadside assistance. The dispatch number is free, but cardholders are required to pay for the services of third-party providers.
  • Travel accident insurance: Get up to $500,000 when you pay for airfare, bus fare, train fare or a cruise with your credit card.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services: This benefit can help you connect with medical or emergency professionals no matter where you are in the world.
  • Extendedwarranty protection: This coverage helps you extend the manufacturer’s warranty on eligible items for an additional year, but it’s only good for warranties that last three years or less.
  • Purchase protection: Use this coverage to protect against damage or theft. Coverage is good for up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account.

Also remember that Southwest Airlines lets you check two bags for free – even if you pay for your flight with rewards. This isn’t a cardholder perk per se, but it does make flying with the airline a more attractive option.

Southwest Premier card vs. Southwest Priority card

You may want to consider applying for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card instead if you want an airline card with more perks.

This card gives you the same sign-up bonus as well as the same earning rate on Southwest purchases. However, you also get an annual $75 travel credit on Southwest, four upgraded boarding positions each year, 25 percent back on in-flight purchases, 7,500 points on your cardmember anniversary each year and no foreign transaction fees. Though it comes with a higher $149 annual fee, the value of these extra benefits outweighs the fee, for those who fly Southwest frequently enough to take advantage of them.

Approval odds

Most consumers with “good credit,” or FICO scores of 670 to 739, are in a good position to qualify for this card. However, those with FICO scores of 740 or higher have the best chance of qualifying for the Southwest Premier card and other premium rewards credit cards.

If your credit isn’t that great, you may want to spend some time improving it before you apply. The best steps you can take to boost your credit score include paying all your bills early or on time, refraining from opening or closing too many accounts and paying down debt to reduce your credit utilization.

Customer service

Since the Southwest Premier card is a Chase credit card, you’ll have access to 24/7 customer service on the phone as well as via online secure messaging. Chase also has a mobile app that makes it easy to contact customer service, make a payment or pay bills online.

Chase also receives solid rankings from J.D. Power.

How does the Southwest Premier card compare to other cards?

Though the Southwest Premier card is a good deal for frequent Southwest flyers, there are other cards you should consider in case you want to expand your redemption options beyond Southwest flights.

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
United Explorer card
United℠ Explorer Card
Gold Delta SkyMiles card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Rewards rate

  • 10 points per dollar on Lyft purchases (through March 2025)
  • 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals when you purchase through Chase Travel℠
  • 5 points per dollar on air travel through Chase Travel℠
  • 3 points per dollar on other travel purchases
  • Earn elevated rewards on all travel purchases immediately after earning the $300 annual travel credit
  • 3 points per dollar on dining
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
Rewards rate

  • 2 miles per dollar on United purchases, hotels, and dining
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Rewards rate

  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets
  • 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases
  • Terms apply
Welcome bonus

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
Welcome bonus

  • Limited-time offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Welcome bonus

  • Earn 65,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Terms apply
Annual fee


Annual fee

$95; waived the first year

Annual fee

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150 (See rates and fees)

Other things to know

  • 1:1 transfers to airline and hotel partners
  • 50% travel redemption bonus through Chase Travel℠
  • $300 annual travel credit – applies to most travel purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee
Other things to know

  • Free checked bag
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck
  • Priority boarding privileges
  • 25% in-flight discount
  • 2 one-time passes to the United Club each year
  • No foreign transaction fee
Other things to know

  • Free checked bag for you and up to eight companions on the same Delta flight reservation
  • Priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fee

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a smart travel credit card to pick up – even if you also get a co-branded Southwest credit card. This card gives you 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. You also earn 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel℠, 5 points per dollar on air travel through Chase Travel℠ and 3 points per dollar on other travel purchases (earn elevated rewards on all travel purchases after earning $300 annual travel credit). Plus, earn 3 points per dollar on dining and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

There’s a $550 annual fee, but you qualify for lucrative benefits like a $300 annual travel credit, a Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit, Priority Pass Select membership and more. The best part is, you can transfer your points 1:1 to popular airline and hotel partners, including Southwest Rapid Rewards.

United Explorer Card

The United Explorer Card gives you 2 miles per dollar on United Airlines purchases, dining, and hotel stays, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. Other perks to look forward to include up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit and a free checked bag for you and a companion when you fly with the airline. There’s a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year.

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles Gold card is another airline credit card to consider if you fly with Delta or its partners frequently. This card gives you 2 miles per dollar on purchases with the airline and at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets, and 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases. Cardholder perks include a free checked bag on Delta flights, priority boarding and more.

Why should you get the Southwest Premier card

  • Anyone who wants to earn an initial rush of Southwest Rapid Rewards points for meeting a minimum spending requirement.
  • Consumers who fly Southwest often and want to work toward elite status.
  • Frequent flyers who want to earn points they can use for flights within the U.S., to Hawaii and to the Caribbean.
  • Anyone who wants an airline credit card that comes with certain insurance benefits and consumer protections.

How to use the Southwest Premier card

  • Use it for purchases from Southwest Airlines and its rental car and hotel partners.
  • Pair it with the Chase Sapphire Reserve so you can use that card to get 3 points per dollar on general travel and dining purchases.
  • Redeem your points for Wanna Get Away fares to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Refer a friend to any Southwest card to get 10,000 bonus points (up to 50,000 points per year).

Is the Southwest Premier card worth it?

The Southwest Premier card is definitely a good choice among airline credit cards, but it may not be the best card if you don’t fly Southwest often, or even if want to earn rewards specific to the Southwest Rapid Rewards program. Like we mentioned, the Chase Sapphire Reserve lets you earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and you can transfer those points 1:1 to Southwest Airlines. Plus, it comes with a ton of perks you can’t get with a Southwest credit card.

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