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Southwest recently launched a brand new credit card called the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (Learn More). While it is a more of a “premier” credit card due to the slightly higher then normal annual fee, it is one of those cards where the benefits absolutely make up for it allowing you to save money year after year.
The Benefits Pay For Itself!
$75 in Southwest Travel Credits
With this card, you’ll receive $75 in Southwest travel credits every single year, which can be used directly for Southwest flight purchases. If you are thinking about applying for the card, I am assuming you are a loyal Southwest flyer and will definitely have at least $75 of paid travel per year. However, if you have a year where you happen to not have any paid travel, due to using points or just not flying Southwest that year for whatever reason, you can most likely just use your credit card to pay for a friend or family members flight and have it trigger the statement credit. Your friend or family member can then pay you back the cost of the flight!
Right off the bat, taking this $75 credit into consideration, this brings the annual fee down to $70. Compared to other points and miles credit cards, that is a low “net” annual fee you are paying and less then the other Southwest credit cards as well!
7,500 Bonus Points
After every cardmember anniversary, you’ll receive 7,500 bonus points to your account. This is worth approximately $113 in travel on a Southwest “Wanna Getaway” fare. You can then use those bonus points towards a future Southwest flight.
Now after taking that savings into account, you can then think of the annual fee as a wash and you’ll actually be “profiting” $37 on a yearly basis.
Upgraded Boarding Positions
Southwest has a unique seat assignment policy where you actually do NOT pick a seat before boarding the plane. Unlike some of the other carriers, you can’t even pay more to pick a seat. Instead it is a “first come, first serve” type of seat picking process, so the earlier you board the plane, the better chance you have of picking a better seat. Upon checking into your flight, Southwest will give you a boarding number and you’ll board the plane based on that number. Now, to be able to board the plane first, you can purchase an upgraded boarding position when you arrive to the gate. Assuming available, it will give you boarding position A1-A15, which is the best boarding position you can have.
With this credit card, you’ll receive four complimentary upgraded boarding positions a year. Typically it costs either $30, $40, or $50 to purchase one of these upgraded boarding positions so this benefit is worth between $120-$200! Now, if you end up with boarding position A20, for example, it is not necessary to purchase an upgraded boarding position, but if you end up with C20, for example, securing position A1-A15 is huge!
So while I do not want to say you are coming out ahead another $120-$200 because this might not have been something that you’d necessarily would have paid for, it is a nice perk to have especially since the other perks pay for the annual fee (and more)!
20% back on in-flight drinks, Wifi, messaging, and movies
When flying Southwest, use this credit card to pay for in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies and you’ll receive 20% back on your credit card statement. I typically pay for Wifi while flying Southwest (although I wouldn’t say it’s the best service you’ll receive!), getting an additional 20% off on something I am paying for anyways is always welcome.
Again, I wouldn’t tie a specific savings amount to this benefit as it really differs per individual, but if you are going to purchase these services/drinks anyways, then savings a few extra bucks here and there is always a positive!
As I mentioned above, the perks from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (Learn More) will give you a minimum of $37 net positive on a yearly basis and possibly even more depending on which other benefits you take advantage of. Credit card annual fees can definitely add up, but I am always happy paying an annual fee when I know I’ll a receive a higher return in the benefits. And this is on top of the sign up offer!
NOTE: Sign Up Bonus Counts Towards the Companion Pass!
The best perk of this card, along with ALL of the Southwest credit cards, is that the points earned from the sign up offer count towards the Southwest Companion Pass. You need to earn 110,000 points to earn the pass, so the bonus points from this card will get very close! Just keep in mind that you need to earn all points in the same calendar year. On January 1st the point counter towards the companion pass resets. So if you need more points in 2018 to earn the companion pass, I suggest applying and meeting the minimum spend soon. If you prefer to earn the companion pass in 2019, then hold off on applying now and wait until October – this will allow you to have the points post to your account in 2019. Remember, when you earn the companion pass, you’ll keep the pass for the rest of that calendar year, plus the entire next calendar year. If you earn the pass now, you’ll have the pass until December 31, 2019. If you earn the pass in 2019, you’ll have the pass until December 31, 2020. The Companion Pass allows another passenger to fly with you for FREE (plus taxes) for the length of the pass. You can use the pass an UNLIMITED number of times as well. And the best part is that you can book your ticket with points and still add a companion onto your ticket. I’ve had the pass for 10+ years and have truly saved thousands and thousands of dollars!