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Southwest recently launched a brand new credit card called the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (Learn More). This card has some awesome benefits that essentially outweigh the annual fee, while actually even earning you more “free” money on Southwest travel. If you are new to this card, I suggest reading last weeks post which discusses all of the benefits of this card.
This Card Just Got Even More Valuable!
One of the many benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (Learn More) is that you’ll receive four complimentary upgraded boarding positions per year. If you are a frequent Southwest flier, then you are already familiar with their seat assignment/boarding policy, but if you are new to the program, then you’ll definitely want to know more about their unique ways. With Southwest, you do not pick a seat before boarding your plane as you do with many other airlines. Instead it is a “first come, first serve” type of seat picking process, which means you select your seat when you board the plane. If the seat is open, then it is yours. The way you board the plane is based on your boarding assignment. Most Southwest flights have boarding positions A1-A60, B1-B60, and C1-C60. You board in chronological order with A1 boarding first and C60 boarding last. Getting a high boarding pass number is important if you care about the seat selection.
Of course there are two ways to spend more money to get a better boarding pass.
- OPTION 1: Early Bird Check-In – Southwest will automatically check you into your flight 36 hours prior to your flights departure. This means you should receive a better boarding position then anyone who manually checks in to their flight 24 hours prior to the departure time. You can purchase this option when you buy your ticket or at any time up until 25 hours prior to your flight departing. The earlier you purchase this option, the better your boarding position. The price is currently $15 per passenger.
- OPTION 2: Upgraded Boarding – Southwest allows you to purchase A1-A15 boarding positions at the gate. This is based on availability and costs between $30 and $50 depending on the flight.
Unfortunately, as I wrote about this morning, OPTION is about to get a lot more expensive. While it is currently $15 per flight, it is going up to cost anywhere between $15-$25 per flight (will be based on that particular route). That is a huge increase and can definitely add up for multiple travelers and roundtrip flights.
Fortunately though, one of the benefits of this credit card is that you’ll receive four Upgraded Boarding positions (OPTION 2). So instead of paying the $15-$25 per flight for Early Bird Check-In, you can opt for the A1-A15 positions when you arrive at the gate. While these boarding positions can sell out, I rarely see that happen. It is probably more common on Monday morning and Thursday evening flights which are more prone to business travelers expensing the cost. The value of these four complimentary upgraded boarding really depends on what you as a traveler would have spent anyways, but having them available for free is now a great benefit!
As I mentioned in my prior post from last week, 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 with just the statement credit and annual points deposited to your account. On top of that you’ll also receive the four complimentary upgraded boarding positions which might save you money depending on what you would have typically spent, but at the minimum will give you a more enjoyable flight experience. And let’s not forget the 65,000 points from the limited time offer worth about $900 on a Southwest flight!