Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Kellie Jez
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UpThe Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card are often thought of as 2 of the best mid-tier credit cards available … that is, if you’re fine with paying a small annual fee in return for outsized benefits and rewards.
Many consumers consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to be the better credit card for general travel, while the Southwest Premier card is a great credit card to use if you’re a frequent traveler on Southwest. However, we recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred card even if you’re an occasional Southwest flyer.
In this guide, we’ll show you all of the factors you should consider to decide between the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Southwest Premier card.
The Southwest Premier card is thought to be one of the best credit cards if you fly on Southwest often or if you spend a lot of money on Southwest purchases.
Indeed, the Southwest Premier card has great Southwest-specific benefits, but you’ll probably sacrifice significant rewards value earned from everyday purchases if you use it instead of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Here’s a table illustrating each of the card’s high-level benefits:
|Benefit||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card|
|Welcome Offer||Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.||Earn 50,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.|
|Airline Program Benefits||None||
|Travel Insurance and Protections||
|Shopping Benefits and Protections||
At the highest level, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns up to 5x points, while the Southwest Premier card earns up to 3x points.
You can also use Chase Ultimate Rewards points much more flexibly than Southwest Rapid Rewards points, which boosts the value proposition of Chase Ultimate Rewards points over earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t offer any airline-specific benefits, while the Southwest Premier card offers Southwest-centric perks. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a couple of statement credits.
Travel insurance and shopping protections are included with both cards, though we’ll examine which card reigns superior on those fronts, too.
As always, you can see the complete terms and conditions associated with each benefit by accessing your Benefits Guide when you open your new card.
If you can get your hands on a welcome bonus from either of these credit cards, you can get enough value from these bonuses to pay for several years’ worth of annual fees, making it totally worthwhile to open a new card.
If you’re able to meet a spending requirement upon new card opening, you may qualify for a welcome bonus, accelerating the rewards you’ll earn.
Just keep in mind that we value the points you earn from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (Ultimate Rewards points) higher than the points you earn from the Southwest Premier card (Rapid Rewards points).
Check out the bonuses available on both cards:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
Southwest Premier Card
Earn Southwest points on every purchase, plus anniversary points, Tier Qualifying Points, and points toward the Companion Pass!
Another week, another flight. Flying weekly can get tiring, but you know that every flight gets you closer to taking some great vacations with your significant other or your favorite travel buddy.
To save money on the flights, you like to use Southwest Airlines.
So why not get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card to help you earn extra Rapid Rewards points?
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are known as flexible rewards points or transferrable rewards points.
Ultimate Rewards points can be used to book many different types of flights on almost any airline. They can also be transferred to travel partners (including Southwest) to book award travel for added value.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you have the option to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards without committing yourself to a Southwest credit card from the get-go.
That said, let’s take an in-depth look at the bonus rewards structures associated with each card:
|Earning Category||Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Southwest Premier Card|
|Lyft||5x points (through March 31, 2025)||1x points|
|Travel Purchased Through Chase Ultimate Rewards||5x points||N/A|
|Southwest Purchases, Including Flight, Inflight, and Southwest Gift Cards||2x points||3x points|
|Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partners||2x points||2x points|
|Other Travel Purchases||2x points||1x points|
|Local Transit and Commuting||1x points||2x points|
|Dining||3x points||1x points|
|Online Grocery Purchases||3x points||1x points|
|Select Streaming Services||3x points||1x points|
|Internet, Cable, and Phone Services||1x points||2x points|
|Other Purchases||1x points||1x points|
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are more valuable than Southwest Rapid Rewards points. We value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2.0 cents per point and Southwest Rapid Rewards points at an average of 1.3 cents per point. This makes Chase Ultimate Rewards points over 50% more valuable than Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
Also, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns bonus points on everyday transactions, including dining, online groceries, and travel. The Southwest Premier card has its own bonus categories, but they’re not as useful as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s bonus categories.
Even the Southwest Premier card’s ability to earn 3x points on Southwest purchases (a 3.9% return on spending) is technically inferior to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s ability to earn 2x points on travel purchases (4.0% return on spending).
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card enjoys another benefit that relates to rewards: a 10% cardmember anniversary bonus every year based on the total dollar amount spent.
As an example, you’ll earn a 10,000-point anniversary bonus if you spend $100,000 on your card during your cardmember year, assuming you renew your credit card that subsequent year.
Southwest Rapid Rewards points are best used for Southwest flights, but you still won’t get incredible redemption value like you might get with Chase Ultimate Rewards points when they’re used to book luxury business and first class flights.
Indeed, the range of redemption values you’d get from Southwest Rapid Rewards points is usually around 1.0 to 1.5 cents per point, while the range of redemption values you’d get from Chase Ultimate Rewards points is around 1.0 to 10.0 cents per point.
We believe earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points is the way to go. Even if you need Southwest Rapid Rewards points to book a specific flight, you can always transfer from Chase to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio as needed to book the Southwest flights you want!
But by collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards points instead of Southwest Rapid Rewards points, you can get extra flexibility to choose whether you transfer points to United, Southwest, World of Hyatt, or other partners.
Other worthwhile ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points include:
You can even use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for Amazon.com purchases, merchandise, gift cards, and statement credits, but these redemptions will yield poor value.
On the flip side, Southwest Rapid Rewards points can be used for non-Southwest flights, hotel bookings, car rentals, experiences, gift cards, and merchandise, but these will yield significantly lower redemption values.
Here is one of the few areas where the Southwest Premier card outperforms the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
First, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card isn’t co-branded with any specific airline, while the Southwest Premier card is a Southwest-branded credit card.
The Southwest Premier card has a few lovely Southwest benefits:
By our valuations of Rapid Rewards points at an average of 1.3 cents each, 6,000 points would be worth $78 every year.
With EarlyBird Check-In, Southwest will automatically check you into your flight before the usual 24-hour check-in period, allowing you to enjoy preferred seat selection, earlier overhead bin access, and quicker boarding.
And if you happen to spend $20 on snacks or inflight refreshments, you’ll get 25% back, equal to $5.
Southwest Rapid Rewards entry-level elite status tier is called A-List, and you need to earn 35,000 tier qualifying points to qualify for A-List status. With A-List status, you get priority boarding, priority lane and express lane check-in, a 25% earning bonus, same-day confirmed changes, same-day standby, and a dedicated A-List member phone line.
When spending on the Southwest Premier card, you’ll get 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $10,000 spent. That means you can qualify for A-List status by spending $233,333 per calendar year with the Southwest Premier card.
Hot Tip: Check out our guide to the best Chase Southwest Airlines credit cards where we compare the benefits and perks of each card.
Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Southwest Premier card offer a $10 credit every month on Gopuff purchases. Gopuff is a delivery company specializing in food, home essentials, snacks, and alcohol.
Although the Southwest Premier card doesn’t have any additional statement credit perks, it does have that anniversary bonus of 6,000 points every year, which allows you to get around $78 worth of value annually. Also, there’s the 25% back on inflight purchases when flying Southwest, which can add up over the course of the year.
In comparison, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit. To use the Ultimate Rewards hotel credit, just book your paid hotel stays via the Chase travel portal after logging into your Chase account. Then, you’ll get a $50 statement credit back. This benefit resets after every cardmember anniversary year instead of the calendar year.
The quality of travel protections is an increasingly important factor for many consumers when deciding which credit card to add to their wallets.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, travel was incredibly uncertain. Having these travel protections meant potentially saving thousands of dollars, but also invaluable peace of mind. As travel continues to have uncertainties, travel protections are still valuable.
We’ll show you which card has the best travel insurance and protections.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the few credit cards offering primary rental car insurance, in contrast to the Southwest Premier card’s secondary rental car insurance.
All you need to do to get coverage is decline the car rental agency’s collision damage waiver or loss damage waiver (CDW or LDW), pay for your car rental using your credit card, and you’re good to go!
Secondary rental car insurance is inferior to primary rental car insurance due to the fact that you must file any claims with your primary insurance provider before any secondary coverage applies.
If your trip is interrupted or canceled due to a covered reason, such as illness, the death of a family member, or injury, you can use your trip interruption and cancellation insurance to get reimbursed for eligible nonrefundable expenses incurred.
The Southwest Premier card doesn’t offer trip interruption and cancellation insurance, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred card does.
Specifically, you can get up to $10,000 per person and up to $20,000 per trip in coverage if you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to pay for your common carrier plane ticket.
Travel delays seem to be getting more and more common. To hedge yourself against the risk of delays, use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to pay for airfare, and you can get reimbursed for covered delays.
For delays of 12 hours or more, as well as when an overnight stay is required, you can get up to $500 in trip delay reimbursements. You can file a maximum of 1 claim per trip.
No trip delay reimbursement is offered to Southwest Premier cardholders.
Baggage delay insurance is a common benefit of both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Southwest Premier card.
The coverage amount is identical — you can get up to $100 per day towards the purchase of essential items if your baggage is delayed by more than 6 hours.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Southwest Premier card offer the same lost luggage coverage policy.
If your luggage is lost or damaged by the airline, you can get up to $3,000 in reimbursement per passenger, as long as you use your credit card to purchase the common carrier ticket.
There’s another sub-limit of $500 for jewelry and watches, as well as another $500 sub-limit for cameras and other electronic equipment per person per trip.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Southwest Premier card both offer up to $500,000 in travel accident insurance.
If you’re driving and suddenly encounter issues with your car on the road, calling the Roadside Dispatch hotline is an option available to you with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Southwest Premier card.
Although services are not complimentary, you can get roadside assistance at a pre-negotiated rate of $69.95 per service call, which covers:
The last major set of travel protections to examine is the series of travel and emergency assistance services you can utilize.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Southwest Premier card both offer these benefits 24/7 for yourself, your spouse, and dependent children under 22 years old traveling with you:
This is a referral and assistance service; you will still be responsible for any costs incurred for utilizing any services thereafter.
What if you’re using credit cards outside of travel planning? You’ll need to make sure the credit cards you’re using can protect you while shopping or making non-travel purchases.
If you make a purchase and your item is damaged or stolen shortly after that, purchase protection can definitely come in handy.
If you hold either the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Southwest Premier card, you can get purchase protection for up to 120 days after the date of purchase with a coverage amount of up to $500 per item and up to $50,000 per calendar year.
Extended warranty coverage allows you to enjoy an additional layer of protection, which can help tremendously for technology gadgets and accessories.
Using either card, you can get an additional year on eligible warranties of 3 years or less, which can cover you for up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year.
For example, if you purchase an item with an eligible warranty of 1 year, you will get 1 extra year on top of that for a total of 2 years.
However, if you purchase an item that has a 10-year warranty, you won’t get any additional coverage.
Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Southwest Premier card do not have foreign transaction fees.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a $95 annual fee, while the Southwest Premier card has a $99 annual fee.
You can add authorized users to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Southwest Premier card for no additional annual fees.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Southwest Premier card fundamentally appeal to different customer segments.
We firmly believe the Chase Sapphire Preferred card will get you the highest ROI on spending, thanks to its bonus categories on dining, online groceries, travel, streaming, and more.
The Southwest Premier card offers respectable rewards categories, but it earns Southwest Rapid Rewards points, which are less valuable than Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That said, the Southwest Premier card offers the ability to qualify for elite status on Southwest, as well as a handful of other Southwest-specific benefits that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card does not.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a few travel protections beyond the Southwest Premier card, such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance and primary rental car coverage. The Southwest Premier card’s travel insurance isn’t terrible, though. There’s lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay coverage, travel accident insurance, and more.
Both cards offer purchase protection and extended warranty, and neither card levies foreign transaction fees or additional annual fees for authorized users, so you can rest easy on those fronts.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card does not give you any priority boarding privileges.
Yes, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio to book Southwest flights if you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Yes, you can! Just call the number on the back of your card to process the upgrade.
Yes, the Southwest Premier card has a $99 annual fee.
It depends on what you’re looking for. Frequent Southwest flyers may find value in the rewards and benefits. But if you want the best rewards and don’t necessarily need to fly on Southwest, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is probably better for your situation.
The Southwest Premier card is a credit card issued by Chase that earns Southwest Rapid Rewards points and comes with a variety of benefits specific to Southwest flights.
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