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15 Benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card [2024]

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor and News Editor

359 Published Articles 61 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 28U.S. States Visited: 29

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
Edited by: Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

Editor & Content Contributor

101 Published Articles 525 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 4U.S. States Visited: 23

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...

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If you fly on Southwest Airlines often, you may wonder if you should get a Southwest credit card. There are 3 personal and 2 business options, so knowing which is the best can be confusing. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is the middle-tier personal co-branded Southwest credit card and is our focus in this article.

We’ll go over the benefits of the Southwest Premier card in detail to help you decide if it’s the right Southwest card for you.

Southwest Premier Card Overview

15 Benefits of the Southwest Premier Card

There are 5 Southwest co-branded credit cards available, and the Southwest Premier card is in the middle of the pack. It has a reasonable annual fee with a solid list of benefits.

1. Earn Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

One of the biggest benefits of the Southwest Premier card is the ability to earn lots of Rapid Rewards points. Here’s a look at how many points you can earn with this card:

  • 3x points on Southwest Airlines purchases made directly with the airline
  • 2x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
  • 2x points on internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2x points on select streaming services
  • 1x points on all other purchases
Hot Tip:

The Southwest Premier card and its business counterpart, the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, both earn 3x Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines.

One of the more unique things about the Southwest Premier card is that it offers the ability to earn points on balance transfers. You’ll earn 1x points per dollar on up to $15,000 in the first 90 days after account opening. While that’s a nice perk, the card has a balance transfer fee which can easily wipe out the value of any points you may earn. If you have a large balance to transfer, it’s probably best to look for a credit card without a balance transfer fee.

2. Complimentary EarlyBird Check-In

Southwest Airlines has a unique boarding process based on when you check in for your flight. For passengers who don’t want to deal with that, there’s EarlyBird Check-In, a service you can purchase that automatically checks you in for your flight, which gets you a better boarding position and, therefore, a better choice of seats.

EarlyBird Check-In usually costs between $15 to $25 per person per flight. However, if you have a Southwest Premier card, you’ll get 2 complimentary EarlyBird Check-In credits each year.

This can be a valuable benefit for anyone who flies Southwest Airlines, even once a year.

3. 6,000 Anniversary Bonus Points

After your card account anniversary, you’ll receive 6,000 anniversary bonus points. These points will be automatically applied to your account each year your Southwest Premier card is renewed.

We value Southwest Rapid Rewards points at ~1.3 cents each, so this bonus is worth ~$78.

Bottom Line:

The combined value of the Southwest Premier card’s 2 EarlyBird Check-In credits plus the 6,000 anniversary bonus points are worth more than the cost of the card’s annual fee.

4. Tier Qualifying Points for Elite Status

The Southwest Premier card can be valuable to those pursuing Southwest Airlines elite status. For every $5,000 spent annually on the card, you’ll earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List and A-List Preferred status.

Southwest A-List status requires 35,000 tier qualifying points or 20 qualifying one-way flights. Theoretically, you could earn status by spending $233,333 on the Southwest Premier card annually. While we’re not recommending that, earning some extra tier qualifying points with as little as $10,000 in annual spending is great.

For this perk, “annual” doesn’t refer to a calendar year. Instead, it’s based on your December statement date.

Hot Tip:

Curious about how this card stacks up against one of the most popular travel rewards cards out there? Check out our head-to-head comparison of the Southwest Premier card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

5. Earn the Southwest Companion Pass Faster

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best deals in travel, allowing you to bring a companion on any Southwest flight for only the cost of taxes and fees ($5.60 one way for a domestic flight) for up to 2 years!

Without the Southwest Premier card, you’d need to earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year to get a Companion Pass. However, Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cardholders get a 10,000-point boost each year, reducing the required number of points to earn a Companion Pass to 125,000. These points are just good for Companion Pass qualification, so they aren’t redeemable.

10k companion pass points boost on Southwest Priority card
As a Southwest cardholder, you’ll get an annual 10,000-point boost toward Companion Pass qualification. Image Credit: Southwest Airlines

6. Southwest Premier Card Referral Bonus

If you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, you may be able to refer friends and family to apply for any Southwest credit card. When they are approved, you’ll earn bonus Rapid Rewards points. One of the best parts of this perk is that points earned from referral bonuses count toward Companion Pass qualification.

7. Save on Inflight Purchases

Using the Southwest Premier card, you’ll save 25% on inflight purchases, including drinks and Wi-Fi. The discount, which is also extended to any authorized users on the card, will come as a statement credit that should post to your account on the same day as the purchase.

8. No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Southwest Premier card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees, so go ahead and bring it along on your next international trip, especially if you’re flying on Southwest Airlines.

9. Access to Chase Offers

Access to Chase Offers is included with any Chase card, including the Southwest Premier card. These are card-linked offers that can save money on your everyday purchases. Each offer must be added to the card before making a purchase.

These offers are for various stores and can sometimes include discounts on Southwest Airlines.

Chase Offers on Southwest credit card
Chase Offers can save you money on Southwest flights and more. Image Credit: Chase

10. Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Many credit cards come with car rental insurance, and the Southwest Premier card is no exception. The coverage is secondary, which means it supplements any other insurance you may have. To be eligible, the entire car rental cost must be charged to your card, and you must decline the car rental company’s insurance policy. Coverage is for theft and collision damage for most rental cars.

11. Baggage Delay Insurance

If you check bags often enough, you’ll likely be affected by a baggage delay at some point. The Southwest Premier card offers reimbursement for basic items like toiletries and clothing when your bags are delayed more than 6 hours by a common carrier such as an airline, bus, train, or cruise ship. This benefit has a maximum reimbursement of $100 per day for up to 3 days.

12. Lost Luggage Reimbursement

The Southwest Premier card includes lost luggage reimbursement coverage for the cardholder and immediate family members. If a common carrier (airline, bus, train, or cruise ship) damages or loses checked or carry-on luggage, you’re eligible for up to $3,000 per passenger.

Hot Tip:

You must purchase a common carrier fare (like a plane ticket) using the card to take advantage of the Southwest Premier card’s travel protections.

13. Roadside Dispatch

Access to roadside assistance, including services like towing and tire changes, is available through the Southwest Premier card by calling 800-847-2869. However, the card’s benefit doesn’t cover the cost of the services. Any charges for the service will be applied to your card.

14. Purchase Protection

The Southwest Premier card offers purchase protection coverage of up to $500 per claim ($50,000 maximum per account) when a new purchase is damaged or stolen within 120 days.

15. Extended Warranty Protection

The Southwest Premier card’s extended warranty benefit adds an additional year to a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty when the original warranty is 3 years or less.

Final Thoughts

There are 5 Southwest credit cards — 3 consumer cards and 2 business cards. The Southwest Premier card is the middle-tier personal card.

When deciding whether or not the Southwest Premier card is worth it, remember there are 2 benefits that add up to offer a higher value than the annual fee. The 6,000 annual bonus points and 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins are valued at ~$108, more than the $99 annual fee on this card. Those benefits, plus the additional perks like a 10,000-point Companion Pass boost, make the Southwest Premier card one that many Southwest Airlines fans will want to keep in their wallets year after year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Southwest Premier card have foreign transaction fees?

No, the Southwest Premier card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees, so you can freely use it wherever your travels may take you.

What credit score do you need for the Southwest Premier card?

While there’s no official published minimum credit score requirement for the Southwest Premier card, you’ll most likely need a good score that’s at least 670. Of course, you’ll have a better shot at getting approved with a higher credit score.

Is it worth it to upgrade from the Southwest Premier card to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card?

Whether or not it’s worth it for you to upgrade your Southwest Premier card to a Southwest Priority card will depend on a few factors. Most importantly, check to see if you’ll get enough additional benefits from the Southwest Priority card to make up for the difference in annual fees. The main benefits of the Southwest Priority card include a $75 Southwest credit and 4 Upgraded Boardings per year.

What is the annual fee on the Southwest Premier card?

The Southwest Premier card has an annual fee of $99.

What are the perks to upgrade the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card to the Southwest Premier card?

If you have a Southwest Plus card, you may be wondering if you should upgrade to the Southwest Premier card. The main perks that the Southwest Premier card offers over the Southwest Plus card are earning 3x Rapid Rewards points per dollar on Southwest purchases, an additional 3,000 annual bonus points, and the ability to earn tier qualifying points that count toward elite status.

Katie Seemann's image

About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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