Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card review
If you live in a city served by Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card can help you rapidly earn rewards towards flights. This card is the big brother card to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card with the same sign-up bonus and rewards structure but with some extras at a slightly higher ownership cost.
If you want a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, but you’re not sure whether to get the Premier or the Plus, you may want to aim for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card. With a $99 fee per year, the Premier card costs $30 more than the Plus version but makes up for it by giving you 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQP) for every $10,000 you spend per year, up to a maximum of 15,000 TQP points per year. The Premier card also provides a bigger account anniversary bonus—6,000 points compared to the Plus card’s 3,000-point bonus.
Despite being the middle ground Southwest rewards card, the Southwest Premier carries the same rewards rate as its siblings. You’ll earn 2 Southwest Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on Southwest and partner hotel and car rental purchases. All other purchases went you 1 point per dollar.
The Southwest Premier card also delivers the exact same sign-up bonus as the other two Southwest consumer credit cards. You have the opportunity to snag 40,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases within your first three months, plus earn 3X points on dining purchases (including eligible takeout and delivery services) for your first year.
Luckily, earning extra rewards and benefits like the Companion Pass is easier with the Southwest Premier’s headstart toward elite status. You need at least 35,000 Tier Qualifying Points or 25 one-way flights per calendar year to qualify for Southwest’s A-List status, which comes with perks like priority boarding, a 25 percent points bonus on each flight, and no charge for same-day standby flights. The Plus card doesn’t offer an opportunity to earn Tier Qualifying Points through spending.
The Premier doesn’t have foreign transaction fees, an important perk if you fly to any of the international destinations served by Southwest.
If you only fly Southwest Airlines occasionally, you’re probably better off with a general-purpose travel card that offers flexible rewards to use any way you’d like. We gave the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card excellent marks for their low annual fees, high earnings rate on travel and flexibility in redeeming rewards. They both have strong sign-up bonuses too.
Who should get this card
Frequent Southwest fliers aiming for A-list status with the airline.
Fees and APR
- This card has a $99 annual fee.
- There’s a variable APR on purchases and balance transfers of 15.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable based on creditworthiness.
- You will be subject to a penalty fee of up to $39 for each late payment, plus a penalty APR of up to 29.99 percent.
- Balance transfers will be subject to a 5 percent fee of the amount being transferred, or $5, whichever is greater.
Extras, perks and reward redemption
This card comes with Visa Signature benefits which include auto and travel protections, hotel discounts and benefits at participating properties. Visa Signature cards also provide a variety of purchase protections, like extended warranty coverage on qualifying purchases.
To redeem your points, go to Southwest.com and log into your Rapid Rewards account. When searching for your itinerary choose the “Points” option instead of “Dollars.” Select the fare you want and then check out using points to pay. You have to have enough Rapid Rewards points to cover the amount required for the flight. You cannot pay with a combination of points and cash. All applicable taxes and fees must be paid for with either a credit card, debit card, or a Southwest gift card.
Rapid Rewards Credit Card members can also redeem their Rapid Rewards points for international flights with global carriers, hotel stays, rental cars, gift cards, event tickets, merchandise and other unique experiences (redemption value may vary).