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Southwest Airlines and JP Morgan Chase announced a new co-branded rewards credit card on July 19, which features a number of useful benefits and perks for travelers. The new product, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card, is available for applications immediately.
The card joins two pre-existing Southwest-branded credit cards — the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier— as the highest-end entry in the portfolio, an indication that Southwest, which is typically regarded as a no-frills airline, is catering to passengers who have come to expect co-branded cards to offer travel benefits in addition to the ability to earn frequent flyer miles — a trend followed by most other mainline US airlines.
The Priority card offers several unique benefits, including 7,500 bonus anniversary points each year, up to four Upgraded Boarding certificates each year, $75 in annual Southwest travel credits, and 20% back on in-flight purchases.
In addition to the new features, the Southwest Priority card will feature similar benefits to the Premier card, including 2x points earned on each dollar spent with Southwest, and 1x point on everything else, no foreign transaction fees, and the ability to earn 1,500 tier qualifying points — toward elite status — for every $10,000 spent each year (up to 15,000 tier points).
For a limited time, the Priority card is offering a sign-up bonus of up to 65,000 Rapid Rewards points — 40,000 after spending $1,000 in the first three months, and 25,000 after spending $15,000 total within the first year — the highest-ever bonus on a Southwest credit card.
Making the bonus particularly enticing to cardholders is the fact that points earned through credit card spending, including from sign-up bonuses, count toward the requirements for the Southwest Companion Pass. Each calendar year that a Southwest flyer earns 110,000 Rapid Rewards points, they can choose a designated “companion” who can fly with them for free, besides minimal taxes and fees. After meeting the spend requirements and earning the bonus, new card members will have more than half of the needed points.
The card has a $149 annual fee — in comparison, the Premier has a $99 annual fee, while the Plus is $99. However, subtracting the new Priority card’s annual $75 travel credits means that the net annual fee is effectively reduced to $74.