Southwest Airlines has a deal with Chase to offer co-brand cards to members of the Rapid Rewards program. It has a diverse line of cards from the base-level Plus card to the top-level Priority card. Since the Priority Card was introduced, I’ve felt it was the only card that made sense for Southwest’s customers. Now, with a recent change, Southwest has increased the value of the Priority Card.
With little notice, Southwest raised the price of the best way to get a great seat on a Southwest flight.
Besides paying for a Business Select seat, the way to get a great seat on Southwest’s planes is to pay for Upgraded Boarding. Southwest has been aggressively marketing this offering to passengers, most recently by allowing passengers to purchase upgrades on the app at check-in instead of having to wait until arriving at the airport.
In October 2022, I noticed that the minimum price of Upgraded Boarding had increased from $40 to $60.
Now that more people know about how to pay for an earlier boarding position, View From The Wing reported that an internal Southwest email alerted employees that the max price for Upgraded Boarding has increased from $60 to $80.
I checked the Southwest website and it now shows the increased price.
While I’ve taken advantage of Upgraded Boarding on many flights, I never paid for it. That’s because the Southwest Priority card reimburses cardholders for 4 Upgraded Boarding fees every cardholder year.
Most notably is that there is no price cap on the reimbursement. Southwest can increase the fee to $100 or $200 and the Southwest Priority card will reimburse the fee. The most I’ve ever paid for Upgraded Boarding was $50 and most surprisingly that was for a flight from Orlando to Providence, RI.
But now that Southwest can charge up to $80 for an Upgraded Boarding position, that means you can get up to $320 every year back from your co-brand card. That’s in addition to the $75 Southwest travel credit and 7,500-anniversary points. Considering that the Southwest Priority card has a $149 annual fee, this increase in Upgraded Boarding fees makes the card even more valuable.
To be real, even if you only redeem the credits for $30 each, the Southwest Priority card makes sense. But now that Upgraded Boarding prices are up to $80 each, this makes the card invaluable for Southwest flyers. Sharon, the cynic of the family, is sure that Chase will eventually cap the value of the credit, but until then take advantage while you can.
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