Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card Earns Us A Profit; Why We Don’t Get 2

by joeheg

I have many credit cards. Some give cash back, while others earn loyalty points in a specific program or transferrable points which I can send to a number of different partners. I keep most of my cards because I can get back more than what I pay for the annual fee. But there are a few that are no-brainers. These are the cards where I get significantly more value than what I pay each year.

I put the AMEX Platinum in this category because if I take advantage of the many credits available, I can make back more than I pay. But there’s another card where it’s almost too easy to come out ahead, where I wonder how they can keep offering the card.

That’s the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card.

a blue credit card with a white heart and a white logo

This is the top-of-the-line Southwest co-brand credit card, which costs $149 per year. And while that’s more than the other Southwest credit cards, it’s almost impossible to lose money as long as you fly on Southwest a few times a year. In fact, we just made money on the card with one round trip.

Upgraded Boarding

You get reimbursed for up to four Upgraded Boarding fees each year. On our last trip, each Upgraded Boarding fee was $40, so we saved $160 with this benefit. Again, the card only costs $149 per year, so we’re already ahead.

Southwest Travel Credit

Cardmembers get a $75 credit for Southwest purchases each year. I used this credit to offset our airfare, putting us ahead $235 in total.

Anniversary Points

Cardmembers receive 7,500 anniversary points each year. Valuing Southwest points at 1.3 cents each, that’s a $97 value.

Why Don’t I Play in Two-Player Mode?

So with just these three benefits, I’m $332 ahead, which is $183 after subtracting the annual fee.

If I could earn $183 with one card, why don’t we both get one? The thing is, you have to fly on Southwest to get the full benefit. I’m fairly confident we’ll take two Southwest flights a year, but I don’t know if we’d take four. If that’s the case, we’d miss out on the Upgraded Boarding credits, and without those, we’d only be breaking even with the points and travel credit. It wouldn’t be worth it to just buy points.

If we were flying Southwest more often, I’d work towards earning a Companion Pass. However, for our one or maybe two flights a year with them, this is the best way for us to take advantage of what’s available.

Final Thought

For us, one Southwest Priority card is enough. While we more than make back the annual fee with this card, there’s less value if we have two cards in the family. It turns out, there can be too much of a good thing.

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