Chase just made some significant changes to its Southwest Rapid Rewards co-brand credit cards. The earning potential for the cards was increased by boosting the multipliers and adding new categories. They also tweaked some existing benefits making them slightly better, but those changes are only helpful for a small fraction of cardholders.
Coinciding with the announcement, Chase also launched huge sign-up bonuses for the Southwest cards, including a 100,000 point offer for the Priority card. If you decide that you want to sign up for the Southwest Priority card, or any of the Southwest credit cards, we’d appreciate if you’d use our link. We receive Southwest points for each referral, which helps us keep Your Mileage May Vary HQ going strong.
Let’s look at the changes and if they’ll make any difference in how much I use the card.
Changes to bonus categories
The Priority card previously rewarded 2x points for purchases with Southwest. Not great, and no reason to put spending on the card. The new spending categories are much improved.
- 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases
- 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
- 2 points per $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
- 2 points per $1 spent on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Southwest purchases go up to 3x, which is a needed addition to the card. Local transit and commuting expenses and connectivity (internet, cable, phone, and streaming services) are new categories earning 2x. I’m sure Chase picked those categories to try and get the card set up for recurring expenses instead of having people only use the card for occasional Southwest purchases.
I’m not going to move any of my Southwest spend since I earn 3x to 5x with my Sapphire Reserve which has better travel protection. For transit and commuting expenses, I earn 3x points with my AMEX Green card. Our phone bill goes onto the Ink Preferred for the insurance coverage and 3x bonus points. I max out earnings on our cable/internet bill, as I earn 5x points with the Ink Cash card.
While I have a card that I’d rather use for each category, not everyone has a drawer full of credit cards. None of the bonuses are best in class but as a combination of categories, it does make the Southwest Priority a well-rounded option for some everyday expenses.
Changes to card benefits
None of the previous card benefits were devalued or removed. All of these changes are positive, although they’re not useful for most passengers.
- Rebates for inflight Wi-Fi and drinks increased from 20% to 25%
- Removed cap on earning 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 in purchases
An additional 5% back on inflight purchases is OK but it doesn’t change the card’s value. The change to earning TQPs removes the $100,000 limit, allowing cardmembers to earn unlimited points through spending. I don’t know how many people were maxing out this benefit, but there must have been some who were.
Changes to the Southwest Priority card are welcome since they’re all positive and the annual fee didn’t change. It moves from a card that’s worthwhile to keep for the benefits alone to one where you could get value from using the card. If you’re going for a companion pass, remember that all points earned with the card count towards the 125,000 you’ll need to qualify.
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