Southwest Priority Card Upgraded Boarding

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Getting Southwest Upgraded Boarding can be as simple as holding the right credit card. If you’ve flown Southwest, you know that the most annoying part of it is having to remember to check in 24 hours before your flight to get your boarding number. One of the reasons we love flying Southwest as a family is that we don’t have to deal with it since we get to board during family boarding.

You can pay for Early Bird Check In for $15-$25 each way to get automatically checked in. But sometimes you forget and end up with a C boarding group and know you are going to end up in a middle seat. If you have the right credit card, though, you can upgrade to A1-A15 for free if space is available. Read on to learn the ins and outs of Southwest Upgraded Boarding. Table of Contents

No, Upgraded Boarding is sold separately per Customer per segment. Since Upgraded Boarding is sold by segment, if a Customer has a connecting itinerary (two or more flights with different flight numbers on their outbound or return), the Customer can choose to purchase Upgraded Boarding for one or all flights in their itinerary. Depending on which flight(s) are chosen, the total Upgraded Boarding charges will vary.

Each anniversary year of the Cardmember’s eligible Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card or Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, they will be reimbursed for the purchase of up to four Upgraded Boardings, which are positions A1-A15. Use the eligible Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card or Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card to purchase Upgraded Boarding and after making the purchase, the Cardmember will receive a statement credit for the price of the Upgraded Boarding, up to four times per calendar year. Statement Credit and purchase of Upgraded Boarding may not post on the same statement, so the Cardmember must allow up to eight weeks for the statement credit to post to their account. Statement Credit is only eligible if Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card or Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card is used for Upgraded Boarding purchase.

Open the Southwest app and select the “Check-In” icon at the bottom of the screen. Enter the confirmation number and verify the flight information displayed is correct. When available, the Upgraded Boarding position option is located below “View Boarding Pass.” Once selected and as available, Upgraded Boarding can be added to one or more flight segments in the itinerary.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Overview

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is the most rewarding of Southwest’s personal credit cards, with a $75 annual Southwest credit and 7,500 anniversary bonus points. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½

Southwest has made a name for itself with its customer-friendly travel policies and reputation of going above and beyond for passengers. Unlike other airlines, it doesn’t offer lounges, any type of premium cabin or even seating with extra legroom. But it does offer a full suite of cobranded credit cards to help frequent flyers fulfill their Southwest travel goals.Sign up for our daily newsletterEmail addressI would like to subscribe to The Points Guy newsletters and special email promotions. The Points Guy will not share or sell your email. See

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The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is the most premium personal credit card in the Southwest lineup. It offers hundreds of dollars in value with Southwest each year, plus a new sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

But are its benefits valuable enough to warrant the $149 annual fee? Let’s find out.

Who is this card for? (Photo by Owen CL/Unsplash)

The Southwest Priority Card is the highest-earning (and most expensive) consumer Southwest card. It’s best suited for those who are loyal to Southwest and fly with the airline regularly.

All Southwest cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. This means if you’ve opened more than five credit cards in the past 24 months (from all banks, not just Chase), you may not be approved. Also, you can’t open a new personal Southwest card if you currently have one open or if you earned a sign-up bonus in the past 24 months on any personal Southwest card.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is currently offering 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. TPG values Rapid Rewards points at 1.5 cents each, meaning 50,000 points are worth $750.

Even casual Southwest flyers should have no trouble using the following card perks to offset the card’s $149 annual fee:

  • 7,500-point anniversary bonus: Each year on your card-opening anniversary, you’ll receive 7,500 Rapid Rewards points, worth about $112, based on TPG’s valuations.
  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit: During each cardmember year, you’ll receive a $75 travel credit that can be used on most Southwest purchases, including tickets (but excluding upgraded boardings and inflight purchases), dropping the card’s actual cost to $74.
  • Four upgraded boardings per year: Use your card to pay for A1-A15 boarding spots and you’ll be reimbursed the cost up to four times per year. Ordinarily, upgraded boarding costs between $30 and $50 per round-trip upgrade, depending on the itinerary, so this perk can be worth up to $200 per year. (Update as of Aug. 22, 2022: you can now purchase these upgrades online, not just at the departure gate or ticket counter. However, we are waiting on confirmation that upgrades purchased online will be reimbursed as the cards terms and conditions have not yet been updated to explicitly state this.)
  • 25% inflight savings: Receive 25% back in the form of a statement credit after you use your card to purchase inflight drinks, Wi-Fi, messaging and movies.
  • Tier qualifying points boost: Earn 1,500 TQPs that count toward A-List and A-List Preferred status for each $10,000 you spend in a calendar year.
  • In addition to the Southwest-specific benefits, the card comes with lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, extended warranty coverage and purchase protection. The card has no foreign transaction fees, so you can make purchases overseas without accumulating extra charges.

    And while this isn’t a card benefit, don’t forget that all Southwest flyers don’t pay change or cancellation fees, get two free checked bags and have access to the easy-to-use Rapid Rewards program. These policies alone are enough to convince many to invest their rewards earnings with Southwest.

    Here’s what you’ll earn with the Southwest Priority Card:

  • 3 points per dollar on Southwest purchases.
  • 2 points per dollar spent with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners.
  • 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • 2 points per dollar on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • (Photo by Max Prosperi)

    Redeeming points with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is very straightforward. Southwest award prices are directly tied to the cash value of the ticket. In other words, points maintain a fairly constant value and you should never have a hard time redeeming them. Plus, if your plans change, you can redeposit your award without penalty.

    Some points and miles enthusiasts stay as far away from these types of rewards currencies as possible, but they can often provide significantly greater value than traditional airline miles. For instance, you can fly from Los Angeles (LAX) to Chicago (MDW) for just 5,743 points one-way, depending on the time of year. Meanwhile, American Airlines and United often charge 10,000 miles or even more (assuming you can find saver-award availability).

    If you book during one of Southwest’s flash sales, you could score awards for less than 1,500 points one-way. You can even fly to fun faraway destinations like Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Mexico.


    How do I use upgraded boarding on Southwest Priority Card?

    Go to the gate where your flight will be departing. You can only use your upgraded boardings at the gate, you cannot book them in advance. Ask the gate agent if any upgraded positions are available. If so, you will need to pay for it with your Southwest Priority or Business Performance Credit card.

    Does the Southwest credit card get you priority boarding?

    If you’re new to flying Southwest, you may not be familiar with its boarding procedures and no assigned seats. But Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Cardholders get up to four upgraded boardings per year for free.

    What is Southwest upgraded boarding?

    Upgraded Boarding gives Customers the ability to upgrade their boarding position to A1-A15 24 hours before the flight depending on availability. This allows our Customers the opportunity to be among the first to board the aircraft, pick their preferred available seat, and access the overhead bin space.

    Is upgrading to Southwest Priority Card worth it?

    Is the Southwest Priority Card Worth the Higher Annual Fee? The simple answer is yes. For an extra $50 in annual fees more than the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card, each year you will receive: 1,500 additional anniversary points.

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