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Why You Should Not UPGRADE to Southwest Priority and What to Do Instead

By John Chavez

We often get emails from readers asking if they should take advantage of Chase’s offer to “upgrade” their Southwest Priority card.

And by doing so, they’d get a card with more benefits and up to a few “bonus” points, as well.

However, this is generally NOT a good idea.

Let’s talk about why.

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Why You Should NOT Upgrade to the Southwest Priority Card

one Chase Sapphire card per person

While a few thousand Southwest points sounds like a nice perk to get a card with some nifty benefits like early boarding orders and a $75 credit, wouldn’t tens of thousands of points be better? 😉

When you upgrade to Southwest Priority, a personal Southwest credit card that offers the MOST benefits of any Southwest personal card, you only get their paltry couple thousand-point offering.

But… if it’s been at least 24 months since you last earned the bonus on a personal Southwest card, you’ve got a MUCH better option!


What You Should Do Instead of Upgrading…

upgrade Southwest Priority

Instead of upgrading, simply close your card and apply for a NEW Southwest Priority card.


By doing this, you could earn the FULL 40,000+ bonus now available on ALL Southwest personal cards just by meeting a small minimum spend.

That “upgrade” doesn’t look like such a good deal now, does it ;-)?

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How to Make Sure You’re Eligible

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card

Now, not EVERYONE will be in a position to do this.


But there’s really only ONE main reason why you would NOT want to take advantage and that is if you have earned a bonus on ANY Southwest card in the last 24 months.

If so, that means you would not be eligible to open Priority and earn the full bonus.

If that is the case, you COULD choose to “upgrade” but that counts as a “bonus,” so you’d have to wait 24 months from that point before you could close your personal Southwest card and open a new one.

So I really don’t recommend doing that either unless you’re just dying to have the benefits :).

Otherwise, you’d want to wait until it’s been 24 months from when you last earned the bonus on a personal Southwest card before you close your current one and apply for a new Southwest Priority card.

Also keep in mind that you can only hold ONE personal Southwest card, so you would be declined if you tried to open Priority while keeping your existing personal Southwest card.

The solution? Close your existing personal Southwest card first, then wait at least 7 business days before applying for a new one to allow the credit bureaus time to note the closure so you’re not declined.

But, again, don’t do that unless you’re clear of the 24-month bonus rule.

Finally, be mindful of Chase’s “5/24” rule.

Chase won’t approve you if you opened 5 or more cards (not counting Chase, Citi or AMEX business cards) within the last 2 years, or 24 months.


What’s So Great About Priority?

Southwest check-in

Why all the carrying on about the Southwest Priority card?

Well, it’s a pretty great card and the one Lyn recommends if you fly Southwest at least 2 to 3 times per year.

Read Lyn’s full review on Southwest Priority, but as a quick overview, it comes with a host of benefits that include:

  • 4 upgraded boarding orders (A1-15) every year 
  • $75 Southwest travel credit each year to purchase flights and/or Early Bird seating
  • 7,500 anniversary points that DO qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets 1 person fly FREE with you for up to 2 years
  • No foreign transaction fees and more!


—> Read Lyn’s full review of Southwest Priority


Have we convinced you it’s better to apply for a new Southwest Priority card instead of upgrading? 

What questions do you have?


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