Applies only to tickets purchased directly from Southwest. Other airfare earns 1X.
Limited-time offer: Earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Offer ends 3/11/24.
Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.
The Southwest Premier credit card is Southwest’s mid-tier personal card. It balances offering some perks while still charging less than a $100 annual fee.
Cardholders will be reimbursed for up to two EarlyBird Check-In purchases each year, get 25% back on inflight purchases on Southwest Airlines, plus get 6,000 bonus points each card anniversary.
The Southwest Premier Card offers some of the broadest spending bonus categories of any card with an annual fee under $100. Cardholders will earn 3x points on Southwest purchases and 2x points on Southwest Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners; local transit, commuting, rideshare; internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming services.
Points earned count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass. Plus, primary cardholders earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points toward A-List Preferred Status for every $10,000 spent on the card each year.
The Southwest Premier Card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, unlike the Southwest Plus Card. Add in the higher earning rate on Southwest purchases, higher anniversary bonus, and ability to earn Tier Qualifying Points toward A-List Preferred Status, and the Premier Card easily justifies its $30 higher annual fee.
Lastly, this card is great for getting a good piece of the way to a Southwest Companion Pass with the bonus offer, since the signup bonus points count. Read our guide on earning a Southwest Companion Pass for up to two years via new account bonuses.
Applies only to United purchases. Otherwise, earn 1X
Earn 30,000 United MileagePlus Miles after spending $1,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months of opening an account. Offer ends January 24, 2024.
The United Gateway card does a solid job of providing enough benefits to make you wonder if it will be sufficient, vs investing $95 or more on one of the other Chase United credit cards since this is the only one with no annual fee.
The answer will depend on you.
If you fly several times a year and check a bag each time, then you’ll come out ahead paying the $95 annual fee on the United℠ Explorer Card since you’ll get free checked bags (one for you and a companion on the same itinerary) every time you pay with your card on a domestic flight. You also won’t get priority boarding with the Gateway card.
However, if you are on “Team Carry-On Only,” then this card provides many of the same benefits, including the benefit that gives you access to expanded Saver economy coach availability just like a United Silver Premier member. However, unlike all of the other United cards, you won’t be entitled to upgrades on award tickets.
Additionally, you won’t have any opportunities to earn PQPs from spending on this card whereas all the other United cards do offer that benefit.
Lastly, you might do better with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card if you aren’t using the checked bag benefit or the expanded award availability benefit. That’s because you’ll have more opportunities to earn points from spend on the Sapphire Preferred, and while you can transfer those points right over to United, you can also take advantage of all of the other Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel transfer partners.
In the end, it depends on you if this is a good card for you, or if another similar card might be better.