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What Credit Score Do You Need to Get the Southwest Premier Credit Card?

Feb. 07, 2019
4 min read
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To really succeed at the points and miles game, you need to devote some time to understanding how credit scores work. While scores in the mid 700s and above will likely be enough to get you approved for most cards, having a lower score doesn't necessarily close the door on your dreams of free travel.

You can have a lower score due to a variety of factors, but there's more to your credit report than the number at the bottom of the page. Two people might have a credit score of 600, but if one of them missed a few payments on a credit card while the other is young and only has a few months of credit history, those 600s don't necessarily mean the same thing.

While there isn't a magic formula (if your score is over X, you automatically get approved), we can carefully analyze public data points to help you gauge your approval odds for a specific card. You can check out the first installation of this series analyzing the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but today we'll turn our attention to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.

The Offer

Chase is offering a sign-up bonus on all three Southwest personal credit cards:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

No matter which card you pick, as a new applicant you will earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

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TPG values Southwest points at 1.5 cents each, making the 40,000 points worth $600. If you're having trouble deciding which card is right for you, you can check out this guide for a comparison of the three options.

Before we dive into credit scores, there are two important restrictions to be aware of. All three of these cards are subject to Chase's 5/24 rule, which means if you've opened 5 or more cards in the last 24 months you'll automatically be rejected — even if your credit score is a perfect 800. In addition, you won't be eligible for this offer if either of the following are true:

  • You currently have any of the Southwest personal credit cards
  • You've received a sign-up bonus on a Southwest personal credit card in the last 24 months

What Score Do I Need?

Assuming neither of the above restrictions apply to you, data from LendingTree suggests you'll need an average score of 670 to get approved for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, while the typical low score is a 607. Credit Karma labels both of these scores as "fair" to "good," and these are much lower than the 736 average score you'd need to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, for example.

It's helpful to remember that an "average" score only tells you so much. With tens or even hundreds of thousands of people holding the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, you're likely to find approved credit scores much higher and much lower than the average. You should also remember that your credit score is only the first of many factors that Chase will look at. If you credit score is on the lower end of this range but you still want to apply for the Southwest Premier card, one thing you can do to boost your odds of approval is build a banking relationship with Chase. If it's your primary bank, and you apply for other cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited to prove you can pay your bills on time, Chase might be more likely to trust you with a Southwest card.

Bottom Line

While there are plenty of exciting credit card offers out there each and every day, not every one will be eligible to apply for all the bonuses they want. We talk a lot about bonus eligibility restrictions, such as Chase's 5/24 rule and Amex's once-per-lifetime policy, but it's equally important to think about whether your credit score is high enough to get approved. Building credit is like a game of shoots and ladders; while each new approval helps boost your payment history and age of accounts, a rejection can set you back.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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