Southwest Airlines plane at gate and plane taking off in background.
Source: Southwest Airlines

Southwest Invites Top-Tier Members to Priority Pass

While Southwest Airlines does not operate airport lounges, they are trying out a new lounge offering (starting November 22nd) for select top-tier Rapid Rewards members.

This new perk, emailed to selected members, is an exciting move from Southwest and a first from any airline I have seen. Southwest is offering a (1 year) Priority Pass membership to select frequent travelers and up to two guests.

This new lounge trial that Southwest is offering to selected customers will grant access to Priority Pass lounges during departure and connections. Priority Pass lounges are located in many places where Southwest operates. These lounges differ from location to location but usually offer a nice place to relax and get hot food, coffee, bar drinks, showers, watch TV, and more. In addition to lounge access, Priority Pass also provides discounts at airport restaurants, spas, and sometimes other venues.

Top 15 Southwest Airports

  1. Denver, Colorado (DEN) - no Priority Pass lounges
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada (LAS) - 1 lounge
  3. Chicago-Midway, Illinois (MDW) - no Priority Pass lounges
  4. Baltimore, Maryland (BWI) - 1 lounge
  5. Dallas Love Field (DAL) - no Priority Pass lounges
  6. Phoenix, Arizona (PHX) - no Priority Pass lounges
  7. Houston-Hobby, Texas (HOU) - no Priority Pass lounges
  8. Nashville, Tennessee (BNA) - no Priority Pass lounges
  9. Orlando, Florida (MCO) - 3 lounges
  10. St. Louis, Missouri (STL) - 1 lounge
  11. Oakland, California (OAK) - no Priority Pass lounges
  12. Austin, Texas (AUS) - no Priority Pass lounges
  13. San Diego, California (SAN) - 1 lounge
  14. Atlanta, Georgia (ATL) - 1 lounge
  15. San Jose, California (SJC) - 2 lounges

Southwest operates in the Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) airline segment. They charge for priority boarding, onboard internet, and alcohol but don't offer first-class or assigned seating. They also partner with Chase to offer branded credit cards with specific travel perks but no lounge access. Some major carriers, such as American, Delta, and United, offer premium credit cards that include lounge access as an included benefit. Alternatively, you can purchase a Priority Pass membership or get it as an included benefit with some "premium" credit cards, such as American Express Platinum, Capital One Venture X, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and more.

Closing Thoughts

I look forward to seeing how many customers will activate and use this targeted offer. I would be excited to be selected for this opportunity, but I already have a PP membership with my existing credit cards. I have heard others discuss how cool it would be if Southwest opened their own lounges, I agree opening a branded lounge in Dallas (DAL) and Houston (HOU) would be very exciting.