I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
Chase has just increased the initial bonus offer on their Southwest Airlines credit cards by 50% from 40,000 points to let you earn 60,000 points: earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open.
I value those points at $780, though they should buy you about 1.5 cents apiece in Southwest tickets or roughly $900 in travel.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
This is huge though because it’s more than halfway to earning a companion pass. And the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is probably the best deal in all of travel. After earning 110,000 points in a calendar year from qualifying sources you can bring a companion along on your Southwest Airlines travels. Here’s everything you need to know about earning and using the Companion Pass.
At the beginning of the year Southwest had an initial offer for the card that included earning the Companion Pass through the end of 2019. Some readers will find this offer even better because:
- It’s more points to spend on airfare
- If you have a companion pass the value of those points can be doubled
- Earning the companion pass via points means the companion pass may last longer — earn it in 2019 and it lasts through the end of 2019 and also 2020.
This offer has a higher spend requirement but it’s an easy one to meet because you have 12 months to earn the second part of the bonus.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the premium Southwest Airlines co-brand card really designed for folks who fly Southwest — it makes Southwest travel better, and spending helps earn both A-List status and a companion pass.
The card’s initial bonus lets you earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open. In addition cardmembers receive 7,500 bonus points after their cardmember anniversary.
This $149 annual fee card provides a $75 travel credit with the airline each year; 20% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies; and four upgraded boardings per year when available (when A1-15 boarding positions are offered at the gate, buy it and you’ll receive a statement credit for the charge).
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has an offer to earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open. You earn 3,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary. This card has the lowest annual fee of the three, at $69.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card also has an offer to earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open. You earn 6,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary.
This is the middle-tier card of the three, with a $99 annual fee.
What I like about Southwest is that they have no change fees, you can use your points even to make a speculative booking. It’s always great to have Southwest points around, even if you book mostly international award tickets. You might need a domestic flight to get to the city your international award ticket leaves from. Or book the Southwest flight, and if award availability opens up to include a domestic flight on your other ticket, great, there’s no change fees. Southwest points are great insurance. They don’t have other fees either like checked bag fees or change fees.
I think the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card represents the best overall value for someone who flies Southwest — which someone who has a Companion Pass certainly will. This is a $149 annual fee card that gives you a $75 Southwest travel credit and 7500 additional points at cardmember anniversary — each of which give you value worth at least half the fee.
Then you get 4 upgraded boardings per year – A1-15 boarding, which you purchase at the gate and get statement credit back for and 20% back on Southwest inflight purchases like inflight cocktails and internet.
In fairness the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card comes with the lowest cost.
Chase’s 5/24 limits apply to these cards (have fewer than 5 new cards in the past 24 months in order to be eligible). But if that’s you, a 50% increase in the up front bonus may make you consider these offers.
Of course the biggest bonus offer of all, so definitely worth considering, is the New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card which currently has an initial bonus offer of U>80,000 Rapid Rewards points with $5000 spend within 3 months. That’s more points and less spend to get those points (albeit over a shorter period of time). I believe this New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offer is the deal of the year.