Southwest Credit Card Initial Bonus Offers Jumped By 50%

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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.

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. I was JUST approved for the old offer: 40k, is it worth calling them to see if I can qualify for the new offer? Have they historically done that in the past?

  2. Shouldn’t these adverts come with a warning that the clock resets on January 1? So that leaves a little less than 4 months to earn the 110k points you need for the CP, because the counter resets to zero on January 1. Some people might have trouble charging 30k-50k over that time span. So really there is a gamble involved here – do you take the 60k points now or wait until January 1 to apply, when you have more time to earn the points and could potentially get almost 2 years of CP usage?

    We are glad to welcome Gary to Southwest fan base though I recall the days when he never spoke favorably about WN. My guess is that the move to Austin plus the recent addition to the family made the WN CP more attractive. Not to mention flights to Hawaii and Mexico (though I personally would not want to fly 5+ hours in a WN seat)

  3. I thought a person would want to get the points bonuses in Jan 2020 and get the companion pass from 2020 qualifying through early 2022? -2021. Which means that cards should not be acquired until Mid-Octoberish or later.

  4. Is there an expiration date for these offers? Many of us will want the bonus to post after January 1, so the question is will they still be good to apply in November?

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