[FINAL WEEK] Southwest Credit Cards Have Gotten Better, With A Biggest-Ever 100,000 Point Offer

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Update: The offers here end at some point before end of day on December 7. So this is last chance.



Southwest Airlines credit cards have been made >better and currently have the biggest initial offer we’ve ever seen for them. Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards are receiving several new features, and their consumer cards all have new 100,000 point initial bonus offers, without taking anything away or raising annual fees.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Earn up to 100,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months. ($69 annual fee)

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Earn up to 100,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months. ($99 annual fee)

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Earn up to 100,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months. ($149 annual fee)

Earning the full bonus requires an average of just $1000 spend on the card per month. I am looking to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card because I’m a semi-regular Southwest Airlines flyer (they’re the largest carrier at my home airport in Austin) so the benefits of the card are worth more than its fee to me. Someone interested primarily in points will likely focus on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card which has the lowest annual fee.

Perfect Timing To Use These Offers For A Companion Pass

The timing for these offers is perfect because applying for a new card now allows you to time the earning of your initial bonus for early in 2022. You can get a huge head start on a Companion Pass which lasts for the rest of the calendar year in which it is earned and for the entire next year.

I earned a Companion Pass in January 2020, that was then valid for all of 2020 and all of 2021. I’m told I was one of the very first to earn it that year. Little did I know I wouldn’t get as much use out of it as I’d hoped (thanks, pandemic) but I’m excited to earn one again.

That’s because the Companion Pass allows you you to bring a second person along with you on your travels – whether your ticket is paid for with cash or with points. You need to earn 125,000 eligible points in 2021 for a pass that will be valid through the end of 2022. And Southwest credit card initial bonuses and points-earning from spend on those cards count towards companion pass.

Details On The Three Southwest Consumer Cards

Southwest has added features to each of its three consumer credit cards from Chase, and made similar changes to its corresponding small business cards. Here’s what you need to know about the three consumer products which have this big up front offer.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. This 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®. Now there’s also no cap on the elite qualifying points you can earn through spend as well (you earn 1500 qualifying points per $10,000 spend, calculated based on billing cycle end days).

    Ongoing category bonus spend includes 3X points on Southwest® purchases; 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare; 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.

    The card provides a $75 Southwest® travel credit each year; 25% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies; and 4 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); and 7,500 anniversary points each year.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card This has the lowest annual fee of the three cards, but still has the same initial bonus offer right now.

    Ongoing category bonus spend: 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare; 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming; 2X points on Southwest purchases.

    You earn 3,000 anniversary points each year, a nice incentive to keep the card. It also comes with 2 EarlyBird Check-In credits each year.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card The mid-tier card of the three has the same initial bonus offer as the other two, it offers a little more value than the base card, but it does feel a bit caught in the middle. It also comes with 2 EarlyBird Check-In credits each year.

    Ongoing bonus category spend: 3X points on Southwest purchases; 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare; 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.

    You earn 6,000 anniversary points each year (after your cardmember anniversary), a nice incentive to keep the card.

Here’s an infographic from Southwest sharing the new features of these cards:

Which Card To Get?

As I say I find the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card to be best, since i’ll use the benefits of the card flying Southwest. The annual travel credit alone makes the net cost to me similar to the lowest annual fee card offered, without even valuing its extra benefits.

However if you’re just looking at points versus annual fee then Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card becomes most attractive.

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.

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 advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. I can see a Southwest credit card having the upper hand on Citibank and Bank of America combined. But, they MIGHT run into some STIFF competition with Chase Marriott Bonvoy and Chase Sapphire credit cards. That’s just my personal opinion.

  2. I’ve tried over 10 times to purchase upgraded boarding with the Priority card and it’s always rejected as a payment method.

    Not a capacity issue (was told I’d get A4).

    Glitch that Southwest can’t/won’t fix, nonsense responses to DOT complaints. CFPB complaint in prices, might be getting somewhere.

  3. I think 2022 will still be a pass on the companion pass for me. My wife’s runs out at the end of this year unless they extend it. The consumer economy is getting worse and it might be 2023 before the mask requirement is removed. After doing a lot of travel lately I’m putting off as much business and leisure (flying) travel as I can until at least late 2022.

  4. I got the Southwest card strictly for flying from LAX to Los Cabos Mexico, a 2:30 hour flight, and they have added a stop over that now makes it a 5 + to 10 + hour flight so they are done in my book

  5. Gary:

    1. do you know when this expires?
    2. is the strategy, apply now, and use the card in december for january settlement?

    thanks!

  6. @ie – apply for the business card at 80K first, THEN the personal card for 100K, send a secure message to Chase asking to make your cycle end date on both cards the 1st of the month, then put all of your spending on the cards between Dec 1 and Jan 1. Bam. Companion pass for two years.

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