The three Southwest Airlines personal credit cards all have offers to earn 80,000 Rapid Rewards points as an initial bonus.
- Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
- Earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months.
Meet the spending requirement – and it’s modest, just $2000 over 3 months and for the full bonus you have 9 months – and you’ll have a minimum of 90,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
This is the perfect time to get a Southwest credit card, because you can meet the requirements and have the bonus hit at the start of 2021, counting towards a Companion Pass that will last for the entire rest of the year in which it is earned and the full next year. Earn it in, say, February and you have nearly two full years of Companion Pass which a single credit card initial bonus has gotten you most of the way towards.
With the Companion Pass you can bring a second person along with you on your travels. You need to earn 125,000 eligible points in 2021 for a pass that will be valid through the end of 2022.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Now, 90,000 points should cover over $1170 in airfare and taxes. With a companion pass you effectively double the value of points, making the Rapid Rewards you accumulate earning this bonus worth ~$2340.
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.
But the really crucial value comes from Southwest’s companion pass and with these big offers, combined with the reduced requirement, now is the best time to plan for one. The companion pass is the best reason to put spending on a Southwest credit card, and the initial bonus offers for these cards get you much of the way to your goal.
It’s possible to get both a personal and a small business card from Southwest, with the caveat that to get approved for each of these cards you need to have gotten fewer than 5 new cards in the last 24 months.
In pre-Covid times I was flying Southwest a lot more since moving to Austin, where they’re the largest carrier, and I have A-List elite status with them and used the strategy of getting a Southwest credit card at the end of last year to secure a Companion Pass for nearly two years.
Southwest Airlines in Austin
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has the lowest annual fee ($69) and is the one to get if you’re not a regular flyer. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the best card if you’re a regular Southwest flyer — its $149 annual fee brings a $75 travel credit with Southwest and 4 A1-15 upgraded boarding reimbursements per year.