Just last month, Southwest increased their sign up offer for all three of their personal credit cards. With all three offers, you can earn a pretty generous up to 80,000 points. While this is a great opportunity for those looking to increase their account balance, it also will help you earn the amazing Southwest Companion Pass.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Earn up to 80,000 points — 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, plus an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first 9 months. ($69 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn up to 80,000 points — 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, plus an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first 9 months. ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: Earn up to 80,000 points — 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, plus an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first 9 months. ($149 annual fee)
Earn even more with the Southwest business credit cards
However, if you are eligible for a business credit card, then you can actually earn an even higher offer at the moment. With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card you’ll earn up to 100,000 bonus points — 70,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months, plus an additional 30,000 bonus points after you spend $25,000 on purchases within the first six months. While more points, you are looking at a considerate amount of spend. You can learn more details about the Southwest Performance card here.
This is an even easier way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass for 2021 and 2022 and the method I used last year to earn the pass. (More on the Southwest Companion Pass below).
Credit Card Value
Southwest Rapid Reward points are worth around 1.4 cents per point, which means that you are able to earn between $1,120 and $1,400, depending on the offer.
Rapid Reward points also have no blackout dates so you can use the points whenever you so desire. This is great for families who are locked into those peak dates surrounding school vacation time. Many other airlines, such as American and United, blackout those dates so being able to use points can be quite challenging. With Rapid Reward points, the number of points you redeem on a particular flight is directly tied to the original cost of the flight. A cheaper flight requires less points, while a more expensive flight requires more points.
Southwest Credit Card Differences
With three different personal Southwest credit cards cards, there are bound to be some differences.
The Plus and Premier cards are pretty similar in the benefits with one difference. The Plus card will give you 3,000 Rapid Reward points (~worth $45) on every account anniversary year, where the Premier card will give you 6,000 Rapid Reward points (~worth $90). Although, the Plus card has a lower annual fee.
The card that really differs in its benefits is the Priority card. This card is on the higher end in terms of annual fees, but the benefits really pay for itself.
With the Priority card, you’ll receive $75 in travel credit towards Southwest purchases per year, 7,500 Rapid Reward bonus points annually (~worth $113), four upgraded boarding passes per year and 20% back on your in-flight purchases. In just the first year with the card, that $149 annual fee can be thought of as just $74 (due to the travel credits) and then even less depending on how you use the upgraded boarding passes and in-flight purchases. After the first year, you’ll actually come ahead. The travel credits and bonus Rapid Reward points automatically are worth $188, so after the $149 annual fee, you are ahead by $39. That doesn’t even take into consideration the other perks.
So, which one is better?
If you are looking at just year 1 of being a cardmember, you’ll see that the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card will give the best value during the year. If you look past year 1, you’ll see that the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the best year after year. While this cards has a higher higher annual fee, you should always come out ahead.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
If you’ve been following this blog for awhile you also know that Southwest is by far my favorite airline for a few reasons:
- Flexibility: They will allow you to get a credit or your points back if the flight goes down in price. You can also change or cancel your flight for absolutely no fee. No other airline comes even close to offering these same flexible benefits.
- Southwest Companion Pass: This pass allows a friend or family member to fly with you for almost free on every single flight you take for over a year!
Having the Southwest Companion Pass can save you thousands and thousands of dollars (or points) depending on how many times you fly during the year. The pass expires the year after it is earned on Dec. 31st. So if you were to earn the pass today, it would expire Dec. 31, 2022 — giving you almost two full years with the pass!
If you are not planning on flying over the next year, then hold off on applying for the card and earning the pass. And wait till travel is back in your future. This is not a one-time opportunity to apply for the card.
With the pass, as long as there is a seat available you can book your companion. No route restrictions, no date restrictions, no capacity restrictions. It is one of those no strings attached passes. Domestic routes is $5.60 and international routes can vary. Additionally, even if the first passenger uses points for a free flight, you can still add the companion. The only thing you pay are the taxes and fees, which is the exact same amount if you were to use points.
Earning the Companion Pass with the Credit Card
The best thing about these offers are that the points earned from the credit card sign up currently count towards the Southwest Companion Pass. You typically need to earn 125,000 points within the same calendar year.
This means you can currently apply for the Southwest Performance Business card and after meeting the minimum spend, the companion pass is automatically yours. Or, with the personal cards, you’ll receive a total of 90,000 points once you meet the minimum spend — 80,000 points from the bonus offer, plus 10,000 points from credit card spend by hitting the minimum spend requirement. This means you are then 35,000 points shy of earning the pass. You can earn this amount by flying Southwest, additional credit card spend, using their online shopping portal (which is what I suggest) or crediting partner programs to your Southwest account.
Southwest has also been offering many lucrative promotions to boost the companion points you earn, such as 5x points at select categories on your credit card and a 30% bonus in spend.
Keep in mind though that Chase recently put restrictions in place where you cannot have two Southwest personal cards open at the same time. (You can, however, have two open business cards or one personal and one business card). Also, these cards are subject to Chase’s “5/24” rule.
All Southwest Rapid Reward credit cards are offering excellent welcome bonuses. This is a great way to increase your point balance towards free travel, reap some great bonuses and earn the Southwest Companion Pass. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I am a huge Southwest fan. I’ve also been a proud Southwest Companion Pass holder for 13 years.
With that being said though, my Companion Pass will have to hold for quite some time as I am staying put right now and not traveling due to COVID-19. With that being said, I do have flights booked for this year, and since canceling flights booked with points is so easy (and free), I can make them and always cancel later on if need be.
Learn more about Southwest…
- How Exactly Does Southwest’s EarlyBird Check-In Work?
- Big Change! Changing a Southwest Flight Will Keep Your Fare Refundable!
- Southwest EarlyBird Check-In When Changing and Canceling a Flight
- Southwest’s Early BirdCheck-In: Reasons You Should or Should Not Purchase
- Can I Change a Southwest Flight if I Booked a Roundtrip?
- Changing and Canceling a Southwest Ticket
- Applying a Southwest Voucher to a Future Flight
- If a Southwest Flight Goes Down in Price…
- Using a Southwest Voucher
Learn more about Southwest Companion Pass
- 12 Years with the Southwest Companion Pass… Thousands of Dollars of Free Travel!
- Now That You Have the Southwest Companion Pass for 2019, Extend it Through 2020!
- 10 Tips When Using the Southwest Companion Pass
- Fly to Hawaii 2-for-1 with the Southwest Companion Pass!
- Everything you Want to Know About the Southwest Companion Pass
- You Must TRAVEL By Your Southwest Companion Pass Expiration, Not Just BOOK By
- 7 Mistakes Not to Make to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass
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