Southwest’s three personal credit cards just announced all all-time high offer of up to 100,000 bonus points! This means if you’ve been eyeing this card for the points earned or to get a head start on the amazing Southwest Companion Pass, now is the perfect time to apply.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Earn up to 100,000 points — 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus an additional 50,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases within the first 12 months. ($69 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn up to 100,000 points — 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus an additional 50,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases within the first 12 months. ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: Earn up to 100,000 points — 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus an additional 50,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases within the first 12 months. ($149 annual fee)
Southwest credit card welcome offer value
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.
Since Southwest Rapid Reward points are worth approximately 1.4 cents per point, this makes the welcome offer worth up to $1,400 towards Southwest travel.
Differences between the three Southwest credit cards
With three different personal Southwest credit cards, there are bound to be some differences.
The Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier cards are pretty similar in the benefits with one difference. The Plus card will give you 3,000 Rapid Reward points on every account anniversary year, where the Premier card will give you 6,000 Rapid Reward points. Although, the Plus card has a lower annual fee. Both cards will also give you 25% back on inflight purchases and two Early Bird Check-in credits per year. These credits are a new enhancement to the cards.
The card that really differs in its benefits is the Southwest 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, four upgraded boarding passes per year and 25% 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 around $180, so after the $149 annual fee, you are ahead by about $30. That doesn’t even take into consideration the other perks.
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.
But, if you hold off on earning the pass until early 2022, you can instead have the pass until Dec. 31, 2023 — giving you almost two full years with the pass. And with the current credit card offers, this is extremely do-able. I’ll explain more below.
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 are $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 Southwest Companion Pass with the Southwest credit cards
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, however, earlier this year, Southwest boosted account members with an extra 25,000 qualifying points (as long as you had an account open prior to the new year).
This means you can currently apply for any of the personal Southwest credit cards — including the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card — and after meeting the full minimum spend requirement in 2021, the pass is automatically yours.
However, if you want the pass for the 2022 and 2023 calendar years, you’ll want to wait to meet the minimum spend requirement until at least Jan. 1, 2022. This will allow the points to post to your account in 2022, thus counting towards next years requirement.
Once you spend $2,000, you’ll earn 50,000 points and upon spending $12,000 in total, you’ll earn another 50,000 points. This will give you 100,000 points from the welcome offer, plus another 12,000 points from credit card spend — 112,000 points in total. Since you need 125,000 points, you’ll only be 13,000 points shy of earning the pass. You can earn the remaining 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.
Earn even more with the Southwest business credit cards
Southwest also offers two different business credit cards. Even though Chase won’t allow you to have two Southwest personal cards open at the same time, you can however have two business cards open or one personal and one business. (But keep in mind that all of these cards are subject to Chase’s “5/24” rule).
Combining a business credit card with a personal card will allow you to earn the pass right away. In fact, it can also reduce the minimum spend requirement to earn the pass.
With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card you’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. You can learn more details about the Southwest Performance card here.
This means upon meeting the minimum spend on the first-tier bonus of $2,000 on any three of the personal cards, you’ll earn 50,000 points. Then, after spending $5,000 on the Southwest Performance, you’ll earn another 80,000 points. This will give you 130,000 qualifying points, which is well over the 125,000 point threshold. You won’t need to earn any additional points and you’ll only have spent $7,000 combined on the minimum spend requirement.
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 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 card has a higher annual fee, you should always come out ahead.
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.
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
- 13 Years with the Southwest Companion Pass… Thousands of Dollars of Free Travel!
- 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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