Southwest’s three personal credit cards are unfortunately offering an inferior sign-up bonus to what we’ve seen in the past, but if you’re looking to apply for the card now — or get a head start on the amazing Southwest Companion Pass — here are the current offers.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. ($69 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. ($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 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 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
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, 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 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.
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, 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 around $180, so after the $149 annual fee, you are ahead by about $30. 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 card has a 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 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 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, 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 the Southwest Performance Business card and after meeting the minimum spend you’ll end up with 85,000 points — just 15,000 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.
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.
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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