Increased 60,000 and 80,000 points Southwest credit card sign-up bonuses!

Southwest has just increased their sign-up bonuses for all 3 of their personal cards and both of their business cards.  The Plus, Premier, and Priority versions of their personal cards all earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, an additional 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months of account opening for a total of 60k points.  The Business Premier card will earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, and the Business Performance card nets you a whooping 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months.  Let's take a side by side look at these cards to see which one may be the best for you.

When redeemed for travel, Southwest Rapid Rewards points carry a flat redemption value of about 1.4 cents each, so the 60k sign-up bonus is worth about $840.  For most of you, the biggest glaring difference between the personal cards may be the anniversary points and the annual fee, and the Premier card may appear to carry the best value between the three (6k = $84 for $99 annual fee).  However, when you factor in the $75 annual travel credit and four upgraded boardings per year, the Priority card may be the best for you depending on your travel frequency with Southwest.  The upgraded boardings could be very valuable particularly for longer flights such as San Jose to Hawaii as you could secure a bulkhead or emergency exit seat as you board with positions A1-A15.

Now let's take a look at the business versions of the card.
Proportionally, the Premier card does carry a better value in terms of the difference between the annual fee and the anniversary points (6k = $84 for $99 annual fee vs. 9k = $126 for $199 annual fee).  However, the four upgraded boardings could be worth the difference for you if you value priority boarding and better seating.  But perhaps what I like most about the Performance card are the inflight WiFi credits, with up to 365 WiFi passes a year.  Southwest charges a flat fee of $8 per device on their flights, so this easily gets you unlimited WiFi whenever you're flying with them.  And factoring in the 80k sign-up offer and the $100 Global Entry credit, the Performance card comes out as a clear winner assuming you make several trips with Southwest annually.


So which credit card is the best for you?

This will always depend on how often you fly with Southwest and how much you value seating, priority boarding, WiFi, and even alcoholic beverages.  If you can't live without WiFi or need Global Entry, then the Business Performance is the obvious winner.  If you take just several trips on Southwest a year, then I would say that the Personal Priority card is the best with the annual $75 credit and priority boarding.  If you just want a big sign-up bonus but don't like annual fees, then even the Personal Plus card is a viable option.



Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest's legendary Companion Pass, which allows for a companion to fly with you for free every time you fly, is earned upon hitting 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year.  These credit card offers actually qualify towards the 110k, so if you applied for both a personal and business card and met the sign-up bonus requirements, you would earn the Companion Pass.  The Companion Pass is good through the end of the year following when the 110k points was earned.  So if you hit 110k points by the end of this year, you'd have a Companion Pass good through 12/31/2020.  But if you hit 110k say in January 2020, then you'd be looking at almost 2 years of Companion Pass eligibility through 12/31/2021, which could be easily worth thousands of dollars.


Having said that, you may want to wait a few months before applying for the cards if you want a Companion Pass that is good for nearly 2 years.  But do keep in mind that although the sign-up offers don't appear to have established expiration dates, they are limited-time increased offers and could end at any time.


Eligibility

While there are no restrictions, blackout dates, or capacity controls whatsoever for the Companion Pass, the personal credit card sign-up bonus offers are not available to either current cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, or previous cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this business credit card within the last 24 months.  However, this restriction does not apply to cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card.  The business credit card sign-up offers are a bit more lenient, as they are only not available to either current cardmembers of the same business credit card, or previous cardmembers of the same business credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this business credit card within the last 24 months.

So this means that if you currently have or have received a sign-up bonus with any Southwest Rapid Rewards personal card within the past 24 months, then you'd only be eligible for the business cards.  But if you currently have say the Business Premier card, then you'd be eligible for the Business Priority and any of the personal cards.  Also keep in mind that these cards are under Chase's 5/24 rule, though the business cards won't count against the 5/24 rule.


Bottom line

These are some great sign-up offers for the Southwest credit cards.  With their new routes to Hawaii, you could really leverage some great value out of these cards such as upgraded boarding, free WiFi, and discounted in-flight beverages.  The best credit card for you really depends on your travel preferences and frequency with Southwest, but the sign-up bonuses alone make any of them worth the effort and the annual fee.





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