Southwest credit cards with increased 65,000 sign up bonuses

Southwest has just increased the sign-up bonuses for all 3 of their consumer credit cards to 65,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months.  The cards normally have a 40k sign-up bonus, so this marks a significant increase.  Southwest Rapid Rewards can be redeemed for Southwest flights at a rate of around 1.4 cents per point, so the 65k sign-up offer is worth about $910.  Let's take a look at the 3 cards and which may be the best for you.

As you can see, the sign-up bonus is the same for all 3 cards, and the earnings of 2x on Southwest purchases and 1x on all other purchases is also the same.  But given the different annual fees and benefits, it can be difficult to choose which is the best for you based on your spending and flying with Southwest.


Plus Credit Card

The Plus card has the lowest annual fee of $69, which is partially offset by the 3,000-point anniversary bonus (~$42 valuation).  This card is best if you don't plan on keeping the card after the sign-up bonus since it has the lowest annual fee and no other real benefits that you can take advantage of.  On a year-to-year basis, you'd end up paying about $27 to keep the card ($69 minu $42).


Premier Credit Card

The Premier card has an annual fee of $99, which is partially offset by the 6,000-point anniversary bonus (~$82 value).  This card makes more sense for those who travel internationally as it has no foreign exchange transaction fees.  If you fly with Southwest and want to qualify for A-List elite status, then you can also spend your way there partially as this card gets you 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQP) for every $10,000 purchases of up to $100,000 annually (15,000 TQP).  A-List, which includes benefits such as Priority Boarding, Priority check-in and security lane access, 25% earnings bonus, and free same-day standby, requires 35k TQP.  So big spending annually with this card won't get you A-list status, but it could get you closer there if you fly with Southwest frequently.  On a year-to-year basis, you'd end up paying about $17 to keep the card ($99 minus $82)


Priority Credit Card

The Priority card comes with a $149 annual fee, which is partially offset by the 7,500-point anniversary bonus (~$105 value).  This card has all of the benefits of the Premier card along with a $75 Southwest annual travel credit, 4 upgraded boardings per year, and 20% back on inflight drinks and WiFi.  Needless to say, this card is for the Southwest flyer as the upgraded boardings can be very useful in securing a seat with early boarding in positions A1-A15, and the $75 travel credit will be redeemed in its entirety.  On a year-to-year basis, you'd actually be up $31 with this card ($105 + $75 travel credit - $149 annual fee).  So this card could be worth it to hold onto for the long run if you fly with Southwest just a few times a year.


Southwest Companion Pass

Here is where it gets interesting for all the cards.  The coveted Companion Pass is like no other in the industry as it allows another person to fly with you, free of airline charges (does not include taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way) every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight.  You can even use it to fly with your companion to Hawaii.  Normally, the Companion Pass requires 125,000 Rapid Rewards points earned in a calendar year, including points generated from credit card spending and bonuses.  But due to COVID-19, Southwest has lowered the requirement to 100,000 points.  Given that the sign up bonuses would net you at least 67k points, you'd already be over 2/3 the way to earning a Companion Pass that would be good for the rest of the year and through the end of 2021!


Eligibility

These cards are available to you if you do not have a current Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.  However, this restriction doesn't apply to their Business cards, so you can have a Southwest business credit card and a consumer card.

In addition, these cards fall under Chase's dreaded 5/24 rule, which means that you won't be eligible if you've opened 5 or more credit cards with any and all financial institutions over the past 24 months.  One way to check if you're under 5/24 is to check your FICO score at your institution for free, which doesn't result in a hard pull and shows how many credit inquiries have been on your account over the past 2 years.


Bottom line

These are some great sign-up offers from Chase for their co-branded Southwest consumer credit cards.  Though it's definitely not a good time to be flying due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can still be a good time to accrue points that don't expire with the likes of Southwest.  In addition, Southwest has zero cancellation fees period when booking with Rapid Rewards points, so it's essentially risk free award travel as the points will simply be re-deposited into your account without a fee.  And if you've been eyeing that Companion Pass, these cards would get you 2/3 of the way there.  Do you plan on applying for any of the Southwest cards?

From all of us at Flying for Fitness, please stay healthy during this trying time.  We hope you enjoyed this post.  Please consider visiting one of our sponsors by clicking on the advertisements.  Our sponsors pay us for customer visits and help us to keep the lights on.  Thanks!




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