I know many people were holding out to 2018 to apply for the Southwest credit card and as a new years gift to many, it seems like Southwest has upped the sign up bonus for the two personal cards! While the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Business Premier Card (business version) of the card has been offering a 60,000 point offer for awhile now, the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card and Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card (the two personal cards) are now offering 50,000 points! Up from 40,000 points. While there are 40,000 point links out there, it seems like the only way to earn the increased 50,000 point offer is by signing up through a referral link.
The BEST THING about the offer is that the points earned from the credit card sign up count towards the 110,000 point required for the Southwest Companion Pass. For those new to the Southwest Companion Pass, I want to quickly point out that this pass allows another passenger to fly with you for FREE an UNLIMITED number of times! I’ve gone into detail below about the actual offers, the value of the points earned, and the companion pass overall (which is AMAZING!!!). So you can sign up for one of the personal cards and the business card and off the bat you’ll earn the pass! Or if you are not eligible for the business card, but only the two personal cards that will earn you 100,000 points towards the pass, leaving you with just 10,000 more points to earn.
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card: Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on the card within the first 3 months; $69 annual fee. This card will earn you 3,000 bonus points on your account anniversary. Learn more
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card: Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on the card within the first 3 months; $99 annual fee. This card will earn you 6,000 bonus points on your account anniversary. Learn more
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Business Premier Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first 3 months; $99 annual fee. This card will earn you 6,000 bonus points on your account anniversary. Learn more
**These cards are not available to those that have received a bonus within the past 24 months. However, if you applied for one card recently, you are still eligible to earn the bonus points for another card as they are three separate products. Also keep in mind that the Southwest credit cards are subject to Chase’s “5/24” rule.
What are the Bonus Points Worth?
For those who are new to Southwest, 50,000 points is worth about $700 towards a future “Wanna Getaway” fare. And 60,000 points is worth about $840. While Southwest has a relatively fixed redemption (the higher the fare, the more points), during peak fares you might get a slightly less value when using your points (related post). As mentioned above, there are three versions of the card and you are able to apply for more then one card offer. Remember, the 50,000 or 60,000 points earned from the credit card sign up after meeting the spend requirements count towards reaching companion pass status, which is by far my favorite aspect of the Southwest program. And you do not need to “redeem” your points to earn the pass. You can still use the points you earned towards a free flight!
How to get the Southwest Companion Pass
You need a total of 110,000 Qualifying points and then the companion pass is yours. As mentioned, you get 50,000-60,000 points per credit card offer after meeting the minimum spend requirements – these points DO COUNT towards the companion pass. So if you are approved for two cards, that will give you 100,000-110,000 points plus the minimum spend points earned. If you apply for the two personal cards that will give you 104,000 points (100,000 bonus points + 4,000 for meeting the minimum spend), and only 6,000 points shy of earning the pass!!!You can earn the remaining Qualifying Points with credit card spend, Rapid Reward partners (i.e, Marriott, Avis, Hyatt), and flying Southwest. If you apply for either one of the personal cards plus the business car, that will give you 115,000 points which will automatically get you the pass!
The best part of the pass is that a companion is allowed to fly with you on ANY flight. As long as there is one seat available, you can book your companion a ticket. There are NO restrictions and NO blackout dates. Not only that, even if the main passenger is flying on a free ticket with points, you can still use the companion pass! So that means on your first few flights, you can use the sign up bonus points earned from the credit card PLUS a companion can fly with you. That means you are essentially doubling the value of the sign up bonus!
Some things to keep in mind:
- Once you accrue the necessary 110,000 points to earn the companion pass status, the pass will be available for you the entire year it was earned PLUS the entire following calendar year. So if you earn the pass now, your pass with be active for the rest of 2018 and all of 2019. That means you’ll want to earn the 110,000 points and meet the minimum spend as quickly as possible.
- You cannot combine points between two accounts to count for the companion pass.
- Transferring Chase Ultimate Reward points to Southwest DO NOT count towards the companion pass.
- Transferring hotel points to Southwest DO NOT count towards the companion pass.
- Your companion can fly with you an UNLIMITED number of times during the life of the pass. You can change your companion 3 times per year.
- The only amount your companion pays is the tax which is $5.60 per one-way. International flights are more and depends on where you are flying to/from.
- You CAN use the companion pass when the main passenger is flying on a free ticket!
- Getting the Southwest Companion Pass
- Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Blog Series
- Southwest Rapid Reward Program Blog Series
I’ve personally had the Southwest Companion Pass for over 10 years. Feel free to comment below or email me if you have any questions regarding the credit cards or the pass in general!
Disclosure: This post contains a referral link for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus card. As my goal for you is to travel on a deal, this is one of my personal favorites!