While the Southwest Credit Card offers are great for those looking to increase their Southwest account balance, they also help you earn the amazing Southwest Companion Pass. I personally just applied for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card to not only earn the bonus points, but also to earn the Southwest Companion Pass for 2020 and 2021. This means a friend or family member will be able to fly with me for free (plus taxes/fees) for close to two years! (More on the Southwest Companion Pass below).
- 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)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card: Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. ($199 annual fee)
If you are eligible for a business credit card, those are the ones offering the highest welcome offer at the moment.
Credit Card Value
Southwest Rapid Reward points are worth around 1.4 cents per point, which means that you are able to earn up to $1,190 in free travel (assuming the 70,000 point offer).
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 five different cards, there are bound to be some differences. For starters, there are three personal cards: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card. And there are now two business cards: Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card.
The Plus and Premier (both personal and business) cards are pretty similar in the benefits with one difference. The Plus card will give you 3,000 Rapid Reward points (worth $45) on every account anniversary year, where the Premier card will give you 6,000 Rapid Reward points (worth $90). Although, the Plus card has a lower annual fee.
The card that really differs in its benefits is the Priority card and the brand new Performance card. Both cards are on the higher end in terms of annual fees, but the benefits really pay for itself.
With the Priority card (personal card), you’ll receive $75 in travel credit towards Southwest purchases per year, 7,500 Rapid Reward bonus points annually (worth $113), 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 $188, so after the $149 annual fee, you are ahead by $39. That doesn’t even take into consideration the other perks.
With the Performance card, you are looking at a $199 annual fee, but you’ll receive 9,000 Rapid Reward bonus points annually (worth $126), four upgraded boarding passes, Global Entry reimbursement and pretty much free WiFi on every Southwest flight you take (capped at 365 reimbursements per year). Depending on how you value the perks, you may or may not come ahead after the annual fee. I just applied for this card, mostly to secure the Southwest Companion Pass, and I will absolutely come out ahead.
For me personally, in just the first year, the Global Entry reimbursement is worth $100 and I spend over $100 a year on Southwest WiFi (Southwest charges $8 per day per device). This means I am at least even to the annual fee paid, if not ahead. And that doesn’t take into consideration the value of the upgraded boarding passes. After the first year, I am still coming out ahead. Global Entry is only reimbursed once every four years, but I am not receiving the bonus Rapid Reward points. Assuming I still spend at least $100 on WiFi a year, I am getting over $226 in value, which puts me ahead as again.
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 and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card are the two best year after year. While these two cards have the 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, 2020. However, if you earn the pass On Jan. 1 of 2020, that pass will not expire until Dec. 31, 2021 — giving you almost two full years with the pass!
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 is $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 need 110,000 total points within the same calendar year. The points do not roll over and refresh on Jan. 1st of every year.
This means you can currently apply for either a personal or business card and come very close to earning the pass, or even automatically earn the pass if you are able to meet the entire minimum spend quickly. Or, you can potentially apply for two cards, one personal and one business) and earn the pass right away. The Math: 40,000 points from the personal card + 70,000 points from the business card = 110,000 points (and the pass is yours). If you are looking to earn the pass for 2020 and 2021, you’ll want to make sure to not meet the minimum spend until Jan. 1, 2020 since you want the points to post in 2020 and not 2019.
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). Keep in mind that these cards are subject to Chase’s “5/24” rule.
All five Southwest Rapid Reward credit cards are offering excellent welcome bonuses. It is a great way to increase your point balance and travel for free, 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 11 years.
Learn more about Southwest…
- Southwest Matching to A-List Status, Again!
- 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
- 11 Years with the Southwest Companion Pass… Thousands of Dollars of Free Travel!
- Now That You Have the Southwest Companion Pass for 2019, Extend it Through 2020!
- Earn the Southwest Companion Pass for 2 Years the Old Fashion Way
- 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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