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These limited-time introductory offers on Southwest’s credit cards put the airline’s coveted Companion Pass within easy reach.
The increased 75,000-point welcome offer on Southwest’s personal credit cards disappears by end of day on July 11, 2022.
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As travel returns with a vengeance, Southwest Airlines has been busy expanding its flight routes domestically and internationally. Despite this expansion, high demand for travel, and rising industry costs, Southwest remains unique among U.S. airlines, charging no fees for checked bags or ticket changes.
Beyond its popularity as an air carrier, Southwest is also revered for its suite of cobranded credit cards, which offer travel benefits aplenty while carrying low annual fees. The cards always carry some sort of introductory bonus to sweeten the sign-up deal. But until July 11, 2022, introductory offers on Southwest’s three personal cards have been upped to an impressive 75,000 apiece. That’s right, you can earn 75,000 points on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card after spending $5,000 within the first three months of card membership. Here’s why you should consider one of these Southwest credit cards before the limited-time bonus ends.
There are many reasons to be excited over Southwest’s increased welcome offers. First, Southwest Rapid Rewards points are loosely pegged to a dollar value—each point is worth between 1.3 to 1.45 cents when redeemed for the airline’s cheapest “Wanna Get Away” fares. That means that a 75,000 Rapid Rewards points bonus is worth approximately $975–$1,088 on Southwest flights. Cha-ching!
Second, great travel benefits are bundled into Southwest’s cards. Depending on the card, benefits may include bonus points for eligible spending in select categories, passes for complimentary EarlyBird Check-In on Southwest flights (pending availability), and annual fee credits for Rapid Rewards points transfers.
Third, hefty intro bonuses make it easier to earn Southwest’s ultra-valuable Companion Pass, which is essentially a voucher good for unlimited two-for-one travel on both paid and award tickets on Southwest Airlines. Earning a Companion Pass typically requires 100 qualifying one-way flight segments or amassing 125,000 qualifying points. Luckily, welcome bonuses count as qualifying points, presenting an almost too-good-to-be-true fast track. In fact, if you double-down on Southwest credit cards, with a personal card under the current, limited-time offer and a Southwest business credit card, you could quickly land Southwest’s coveted Companion Pass for the rest of 2022 and keep it through all of 2023.
Southwest Rapid Rewards offers a total of five credit cards, each beginning with a “P”: Plus, Premier, Priority, Premier Business, and Performance Business. Confusing, we know, but well worth getting to know each, starting with the three personal credit cards—Plus, Premiere, and Priority. These are the ones with increased introductory offers, almost double the usual amount of 40,000 points.
The difference between each “P” lies in the annual fee and package of benefits. All three personal cards award two points per dollar spent on local transit and commuting purchases (including rideshares), internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases. Additionally, all three personal cards have the exact same welcome offer to earn up to 75,000 points. You’ll earn 75,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
On the other hand, the three cards grant different earnings on Southwest Airlines purchases and promise different annual benefits such as account anniversary bonuses. Below are the three personal cards with the most pertinent information and benefits.
With the lowest annual fee, this rewards card still packs in the points.
A higher-end version with a higher annual fee and better benefits.
This is the most premium personal credit card Southwest offers, with some additional benefits to match.
Besides these three personal credit cards, Southwest also has two business credit cards, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card and Southwest® Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, each with significant introductory bonuses and benefits. If you have an enterprise—big or small—you can apply for a business credit card. While you can’t have two different personal cards or two different business cards, the same individual can have both a personal and a business card.
Thanks to hefty limited-time welcome offers on personal cards, now is a great time to apply for Southwest credit cards. With the current bonuses, any personal card is a smart choice. Which one you choose depends on how much you value the earnings structure and primary benefits versus the annual fee. We do like the higher-end Priority card for its numerous perks and credits, but for most it makes sense to start with the Plus card, which carries a nominal $69 annual fee but still yields $975–$1,088 in value on Southwest flights after earning the 75,000 Rapid Rewards points bonus. That’s a pretty amazing rate of return!
If you want to go even further with your new Southwest miles, consider aiming for Southwest’s coveted Companion Pass. The timing of high introductory offers on personal cards and the current bonuses on business cards places this pass, essentially a free ticket for a travel companion on every flight, within easy reach. Combined welcome offers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card amount to more than the 125,000 points needed to land Southwest’s Companion Pass for the rest of 2022 and all of 2023. (And to think, you get all that for just $168 in annual fees—$69 from the personal Plus and $99 from Premier Business Credit Card.) Just remember that this fast track to a Companion Pass and the 75,000-bonus on personal cards ends July 11, 2022.
This article was originally published in 2020; it was updated in 2021, May 2022, and again on July 6, 2022, with new information.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.
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