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The latest welcome offers provide enough points to book two round-trip seats to Hawai‘i on Southwest.
The welcome bonus is enough for plenty of free flights and is also a boost toward earning the ultra-valuable Companion Pass.
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Southwest Airlines is out with yet another exciting welcome bonus on all three of its Chase personal credit cards. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card are each offering the chance to earn 65,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Those points are worth anywhere from $900 to $1,300 depending on the flights and fares you redeem them for. They also amount to more than half the number you need to qualify for the ultra-valuable Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, which essentially entitles you to two-for-one tickets for at least a year. Here are the rest of the details on these offers and why you might want to apply for them now.
Despite their similar names, Southwest’s three credit cards are distinct products, and it’s worth distinguishing among them to decide which one might be the best for your travel needs and habits.
All three are offering the same welcome bonus: Earn 65,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the initial three months of opening an account. Now for their differences.
This is Southwest’s starter card, with the lowest annual fee and the fewest perks.
A solid midrange card, this offers more day-of-travel benefits.
The airline’s most premium personal credit card charges a higher annual fee but also confers many more perks.
Choosing among these three options will depend on how much you fly and spend with the airline. If you’re regularly on Southwest flights, consider splurging on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority for those extra travel-focused benefits. If you’re more of an occasional flier, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus will probably do the trick.
While 65,000 Rapid Rewards points represent a considerable sum on their own, it’s also helpful to have some context to see how this particular bonus compares to the other offers these cards have posted recently.
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Until yesterday the three cards were extending the following terms: Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Plus, earn three points per dollar spent on dining purchases including at restaurants, on takeout, and eligible delivery services, in the first year.
Prior to that, all three cards were offering up to 80,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points: 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months from account opening, and an additional 30,000 points after spending a total of $10,000 on purchases within the first nine months. New cardholders could also earn five bonus points per dollar (three more than usual) on Southwest purchases, up to $2,000 per month between December 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021 (so four months total). Eligible Southwest purchases included things like airfare, in-flight amenities, Southwest gift cards, and Southwest Vacations packages.
Finally, back in February and early March, all three cards were offering 30,000 bonus points plus a Companion Pass good through February 28, 2022 (so just under a year for most folks), after spending $5,000 in the first three months.
As you can see, Southwest credit card offers run the gamut. While the one that included a Companion Pass plus bonus points was probably the best one ever available with these cards, the others all included a shifting mix of bonus points and spending requirements.
Compared to those, the current Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card offer has two major factors in its favor. First, it’s offering a significant points haul immediately. And second, you don’t have to spend much or take long to earn the full amount.
Given how bumpy the post-COVID travel rebound has been so far, you might not have considered applying for a new airline credit card recently. However, restrictions are easing across much of the country as the summer holidays approach, and now might be the most opportune moment to open a new Southwest credit card, in particular.
Travel within the United States, and particularly to Hawai‘i, is quickly ramping up to activity beyond even what was available prepandemic. To wit, Southwest recently added three new West Coast gateways (Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix) and 15 new routes to the Aloha State to its schedule, not to mention a slate of new flights and frequencies to beach destinations in Florida and other southeastern states.
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Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth around one-and-a-half to two cents each depending on airfares and the type of ticket you use them to book. So 65,000 Rapid Rewards points can get you a fair bit of time in the air. For instance, they should be enough points to book two round-trip seats between various airports in the western U.S. and the airline’s Hawai‘ian destinations including O‘ahu and Maui this summer and fall based on current airfares.
Over the next few months, 65,000 points would also be enough for five round-trip flights between various East Coast hubs and several cities in Florida, including Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa. And those are just a few of the options.
The final major reason you might want to take advantage of these offers, specifically, is that they can give you a healthy head start toward earning the much-coveted Southwest Companion Pass.
The Companion Pass is basically a two-for-one travel certificate applicable to both paid and reward travel on the airline. Purchase one ticket using cash or points, and you get a second seat on the same flight. You only have to pay taxes and fees on it. You can also change the friend or family member who you designate as your companion up to three times per calendar year, which adds even more flexibility.
To earn the Companion Pass, you must rack up 125,000 qualifying points (those earned on flights as well as with one of these credit cards count, among other options) or 100 one-way flights within a calendar year. The Companion Pass is valid for the calendar year in which you earn it plus the following calendar year. So let’s say you got to the qualification threshold in September; you’d have the final three months of 2021 plus all of 2022 to take advantage of two-for-one travel.
Southwest and Chase have come up with some interesting welcome bonuses for their cobranded credit cards lately. The current promotions are among the best, though, not only because of the number of bonus points you can earn but also because of how simple it is to do so. If you were thinking about traveling on the airline in the coming months, earning a stash of Rapid Rewards points you can redeem for flights will be a handy way of saving. Looking past the immediate rewards, though, consider leveraging these bonuses for a Companion Pass and the year or more of nearly free two-for-one travel it represents.
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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