This Is Your Last Chance to Score a Southwest Credit Card 75,000-Point Bonus

Plus, you can possibly earn a valuable Southwest Companion Pass for all of 2023 and 2024 with these introductory offers ending December 5, 2022.

Looking up at a Southwest Airplane in flight

These limited-time introductory offers on Southwest’s credit cards put the airline’s coveted Companion Pass within easy reach.

Photo by Hairem/Shutterstock

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As of December 2022, Southwest Airlines reaches an impressive 121 airports and more than 11 countries and counting. Despite inflation 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 portfolio of cobranded credit cards, which offer numerous travel benefits while carrying low annual fees. The cards always carry some sort of introductory bonus to sweeten the sign-up deal, typically around the 50,000-point mark. But until December 5, 2022, introductory offers on Southwest’s three personal cards have been upped to an impressive 75,000 points apiece.

You can earn this mega bonus on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card after spending just $3,000 within the first three months of card membership. (Previous promotions with 75,000-point bonuses required a minimum of $5,000 in spending.) Moreover, this increased bonus, when combined with a Southwest business credit card and its current 60,000-points welcome offer, could land you a valuable Southwest Companion Pass for all of 2023 and 2024.

Here, all the reasons you should consider these Southwest credit cards before the current limited-time bonuses end on December 5.

Getting a Southwest credit card for the points and benefits

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. That’s a lot of free flights with a single introductory bonus!

In addition, 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.

Getting Southwest credit cards for a Companion Pass

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. It’s true that earning a Companion Pass will get harder come January 1, 2023, when you’ll need to earn 135,000 Companion Pass qualifying points (versus a previous 125,000) or to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year to qualify.

Thankfully, welcome bonuses will continue to 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 75,000-points offer and a Southwest business credit card with a current 60,000-points welcome offer, you could quickly land Southwest’s coveted Companion Pass for all of 2023 and 2024.

While it’s completely possible and kosher to get both a personal and business card, timing is everything with this little insider trick. You’ll need to acquire the cards now but not reach the spending thresholds until after January 1, 2023, so that the 75,000 bonus on the personal card and the 60,000 bonus on the business card officially hit your Southwest account in 2023. Since the Companion Pass is good in the year it’s earned plus the entirety of the following year, you’ll bank 135,000 from the two welcome bonuses and get a Companion Pass for nearly two years. Travel hacks don’t get any better than that.

The differences between Southwest’s branded credit cards

All of Southwest’s cards are great, but choosing which one(s) comes down to personal preference. There are a total of five credit cards, each beginning with a “P”: Plus, Premier, Priority, Premier Business, and Performance Business. The difference between each “P” lies in the annual fee and package of benefits.

The three personal credit cards—Plus, Premier, and Priority—are the ones with increased introductory offers, almost double the usual amount of 40,000 points.

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 have the exact same welcome offer to earn up to 75,000 points. You’ll earn 75,000 points after spending $3,000 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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

With the lowest annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card still packs in the points.

  • Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $3,000 within the first three months of account opening.
  • Annual fee: $69
  • Earnings on purchases: Earn two points per dollar spent on purchases with Southwest, its hotel and car rental partners, local transit and commuting purchases (including rideshares), internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases. Get one point per dollar on everything else.
  • Primary Southwest benefits: Two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year; an account anniversary bonus of 3,000 points annually

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a higher-end version with a higher annual fee and better benefits.

  • Welcome offer: The bonus and terms are the same as those offered by the Southwest Plus card.
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Earnings on purchases: Same as the Plus card, except three points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases
  • Primary Southwest benefits: Two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year; an account anniversary bonus of 6,000 points annually

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the most premium personal credit card Southwest offers, with some additional benefits to match.

  • Welcome offer: The bonus and terms are the same as those offered with the Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier cards.
  • Annual fee: $149
  • Earnings on purchases: Same as the Southwest Premier card
  • Primary Southwest benefits: Four Upgraded Boardings per year; an account anniversary bonus of 7,500 points annually; an annual $75 Southwest travel credit; 25 percent back on Southwest in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi

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 (60,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months and 80,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months, respectively) and benefits. If you have an enterprise—big or small . . . as in sole proprietor small—you can apply for a business credit card. While you can’t have two different personal cards or two different business cards, you can have both a personal and a business card and follow our aforementioned advice for a coveted Companion Pass.

Which card to choose and why apply now

Thanks to hefty limited-time welcome offers on personal cards, anytime between now and December 5 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. Yet for most, it makes sense to start with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit 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—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 Premier Business Credit Card amount to the 135,000 points needed to land Southwest’s Companion Pass for all of 2023 and 2024.

And to think, you get all that for just $168 in annual fees—$69 from the Plus and $99 from the Premier Business Credit Card. It’s truly a frequent flier’s opportunity of a lifetime.

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.

Paul Rubio is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer. His byline appears in AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, LUXURY, MSN, NerdWallet, Palm Beach Illustrated, Yahoo Lifestyle and more. He has visited 133 countries (and counting) over the past 20 years and won 27 national awards for his writing and photography. When he’s not plotting out his next trip, Paul loves to spend time at home watching reruns of Portlandia and Parks and Recreation with his husband and rescue dog, Camo.
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