Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards
Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Earn Up to 75,000 Points with New Southwest Cards
Southwest Airlines is back with an elevated welcome bonus on their co-branded credit cards from Chase Bank. For a limited time, new cardholders can earn up to 75,000 Rapid Rewards points by signing up for either the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card. This signup bonus can help you earn points towards free flights and other redemptions much faster.
Typically, the welcome bonuses on these cards are in the 40,000 - 50,000 point range. By boosting it to 75,000 points, Southwest and Chase are giving new applicants a great reason to take advantage now. Even those who may have had one of these cards before could be eligible for the bonus if it's been long enough since their last cardmember bonus.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is offering 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. The Premier Card ups the ante to 75,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. So depending on your spending habits, the Plus Card may be the easier path to quick points.
No matter which card you choose, those 50,000 - 75,000 points are worth a lot towards Southwest flights. You'd usually need to spend between $5,000 - $7,500 on airfare to earn that many points just through regular Southwest travel. This signup bonus gives you a huge head start.
The bonus points also count towards qualifying for the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. Earning 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year earns you this amazing perk which allows you to add a designated companion to your Southwest itineraries for just the cost of taxes and fees. The signup bonus gets you more than halfway to the Companion Pass with just one credit card application.
What else is in this post?
- Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Earn Up to 75,000 Points with New Southwest Cards
- Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Limited Time Elevated Welcome Bonus
- Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Two Southwest Credit Cards to Choose From
- Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Earn Points Towards Companion Pass
- Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Transfer Points to Rapid Rewards Partners
- Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Redeem for Flights, Hotels, Car Rentals
- Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Additional Cardholder Benefits
Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Limited Time Elevated Welcome Bonus
The recently announced limited time elevated welcome bonuses on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Premier credit cards make now an ideal time to apply. With many folks tightening their budgets in response to economic conditions, racking up points for free flights is more valuable than ever.
Southwest doesn't offer these supersized bonuses often. Usually new applicants receive 40,000 to 50,000 points for meeting minimum spend requirements. Boosting that up to 50,000 on the Plus and a whopping 75,000 on the Premier really sweetens the deal.
Avid travelers understand that signup bonuses are the fastest way to accumulate a chunk of points quickly. You'd have to spend between $5,000-$7,500 on Southwest flights just through everyday travel to earn the same number of points normally.
The limited time 75,000 point bonus on the Premier Card is one of the highest offers we've ever seen from Southwest. It presents an opportunity to jumpstart your account balance right off the bat.
Even if you're not quite ready to shell out $5,000 in the first three months, the 50,000 point bonus on the Plus Card is still darn good. The lower $2,000 minimum spend makes it more accessible too.
I always say strike while the iron is hot with these elevated bonuses. Southwest may dial it back to 40k or 50k in a few months. And you usually have to wait at least 24 months before qualifying for the signup bonus again if you’ve had one of these cards before.
The bonuses also count towards the 125,000 points needed to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. This lets you bring a designated companion along on both paid and award flights for just the cost of taxes and fees. With the Companion Pass, every booking becomes a 2-for-1 deal.
Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Two Southwest Credit Cards to Choose From
Southwest and Chase issue two different Southwest credit cards, so you'll need to decide which one makes the most sense for your situation. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is the lower annual fee option at $69 per year. But it comes with fewer perks and a lower signup bonus. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card has a $99 annual fee but better benefits and the highest 75,000 point welcome offer.
For many, the Plus will be the better fit. The lower annual fee is easier to swallow long-term. And the 50,000 point signup bonus after $2,000 in spend is still solid. You earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. While the signup bonus counts towards the Companion Pass, ongoing spending unfortunately does not.
Where the Plus card shines is the included benefits. You get up to two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year, which is key for snagging the all-important A1-15 boarding positions on Southwest. This perk alone can be worth $50+ per flight. There are also no foreign transaction fees, and you earn anniversary points each cardmember year.
For frequent Southwest flyers, the Premier Card may make more sense despite the higher $99 annual fee. The blockbuster 75,000 point signup bonus after $5,000 in spend is record-breaking. The card earns 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. But unlike the Plus, points earned from ongoing spending do count towards earning the Companion Pass each year.
The Premier also includes priority boarding, up to four upgraded boardings per year, and a $75 Southwest annual travel credit to offset the annual fee. You also get 25% back on in-flight purchases and the same anniversary points offered on the Plus.
Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Earn Points Towards Companion Pass
One of the most valuable perks offered by Southwest is the ability to earn a Companion Pass. This highly coveted benefit allows you to bring a designated companion along on both paid and award flights for just the cost of taxes and fees. It's essentially buy one, get one free travel every time you fly Southwest.
With Southwest's limited-time offers on their co-branded credit cards, you can earn a big chunk of the 125,000 qualifying points needed for a Companion Pass right off the bat. The 50,000 point sign-up bonus on the Plus Card gets you 40% of the way there, while the 75,000 points from the Premier Card signup covers a whopping 60%.
Once you have one of the cards, you can continue earning points from everyday credit card spending to get closer to that magic 125k number. Just be aware that only certain points count towards Companion Pass qualifying points - it's not as simple as adding up your total rewards balance.
For the Plus Card, only the sign-up bonus counts. But with the Premier Card, both the sign-up bonus AND all points earned from spending on the card count towards Companion Status. This makes the Premier Card the faster way to earn a Companion Pass through everyday spending.
But even the points earned through the Plus Card signup can get you halfway to the threshold. From there, you would need 75,000 additional qualifying points from Southwest Rapid Rewards account activity and partner bonuses. Depending on how frequently you fly Southwest, you could earn the remaining points through a combination of paid Southwest flights, transfers from hotel and rental car partners, and promotions.
Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Transfer Points to Rapid Rewards Partners
Southwest makes it easy to boost your Rapid Rewards balance not just by flying, but also by transferring points in from their impressive lineup of travel partners. From hotel programs to rental cars and more, Southwest gives you options to diversify your earnings.
One of my favorite tips for padding out those last few thousand Companion Pass qualifying points is by transferring from hotel partners. Programs like World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, and Best Western Rewards all allow you to move points into Southwest at favorable transfer ratios.
For example, World of Hyatt points transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio - that's an excellent value. So 25,000 Hyatt points would equal 25,000 Southwest points. Marriott Bonvoy also transfers at 1:1, while Best Western Rewards transfers at a rate of 1,200:1,000 - not quite as generous but still solid.
Rental car partners can also help. Both Avis and Hertz allow transfers to Southwest. With Avis, 2,400 Avis points converts to 600 Southwest points. Hertz has a more convoluted transfer ratio of 1,200 Hertz points to 360 Southwest points.
The nice thing with rental car points is they often have super fast expiration clocks, sometimes as short as just 3 months. So transferring them to Southwest keeps them active longer. Just be sure to do so in chunks big enough to be worthwhile - I don't transfer less than 5,000 or so rental car points at a time into Southwest.
Never let points go to waste when you can move them to Southwest and inch closer to the Companion Pass or free flights. Even lesser used programs like Caesars Rewards, which allows transfers at 1,000 Caesars points to 400 Southwest points, are worth checking into if you have an orphaned balance sitting around.
One word of warning - points transferred from partners into Southwest will count towards Companion Pass status only in the calendar year they are received, not the year they are earned. That's a bit different than earning Southwest points organically through credit card spending or flights.
So if you need 25,000 more Companion Pass points in 2021, make sure to transfer partner points in before January 1st hits. Don't fall into the trap of transferring points in January 2022 that were originally with the partner in 2021. They won't count backwards.
Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Redeem for Flights, Hotels, Car Rentals
One of the best aspects of the Southwest Rapid Rewards program is the wide range of redemption options open to members. While most airline loyalty programs restrict redemptions primarily to air travel, Southwest takes a much more generous stance. You can redeem those hard-earned points for any seat, any flight, any time - but that's just the start.
Southwest has also partnered up with popular hotel chains and car rental agencies to give flyers even more redemption possibilities. This diversity of options makes Southwest miles extremely valuable. Even infrequent Southwest passengers can find ways to put points towards vacations, getaways, and everyday travel expenses.
Let's start with the classic option - flights. Southwest has a very user-friendly award chart with dynamic pricing based on the cash fare. You'll redeem between 1,200 and 1,500 Rapid Rewards points for Wanna Get Away fares depending on length of flight, or between 2,400 and 2,800 for more flexible Anytime fares. Taxes and fees are a very reasonable $5.60 per one-way.
One of my favorite tips is to use points for shorter hops then pay cash for longer hauls. For example, a cross-country ticket might be $300, but you could snag a short connecting flight for the 5,000-7,500 points and pay the $300 cash fare on the longer portion. This splits the cost between points and cash.
For hotel stays, Southwest partners with chains like La Quinta, Best Western, Hyatt, Marriott, Wyndham, and IHG. The mileage cost for free nights varies, but I often see solid properties available for between 7,000 and 15,000 Rapid Rewards points per night. Compared to coughing up $150+ cash out of pocket, using Southwest points for hotels is a steal.
Another great option is redeeming for car rentals with partner Avis or Hertz. Rates are very favorable at just 600 points per day for an economy rental with Avis or 1,350 for an intermediate SUV. Compared to paying $50 or more for daily car rental fees, this is an awesome use of Southwest points that travelers don't utilize nearly enough!
The key to maximizing Southwest redemptions across all these categories is transferring points between partners to build up your balance. Marriott, World of Hyatt, and Best Western all transfer points into Southwest at excellent rates. Even your unused rental car points can go towards Southwest redemptions.
So even if you only fly Southwest occasionally but stay at their hotel or rental car partners frequently, you can earn enough for rewards. Being able to redeem across all these travel categories with one program is hugely beneficial compared to airline programs which limit redemptions primarily to airfare.
Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - No Foreign Transaction Fees
One of the worst surprises you can experience when traveling abroad is getting slammed by credit card foreign transaction fees. These pesky charges, typically around 3%, really add up and can spoil the thrill of scoring a great flight deal or hotel rate. Thankfully, both versions of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards skip out on foreign transaction fees - a crucial benefit for globe-trotting cardholders.
Nothing puts a damper on the excitement of an overseas adventure faster than realizing every purchase gets dinged. That €20 lunch in Paris you thought was such a bargain suddenly costs €20.60 after the 3% fee gets tacked on. And the compound effect of piling up foreign transaction charges on multiple purchases daily during a 1-2 week international getaway is staggering.
What I love about the Southwest cards is they make it easy to avoid these fees altogether, since no foreign transaction fees are charged on any purchases. This saves you serious cash, especially when traveling outside the US for extended periods. Just use your Southwest card for all expenses abroad, from meals to hotels to transit and more.
Many folks don't realize that foreign transaction fees apply not only to purchases abroad, but also any foreign-based websites or providers. For example, booking that awesome hotel deal in London on Expedia's UK site would incur foreign transaction fees with most credit cards. But the Southwest card lets you book away without worrying about sneaky charges down the line.
As American travelers return to farther flung destinations after years of limited international travel, having a fee-free card in your wallet is essential. The Southwest cards become even more useful for cruises or resort stays where everything gets billed back to your room. You can run up quite a tab when dining, spa visits, excursions and the hotel stay itself all post at once, amplified by compounding foreign transaction fees. Avoiding those pesky charges keeps more money in your pocket.
Take Flight: Southwest Offering 75,000 Bonus Points on New Credit Cards - Additional Cardholder Benefits
Beyond the marquee perks like anniversary points, Companion Pass qualifying points, and free checked bags, the Southwest cards come with a bundle of other valuable benefits that really optimize your travel experience. As a road warrior who spends more time in airport security lines than my own living room, I appreciate every single perk and amenity that makes travel smoother.
For starters, both cards include trip delay and lost luggage reimbursement coverage. Nothing puts a damper on a getaway faster than a delayed or canceled flight. But trip delay coverage reimburses up to $500 for expenses like hotel, meals, and alternate transportation. Lost luggage coverage provides up to $3,000 reimbursement for essentials if your bags are misrouted or lost.
Another hugely valuable benefit is up to $2,500 in rental car collision damage waiver coverage when you use the Southwest card to book the rental. Declining the rental company's overpriced insurance and relying on the card's coverage instead can save major cash. There are some exclusions though, so read the fine print carefully.
I also love the baggage service guarantee and lost/delayed baggage tracking assistance that comes with both cards. Nothing strikes fear into a frequent flyer's heart quite like the dreaded "baggage carousel of doom" spinning endlessly with no suitcase in sight. But Southwest's baggage support team proactively tracks down missing bags and confirms they are returned promptly.
For big spenders, the Premier Card also packs in up to $75 in annual Southwest travel credits and four Upgraded Boardings per year for snagging those precious A1-15 positions. As anyone who's been stuck in the dreaded C group knows, upgrading your boarding pass is pure gold.