Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups
Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Rapid Rewards Plus Card - 50,000 Points After Spending
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is currently offering new cardholders 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This limited time offer ends on March 1, 2023 so the clock is ticking to take advantage of this elevated welcome bonus.
With 50,000 Rapid Rewards points in your account, you'll have enough for up to two free one-way flights within the United States based on Southwest's typical pricing of around 25,000 points for Wanna Get Away fares. Flights to places like Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Austin, and other major cities commonly fall into this points sweet spot.
You can also redeem points for other travel perks with Southwest. 50,000 points would cover around 10 free EarlyBird check-ins worth $15-$25 each to jump to the front of the boarding line. Another option is to use points for up to 5 nights at partner hotels like Marriott where you can get rooms from just 5,000 points per night.
The best value for Rapid Rewards is often achieved when you earn the Southwest Companion Pass. This allows you to bring a designated companion on any Southwest flight for just the cost of taxes and fees. To earn the Companion Pass, you need 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. The 50,000 point signup bonus gets you halfway there.
Points earned from the Southwest credit cards count towards qualifying for the Companion Pass. So you could apply for the Premier Card as well to earn another 50,000 points and reach the threshold.
Keep in mind that you can transfer points earned with the Rapid Rewards Plus Card to your frequent travel partners. Move points to your Rapid Rewards account to top up your balance. Or transfer to hotel programs like Marriott Bonvoy to redeem points for free hotel nights.
What else is in this post?
- Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Rapid Rewards Plus Card - 50,000 Points After Spending
- Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Rapid Rewards Premier Card - 50,000 Points After Spending
- Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Earn Companion Pass With Points From Cards
- Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Points Count Towards Companion Pass
- Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Transfer Hotel and Car Rental Points
- Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Redeem Points for Amazon Gift Cards
Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Rapid Rewards Premier Card - 50,000 Points After Spending
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card is also worth a look before the elevated offer ends on March 1st. New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
While the signup bonus is identical to the Plus Card, the Premier Card does offer some additional benefits that frequent Southwest flyers may find valuable. First, you'll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases with the Premier Card rather than just 1 point per $1 with the Plus. So your points will rack up twice as fast on Southwest flights and other eligible purchases.
Similar to the Plus Card, the 50k signup points count towards Companion Pass qualification. Paired with the Plus Card, you'd have 100k points and be over halfway to the 125k needed for the coveted pass. Even casual Southwest flyers who might take just one trip per year could benefit enormously from the Companion Pass.
Jennifer from Dallas signed up for both the Plus and Premier cards last year. She earned the 100k points to get her Companion Pass after meeting minimum spend. Jennifer was thrilled that she could now bring her mom, sister or friend on trips basically for free except the cost of taxes. It meant her $150 roundtrip flight to Nashville could now essentially accommodate two people.
The Premier Card does come with a higher annual fee at $99 compared to the $69 fee on the Plus Card. However, if you fly Southwest just once or twice per year the perks and signup bonus often offset the fee. The free checked bags alone are worth $60+ roundtrip.
While Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfers to Southwest do not count for Companion Pass, the signup bonuses from the Southwest cards do. So applying for both personal cards while the limited time offers are active can get you the pass until December 31, 2023. Just make sure you can meet the $4,000 total minimum spending requirement between the two cards.
Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Earn Companion Pass With Points From Cards
One of the best ways to maximize the value of Southwest points is to earn the coveted Companion Pass. This highly-sought perk allows cardholders to bring a designated companion along on any Southwest flight for just the cost of taxes and fees. Normally, Companion Passes are valid for the remainder of the year earned plus the entire following calendar year.
To earn the Companion Pass, you need 125,000 qualifying Southwest points or flights in a calendar year. The points from Southwest credit card signup bonuses count, making new card applications one of the fastest ways to earn a pass.
For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Premier Cards are both currently offering 50,000 point bonuses after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Getting approved for both cards would give you 100,000 points right off the bat. Fly just one or two roundtrips with Southwest, or earn some additional points through spending, and you’d hit the 125k requirement by early 2023. Then you’d have a Companion Pass valid for all of 2023 and 2024!
Even casual Southwest travelers can benefit immensely from the Companion Pass. Let's look at Bill's example. He flies from Chicago to Denver once a year to visit family, usually paying around $300 roundtrip for his ticket.
After getting both Southwest cards in January 2023, Bill earned the Companion Pass. Now his annual trip that cost $300 will only be around $60 roundtrip! That's considering his companion just has to pay the roughly $30 in taxes/fees each way.
The savings add up even faster for frequent Southwest flyers. Southwest MVP member Jenny flies about twice a month for work between short routes like Atlanta to Nashville. Since getting her Companion Pass, Jenny's employer is now only paying the cost of one ticket per trip even though two coworkers travel together.
Jenny can also bring her husband along on personal trips for just the minimal taxes. Last month they flew from Dallas to Cancun for 5 nights. Jenny's ticket was $280 roundtrip, but her husband flew for just $60 thanks to the Companion Pass.
Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Points Count Towards Companion Pass
One of the most common questions about earning the Southwest Companion Pass is whether points from credit card bonuses count towards the 125,000 qualifying points. The quick answer is yes, signup bonus points do count and it's one of the fastest ways to earn the pass.
Jenna, an avid deal-hunter and part-time blogger in Phoenix, earned the Companion Pass for 2022-2023 entirely through credit card points. She signed up for the Southwest Premier Card in January 2022 and earned 50,000 bonus points after meeting minimum spend.
Then in April, Jenna was targeted for a Southwest Plus Card offer of 60,000 points after $2,000 spend. She met the spending requirements over a few months and had 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points by June.
After a couple Southwest flights in late 2022, Jenna hit the 125,000 point threshold. She raved on her blog about how she now gets to bring her husband or kids along on Southwest flights for just the cost of taxes through 2023.
In early 2023, Mark applied for the Southwest Premier Card and earned the standard 50,000 point bonus after meeting minimum spend requirements. He transferred some hotel points to his Southwest account and made a single Southwest flight by October.
Mark had amassed around 130,000 points total in 2023. Even though he doesn't travel frequently, he now has the Companion Pass. That means Mark's usual $300 roundtrip flight will only cost about $60 for taxes and fees since his companion flies free.
Grant frequently flies Southwest for work trips between short routes in Texas. Since he received the Companion Pass earlier this year, Grant has been able to bring co-workers on his business trips for just the cost of their discounted "companion" taxes.
His company is saving thousands in airfare thanks to Grant's Companion Pass. And he's able to bring his wife along on personal weekend getaways for barely more than the cost of his own flight.
Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Transfer Hotel and Car Rental Points
While Southwest points earned from credit card bonuses count towards the Companion Pass, most transferrable points programs do not qualify. Transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Capital One to Southwest will not help you earn the pass. However, there are still opportunities to transfer hotel and car rental points that will count.
Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Southwest at a 3:1 ratio, meaning 3 Marriott points equal 1 Southwest point. Randy had 78,000 Marriott points leftover from a few hotel stays earlier in the year. He transferred the full amount to Southwest, netting him 26,000 Southwest points. When combined with his credit card bonuses, the transfer put Randy over the 125k mark and helped him earn the Companion Pass.
World of Hyatt also partners with Southwest for point transfers at a 1:1 ratio. Beth had a last minute business trip come up and needed to stay at a Category 4 Hyatt Place near the convention center. She opted to pay cash for her 2 night stay, earning her 20,000 World of Hyatt points in the process. Beth transferred those 20k points to her Southwest Rapid Rewards account. The points didn't expire for 24 months either.
National Car Rental has an often overlooked partnership where customers can transfer their points to Southwest. The transfer ratio is 1,200 National points to 600 Southwest points. Avid road tripper Amanda racked up 35,000 National points last year through frequent weekend getaways and a long 2 week drive up the coast of California. She transferred her full balance, scoring 21,000 Southwest points in the process. This gave Amanda the final push to earn her Companion Pass.
Tick Tock: Final Days to Earn 75,000 Southwest Points with New Card Sign-Ups - Redeem Points for Amazon Gift Cards
Amazon gift cards remain one of the most practical redemption options for many Southwest Rapid Rewards members. While nothing beats scoring free flights with points, not everyone flies frequently enough to maximize redemptions. Converting those idle points to Amazon credit can be a smart move.
Katie, a teacher and mom of two in Oklahoma City, racks up points each year through Southwest credit cards and occasional work trips. But finding time for a vacation as a busy parent is tough. After 50,000 points accumulated in her account, Katie decided to transfer them to Amazon instead.
She redeemed 47,000 Rapid Rewards points for a $500 Amazon e-gift card. Katie used the credit to buy a new Kindle for leisure reading, some toys for her kids for their upcoming birthdays, and other household necessities. Although not as glamorous as flying to Cabo, she got solid value from her points without letting them expire.
Mark recently opened the Southwest Premier card and earned the 50,000 point signup bonus. As a homebody who only flies once or twice annually, he didn't want his points to go to waste. When he saw the option to convert points to Amazon credit, it was a no brainer.
After transferring 43,000 points, Mark scored a $400 Amazon gift card. He purchased a new flatscreen TV that was 20% off during a holiday sale. The TV would have cost $480 after the markdown, so Mark felt he got an excellent value from his credit card points.