(Offers mentioned in this article are no longer available. Clicking on our referral link will take you to the current offers)
All three of the Southwest co-brand credit cards from Chase are currently offering an increased sign up bonus of 75,000 Rapid Rewards points. This is an increase from the 40,000 points offered for the cards previously. To put the bonus in perspective, the Southwest Priority card’s bonus when it launched was 60,000 points, so this is definitely the highest offer we’ve seen recently for these cards.
The bonus is rewarded in two tiers:
- Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
- Plus, earn 35,000 after you spend $5,000 on purchases within your first 6 months of account opening.
If you decide that you want to sign up for any of the Southwest credit cards, we’d appreciate it if you use our link. We receive Southwest points for each referral, and that helps us keep Your Mileage May Vary HQ going strong.
So the difference from the previous offer is that you’ll need to spend $5,000 in six months to receive the full bonus. I know that for some people, spending $5,000 in three months can be a stretch, but spreading that spending over six months is a less daunting task.
While you’ll see many websites saying the reason to get this offer is that the 75,000 points (or actually 80,000 points, since you’ll earn at least 5,000 points for the spending needed to earn the bonus) will put you close to getting the Southwest Companion Pass.
But what if you’re not interested in a companion pass? Are the cards still worth getting for the increased sign up bonus?
Here are the cards that are offering the increased 75,000 point sign-up bonuses:
- Southwest Plus Credit Card ($69 Annual Fee)
- Southwest Premier Credit Card ($99 Annual Fee)
- Southwest Priority Credit Card ($149 Annual Fee)
The links are to our reviews of the cards, if available.
What’s the sign-up bonus worth?
A Southwest point is worth approximately 1.3 cents each. How many points it takes to pay for a ticket is depending on how much that ticket costs. That means you’re able to stretch the value as much as you can if you want to book inexpensive flights, or you’d be able to pay for a more expensive flight because you wouldn’t have to be paying out of pocket for the ticket.
75,000 points are worth $975. That’s a solid sign up bonus and there’s no worrying about if you’re going to be able to find a flight that has award space.
Which card should you sign up for?
The main decision you have to make is which card to get since all of them are offering the same sign-up bonus. I’d think this depends on if you’re planning on keeping the card for the long term or if you’re thinking of getting rid of it in a year or so.
If you fly Southwest on even a semi-regular basis, the Priority card is by far the best choice. For the $149 annual fee, you’ll get 7,500 points after your account anniversary date (which is worth $97), a $75 annual Southwest travel credit, Four upgraded boardings (where available), and 20% back for purchases in-flight wi-fi and drinks. That’s way more value than the $149 fee and this is one card where I think it’s a no-brainer to keep for the long term.
On the other hand, if you just want to get the bonus and don’t want to be worried about the upgraded boarding or travel credit, then you might be best off getting the Southwest Plus card. It has the lowest annual fee and you’ll get the same bonus and earn the same 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases.
Do Southwest points expire?
One of the downsides of Southwest points was that they used to expire in 24-months without qualifying account activity. One of the qualifying activities was using the Southwest credit card, so having one meant that your points wouldn’t expire.
Southwest has changed its policy and Southwest Rapid Rewards points no longer expire.
Are there any other restrictions?
To receive this bonus, Chase puts the following restrictions on applications.
The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products
This card is also subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
Is it worth it to try for a companion pass?
If the companion pass is worth it is a Your Mileage May Vary decision. I go over what the companion pass is and how to get one in this article. Even after getting the 75,000 bonus, you’re going to be 45,000 points short. If you’re able to, you could also get a Southwest Business credit card, and that would give you enough points.
The nice thing about a companion pass is that you can combine the benefits even when paying for a flight on points. That’s how we were able to fly on Southwest for almost two years without paying for a flight.
Now, if you fly solo or you’re only going to have limited opportunity to use the pass while it’s still good, then it might not make sense to make an effort to acquire one. After having one, I felt it was limiting our travel choices to places we could go with Southwest, so I haven’t worried about getting one since.
These increased sign up offers for the personal Southwest co-brand credit cards are only available thru February 18th.
Once again, If you decide that you want to sign up for any of the Southwest credit cards, we’d appreciate it if you use our link.
Since so much of the talk about the offers have been focused around the Companion Pass, I just wanted to highlight that even if you’re not interested in getting a pass, it’s still worthwhile to get one of the cards for the sign-up bonus alone.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary