The Southwest Airlines credit card is a lucrative and popular credit card offer that periodically comes with a 50,000 point signup bonus. As recently as May 2016, the Southwest Rewards Program was rated by consumers to be the best airline loyalty program. Get 2 Free Flights with the Southwest Credit Card. The offer is currently available to new card holders! You can also check out our other recommended travel rewards credit card offers…
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Review
Note that are typically two versions of the Southwest credit card that offer the 50,000 point signup bonus. That includes the consumer Premier card, as well as the Premier Business card (links below). Both are incredibly valuable, especially if you’re a frequent domestic traveler. 50k points essentially equals 2 free flights! Note that typically these Southwest credit card products come with a 25,000 Rapid Reward signup bonus, so consumers and business owners should take advantage of the 50k offer while it lasts.
But it’s not just the signup bonus that makes these credit cards worthwhile – you can also ultimately earn a Southwest Companion Pass. While it takes some work to get one, when you eventually do, a companion can fly along with you on all Southwest flights for the rest of the year.
Southwest Premier card benefits don’t stop there. You can also earn 6,000 points on each and every one of your cardmember anniversaries!
Apply for the consumer version: 50k SWA Points with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Apply for the business version: 50k SWA Points with the Southwest Premier Business Credit Card
Southwest Airlines Credit Card Review – Earning and Using Your 50,000 (2 Free Flight) Signup Bonus
The Southwest line of credit cards are all co-branded Visa card products issued by Chase. Note that the two free flight signup bonus is only available to card holders who haven’t received the signup bonus within the past two years. That’s a great deal, given that Southwest flies to a large amount of domestic destinations, and their international destinations are continuing to grow.
In order to receive your 2 free flight signup bonus, card members will need to spend $2,000 within their first three months of card membership.
In addition to your signup bonus, card members are now also offered No Foreign Transaction Fees on any purchases made abroad – thus enhancing the reach of your earning potential.
It’s also worth noting that the both the Business and Consumer versions of the Southwest Airlines Premier Credit Card’s come with a $99 annual fee which is not waived for the first year. This fee will appear on your first billing statement.
Earning Potential With the Southwest Airlines Credit Card
Currently, cardmembers can earn 2 points per dollar spent on all Southwest Airlines related purchases, including in-flight drink purchases.* You can also earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest Hotel Partners, as well as car rental purchases.
What Are Rapid Rewards?
The Rapid Rewards program is Southwest’s longstanding rewards program offered to consumers and small business owners who have a Rapid Rewards loyalty program account. You don’t need to have a Southwest credit card in order to be a Rapid Rewards member – you can also signup for a membership number at the Southwest website. Also keep in mind that points don’t expire!
How Valuable Are Rapid Rewards Points?
Valuable. Southwest doesn’t have the most valuable rewards program, but it does have its perks given that its one of the few where Rapid Rewards members aren’t charged cancellation of change fees on flights. There was a devaluation last year, where one Wanna Get Away fare dollar only required 60 Rapid Reward Points. Today, point valuation is still fairly high, with short-haul one way revenue based reward pricing sometimes as low as 2,500 – 4,800 points. 70 points will net you $1 worth of Wanna Get Away fares.
Rapid Rewards points also count towards the Southwest Companion Pass, arguably the most valuable companion ticketing offer on the credit card market today.
How Can I Earn Rapid Rewards Points?
You’ll earn the most points the fastest when you signup for either the Southwest Premier Credit Card and or the Southwest Business Premier Credit Card. Between the two card offers, you can essentially earn up to 104,000 points – not far off from the 110,000 required to attain the Southwest Companion Pass. You can also accrue points through non-reward flight bookings, hotel partner point transfers, and general point earnings on spend with your new card(s). Small business owners can signup for the two offers in conjunction if they have excellent credit, a sole proprietorship or other legitimate business.
Take a look at the chart below to learn how booking certain fares will earn you different amounts of Rapid Rewards Points.
Getting Your Southwest Companion Pass
You’ll need to accrue 110,000 points within one calendar year in order to attain your Companion Pass. This can be done in the following ways, however the most efficient way to get it quickly would be to apply for both the Consumer and Business versions of the Southwest Premier credit card. If you hit the spend threshold on both products, you’ll have netted yourself 104,000 points. You’ll then need to earn the remaining 6,000 through any of the following, more common methods:
- Pay to fly on Southwest flights
- Transfer points from Southwest Hotel Partners (these are listed below)
- Transfer points from Rental Car partners
- Earn points from your SWA credit cards
- Shop online through Southwest’s Rapid Rewards portal
One of the coolest things about the Southwest Companion Pass is that you can add your companion to tickets purchased with cash, or through award bookings. This makes it one of the most flexible companion options out there! Note that you can only change your registered companion 3 times per calendar year.
One of the most valuable things about the companion perk is that you can include your travel partner with you on any flight you or someone else books. Just ensure that you include their Rapid Rewards number is included on your reservation!
Once it has been acquired, the Companion Pass will expire every year on December 31st. If at all possible, try your best to earn your 110,000 Rapid Reward points for your Companion Pass during the first quarter every year so you have time to make the most of it.
Transfers with Chase Ultimate Rewards
Note that if you’re a Chase Ultimate Rewards member, you can transfer points from the Ultimate Rewards portal online into your Southwest Rapid Rewards account. You’ll need to login to the UR portal and ultimately enter your name and Rapid Rewards member information. Points must be transferred in increments of 1,000, and you’ll need a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus or Chase Ink Bold card in order to have this optionality. Transfers into the Southwest loyalty program also occur instantaneously. Chase Freedom members will not be given the option to transfer points directly.
Hotel Transfer Partners
Southwest allows point transfers to the following hotel partners at varying rates. Conversely, you can transfer points out from the below hotel loyalty programs into your Rapid Rewards account – although you’d be losing a bit of value in doing so.