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Update 9/23/20: The 65K referral offers are still alive despite text that says to apply by Sep 21. In my experience, Chase honors welcome bonuses like these as long as the application is still up and running. We still don’t think this is a great time to sign up for Southwest cards considering the Sapphire Preferred 80K offer and because it’s a bad time to plan for a Companion Pass, but if you’re heart was set on getting one of these now, it looks like you still can. This won’t last, but I do expect we’ll see offers like these return in a few months.
Update 9/15/20: These 65,000 bonus point welcome offers are still available via referral links. Those increased bonuses probably won’t last for much longer, although if you’re under 5/24 and so are able to get one of these cards, getting a Chase Sapphire Preferred card for 80,000 Ultimate Rewards would be a better option seeing as those can be transferred to Southwest if you want (assuming you don’t already have a Sapphire card).
Update 9/10/20: The increased welcome offers will be ending at 5pm on September 14, 2020. That sadly means they’re ending before October 1 which, as mentioned in the original post below, would have been optimal if you were looking to earn a 2021-22 Companion Pass.
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards consumer credit cards are all seeing increased offers, with referrals for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier, and Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority credit cards all yielding excellent bonuses of 65K points after spending $2K in the first 3 months for new cardholders.
The Offers & Key Card Details
For more information on these cards and to find links to apply, see our individual card pages by clicking the card information below.
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The timing on these offers is a bit early for my taste, but depending on how long these offers last they may work out to be worth considering for those looking to earn a 2021-2022 Companion Pass.
To that end, the best strategy for earning a Companion Pass is typically to apply after October 1st and to then hold off on meeting the spend until January 1st (within the 3-month window, but early in the new year) in order to trigger the bonus early in the new year. You could then put together the welcome bonus from a personal card and a business card to earn enough points for a Companion Pass that is valid for the rest of that year and the entire next year.
Of course, this year, Southwest has given all members credit toward the Companion Pass, effectively reducing the requirement to earn the pass to 100K points earned in 2020 to earn a pass that’s good through the end of 2021 (as a reminder, the Companion Pass now requires 125K points earned in a single calendar year, but Southwest has gifted everyone credit for 25K of that in 2020, meaning that you need to earn 100K this year). If you have somehow earned a small bucket of points this year already and these 65K points can put you over the top for a Companion Pass that you’re confident you’ll use a lot in 2021, you might consider applying for one of these cards now.
On the flip side, I think most people would be better off waiting at least a couple of months on these offers. I’d be surprised if Southwest didn’t have some type of increased offer (whether these offers or something even better) heading into the end of this year / beginning of next year. Earlier this year, one of the business cards offered a welcome bonus big enough to earn the companion pass with a single credit card bonus. If travel hasn’t recovered well by the end of this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see enticing offers come back (and keep in mind that we saw offers as high as 75K on the personal cards earlier this year, though those were the highest we’ve ever seen on the Southwest personal cards).
Keep in mind that you can no longer open a Southwest personal card if you currently have any of the Southwest personal cards and/or you have received a welcome bonus on one of the personal cards in the past 24 months. If you have one of the personal cards now or have received the welcome bonus on one within the past 24 months, you won’t be eligible (though you could of course cancel your personal card if you are outside of the 24-month window from earning the bonus and then apply new).
If earning a 2021-2022 Companion Pass is in the cards for you, I’d value that a lot more highly than a 2020-2021 pass given the fact that it’s hard to predict how much you’ll be able to use it this year and we have very little insight into what next year will be like.
If you do consider one of these cards now, I think the Priority Card stands head & shoulders above the others for frequent Southwest flyers. That’s definitely the one I would want to have given the annual $75 Southwest travel credit and four upgraded A1-A15 boarding positions.
For more information on the pass, see our Southwest Companion Pass 2020 Complete Guide.