New 65K Southwest offers

11

Each of the consumer Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards are now offering increased bonuses awarding 65,000 Rapid Rewards points after $2K in purchases in the first 3 months. While these offers are definitely strong, I’d recommend that anyone interested in a Companion Pass hold off for a few months despite the increased offers.

The Offers & Key Card Details

Card Offer and Details
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Card
65K points
65K points after $2K in purchases in the first 3 months

$69 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card can be great for its new cardmember bonus, but it has limited ongoing value.


Card Type: Visa Signature or Platinum

Base
Travel
Brand

Earning rate: 2X at at participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and rental car partners ⚬ 2X Southwest

Big spend bonus: If you earn 125,000 points in one calendar year, you'll get a companion pass good for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next year.

Noteworthy perks: 3000 bonus points each year upon card renewal.

Card Offer and Details
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
65K points
65K points after $2K in purchases in the first 3 months

$99 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card can be great for its new cardmember bonus, but it has limited ongoing value.


Card Type: Visa Signature or Platinum

Base
Travel
Brand

Earning rate: 2X at at participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and rental car partners ⚬ 2X Southwest

Big spend bonus: If you earn 125,000 points in one calendar year, you'll get a companion pass good for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next year.

Noteworthy perks: 6000 bonus points each year upon card renewal.

Card Offer and Details
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
65K points
65K points after $2K in purchases in the first 3 months

$149 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: Great for frequent Southwest flyers - this card could easily be a long-term keeper.


Card Type: Visa Signature or Platinum

Base
Travel
Brand

Earning rate: 2X at at participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and rental car partners ⚬ 2X Southwest

Big spend bonus: If you earn 125,000 points in one calendar year, you'll get a companion pass good for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next year ⚬ Earn 1,500 TQPs for each $10K in purchases up to $100K

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ 7,500 anniversary points each year ⚬ $75 Southwest annual travel credit ⚬ Four A1-15 boardings every year ⚬ 20% back on in-flight drinks, Wi-Fi, messaging, and movies

Quick Thoughts

Southwest points are worth enough that you should easily get more than $800 worth of flights with whichever card you choose. That’s an excellent return on $2,000 spend. I love having Southwest points on hand for the flexibility of award bookings and because it has been a great airline for Amex airline fee incidentals.

This card is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, so if you have opened 5 or more new consumer card accounts in the past 24 months, you will not be eligible.

Also keep in mind that you are not eligible for a new Southwest consumer card bonus if you currently have a Southwest consumer card or have earned a new welcome bonus on one of them in the past 24 months. You still can get 1 Southwest consumer bonus and 1 Southwest business card bonus, combining points from both toward a Southwest Companion Pass. The pass ordinarily requires you to earn 125,000 points in a calendar year, but Southwest has effectively shortened the path and it will only require earning 100,000 points this year.

However, the timing on these offers is unideal for anyone who is interested in earning a Southwest Companion Pass. That’s because if you were to get one of these personal cards and a business card right now, it would take you at least a couple of months to meet the spend and be awarded the bonus, so your Companion Pass is unlikely to begin before at least July. Once you earn the pass, it is good for the rest of the calendar year in which you earn it and the entire next year, so you’d get less than 18 months of Companion Pass that way.

If you instead wait until after October 1st to open any Southwest cards and then wait to meet the spending requirements for the cards until January (thus earning your intro bonus(es) in January of 2022), you could potentially work it out to earn the 125,000 points necessary in January and thus have a Companion Pass that is valid for all of 2022 and 2023. We of course don’t know what the bonuses will be in October, but I think I’d gamble on that being a better strategy if it were me.

If you are not looking to travel with a companion, these 65K bonuses are pretty solid, but I’m still not sold that now is the time. Late last year, we saw 80K bonuses on the personal cards. The “standard” increased offer has long seemed to have been 60K, so this 65K offer is better than the “normal” increased offer, but not the best.

If now actually is the right time for a Southwest card for you, I strongly believe that the Priority card is the best choice for a frequent Southwest flyer. The card comes with 7,500 points each anniversary (easily worth $100) and a $75 Southwest Airlines credit, making the card a small win before considering that it also offers reimbursement for four A1-A15 boarding positions each year (those are purchased at the airport and cost $30 for the very shortest of the short flights and $40 for all other flights).

Overall, it’s always nice to see an opportunity to earn more points and the return here is worth a lot of Southwest flying for reasonable spend, but the timing is less than perfect.

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