Today, Southwest announced new benefits available immediately for current and new cardholders. New features include extra bonus points in various categories of spend, the uncapped ability to earn A-List status with spend, free EarlyBird Check-Ins, and rebates on in-flight purchases. Additionally, two of the business cards get an innovative new feature: up to $500 per year back when paying to transfer points.
Card Benefits Overview
New Features Explained
- 2X local transit and commuting: All 5 cards now earn 2X on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
- 2X internet, cable, phone, streaming: All 3 personal cards now earn 2X on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
- 3X Southwest: The Southwest Premier Card, Southwest Priority Card, and Southwest Premier Business Card now earn 3X for all Southwest spend.
- 4X Southwest: The Southwest Performance Business Card now earns 4X for all Southwest spend.
Southwest passengers without A-List status or upgraded boarding privileges get their boarding priority based on how early they check in for a flight. One way to ensure getting a decent boarding priority is with EarlyBird Check-Ins. Southwest normally charges $15 to $25 per person for this feature, but with several Southwest cards you’ll now get 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins each year for free. This feature applies to the following cards:
The remaining cards do not get this feature because they already have a better feature: Four upgraded boardings (A1-A15 boarding) per year. This applies to:
25% Back on Inflight Purchases
I think this feature is self explanatory. For some reason the Southwest Performance Business Card doesn’t get this feature, but all of the other cards do.
Earn A-List Status with Spend
Several cards now have the ability to earn tier qualifying points towards A-List status through spend. Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points with each $10K of spend, with no cap (previously there was a $100K cap). A-List status requires earning 35,000 tier qualifying points and A-List Preferred requires 70,000 tier qualifying points.
$500 Fee Credit for Point Transfers
Southwest charges a penny per point to transfer points to another Southwest member. Normally, I’d strongly advise against doing this since the cost wipes out most of the value of the points. Now, though, with either business card, you can get up to $500 per year rebated to your card. That’s 50,000 points per year that you can transfer for free if you have either the Southwest Premier Business Card or the Southwest Performance Business Card.
While improved benefits are always a good thing, it’s hard for me to get excited about most of these improvements. The ability to earn 2X in new bonus categories is downright boring when so many cards offer 3X to 5X earnings in more interesting categories. And you’d have to spend a lot in-flight for the 25% rebate to matter much. That said, I’m sure that cardholders will appreciate the new EarlyBird Checkins. And business cardholders may value the ability to transfer up to 50K points per year to others for free.
Overall, in my opinion, this is a minor net win for everybody. What do you think? Please comment below.
More details about each Southwest card, including current welcome bonuses can be found below:
|Card Offer and Details|