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If you’re looking to earn a free Companion Pass or build up a substantial base of Southwest Rapid Rewards points, acquiring one or more of the Southwest cards is the fastest way to go about it.
All four cards have similar offers, although the Business version receives a higher signup bonus than its consumer counterparts:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This card has a $69 annual fee.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card – Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This card has a $99 annual fee.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This card has a $149 annual fee.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. This card has a $99 annual fee.
Highlights of Southwest Rapid Rewards
Being a no-frills airline with a revenue-based rewards program, Southwest doesn’t have the same aspirational redemptions as you might have with United or American. But what it lacks in luxury, it makes up for with some of the best rewards in the points and miles world.
While the other major carriers have hauled in billions of dollars last financial year in baggage fees, Southwest has stuck to its ‘Bags fly free®’ motto and maintains its stance of no blackout dates on award redemption's. If you can find a seat on a Southwest flight, you can redeem your Rapid Rewards points for it.
Southwest is also home to one of the crown jewels of collecting points and miles, the Southwest Companion Pass. Allowing you and a companion to fly together for the price of one fare, it’s effectively ‘buy one, get one free’ for you and a travel buddy. At 110,000 Rapid Rewards points or 100 qualifying one-way flights, a Southwest Companion Pass doesn’t come cheap, but any points earned through signing up for the Chase Southwest cards are included as qualifying miles, putting a Companion Pass well within striking distance of most travelers.
Note: All points and qualifying flights towards a Companion Pass must be earned in one calendar year, so timing both the application and when you are going to meet minimum spending requirements and have your bonus points post is essential. A Companion Pass is valid for the year in which it is earned and also the next calendar year, so acquiring it in January will give you almost two years of use as opposed to receiving it in December, in which case you’ll only have it for the following 12/13 months.
The Chase Southwest cards are obviously best suited to travelers that fly Southwest on a regular basis. Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to almost a dozen different transfer partners for redemption across a huge variety of airlines and hotels.
The Southwest cards are all subject to Chase’s strict rules around applying for new credit card products, so ensure you have planned out exactly where these cards fit inside your points and miles strategy before applying.
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