Update: The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit card bonus is now down to 25,0000 points.
Until now, the public offer on the Chase AirTran Visa has been 16 A+ Rewards credits when you spent $1,000 in 3 months and two single-segment business class upgrades with your first purchase.
Now, however, Chase has increased the sign-up bonus on the public offer for the card (this offer was previously available to targeted consumers) to 32 A+ Rewards credits when you spend $2,000 in 3 months as well as two single-segment business class upgrades with your first purchase.
The card’s other features include:
-2 A+ Rewards Credits every year after your cardmember Anniversary.
-2 A+ Rewards Dollars per $1 spent on AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines purchases made directly with the airlines.
-1 A+ Rewards Dollar per $1 spent on all other purchases.
-Annual fee of $69.
Just as a little primer on A+ Rewards Dollars and Credits, each A+ Reard Credit is equal to 1,200 A+ Rewards Dollars. So that 32-credit sign-up bonus is equivalent to spending $19,200 on the airline, or $38,400 on other purchases. AirTran A+ Rewards Credits can be redeemed at a rate of 8 credits for a one-way economy award ticket.
AirTran Credit Card Versus Southwest Credit Card
Although you can apply for two Chase cards at once, this brings up an interesting question: whether to get this card or the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa, which currently has a 50,000-point sign-up bonus – enough for ~$900 in Wanna Get Away fares, and which also comes with other benefits such as 6,000-point anniversary bonuses.
The main difference between these cards – other than the value of the sign-up bonuses and the annual fees (the Southwest card is $99 per year) – is the fact that the points you get from the Southwest card sign-up bonus count toward Southwest’s companion pass, which is one of the best deals out there. AirTran A+ Credits, on the other hand, will not count towards the Southwest companion pass, even if you convert those credits into Southwest points. AirTran also has a companion pass, which requires 100 A+ Credits – the equivalent of spending $60,000 on the airline, or $120,000 on other things on the credit card.
Considering you can get the Southwest companion pass with 110,000 in points in a calendar year – if you got the personal and business cards (for the business card application scroll down to the bottom of the page where you can find the link) at 50,000 points each and $2,000 in spend on each – you’d be almost there, just from the sign-up bonuses.
That said, if you’re an AirTran loyalist, it could make sense to get this card, since this program won’t be around in a year or so once the merger with Southwest is complete and they merge mileage programs. At that time, you could then apply for the Southwest credit cards and earn the bonuses on those. Plus, whereas Southwest’s strength is in its domestic route map, AirTran has some great destinations outside the US including the Caribbean and Mexico so you can take advantage of your new A+ Credits to book some sunny vacations once you hit that minimum spend – and even fly business class using those free upgrades.
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