Chase and Southwest frequently change the sign-up bonuses on the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards between 25,000 and 50,000 points, but they recently bumped both the personal and business cards Premier offers back up to 50,000 points (marketed as 2 Roundtrip Flights after the required spend) after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account. The annual fee is $99, but you get 6,000 anniversary points every year, which are worth about $100, thus negating the annual fee after the first year. The personal Premier card is a Visa Signature card and there are no foreign transaction fees.
Southwest Rapid Rewards cannot be transferred to other frequent flyer or hotel programs and the only partner airline you can redeem on is Airtran, which was acquired by Southwest in 2010. Rapid Rewards is a fixed-value frequent flyer program, which means you can use the points to redeem for any flights (you don’t have to worry about availability or blackout dates), but based on the type of fare (Wanna Get Away, Anytime, Business Select) your points are worth different amounts. You get the most bang for your point when you redeem for Wanna Get Away fares – the 50,000 point sign-up bonus is worth approximately $900 in Wanna Getaway Fares (I recently redeemed Southwest points and got 1.8 cents per point when redeeming for Wanna Get Away fares).
It’s All About The Companion Pass
The kicker is that Chase credit card sign-up bonuses count towards Companion Pass Qualification, which you need 110,000 qualifying miles in a calendar year to get the much coveted Companion Pass status. A single 50,000 point credit card sign-up will get you almost halfway there and if you get the business credit card as well (you can get a personal and business card on the same day) that will essentially get you to full qualification.
I’ve written about the Companion Pass in the past and I truly do think it is one of the most lucrative frequent flyer perks out there, because it allows you to take a companion with you for free (just pay minimal taxes). The fee companion is good whether you pay for a ticket or use points, which is a great benefit because you can rack up over $1,800 in Southwest Wanna Gey Away fares by getting the personal and business versions of this card (read below). Another great aspect is that the pass is good for the year in which you qualify for it and the entire next year. So if you get the pass in March of 2013 it will be good until December of 2014! If you fly Southwest a lot – or even a moderate amount, the Companion Pass can save you thousands of dollars.
Chase generally won’t let you get the sign-up bonus for the same exact card twice, but the good thing is that there are a total of four Southwest credit cards: The Premier personal and Premier Business which have $99 annual fees, but 6,000 anniversary points which are worth $100 in Wanna Get Away fares. The Plus Personal and Plus Business cards have $69 annual fees, but only 3,000 anniversary points which are worth $50 in Wanna Get Away fares. You can access the Premier Business and Plus Personal card 50,000 point offers by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page. The Plus Business link can be found here.
I’m personally not a Southwest flyer because they don’t fly the non-stop transcontinental and international flights that I need, but I know many people who are and love their simple way of doing business. If you ever need to change a ticket there are no fees- you simply move the value of your ticket towards a new ticket. You get two free checked bags and their elite status gives priority boarding and even free WiFi for top-tier elites. Offer Details:
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