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Update: The 50,000 point Southwest offers have expired. View the current offer for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards here.

TPG reader Kristen asks:

I’ve had the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card for several years now and am looking to open up some new credit cards. I’ve read about the Southwest Companion Pass and think it would be great for my family since we frequently fly Southwest Airlines. Do bonus points for a new Southwest credit card count toward reaching the 110,000-point qualifying mark for the Companion Pass?”

Good news!  Although there is some text that says promotions and credit card sign up bonuses won’t count towards the Companion Pass qualification, that is absolutely not true and I know hundreds of TPG readers have gotten the pass with sign up offer points.

Chase has been offering 50,000 points on the Southwest Visa personal and business products for a couple weeks now but the offers will end August 6, 2013. To get the 50,000 points you need to spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account and there is a $99 fee on the Premier card and $69 fee on the Plus card. The Premier comes with 6,000 points every anniversary (~$108 in Wanna Get Away Fares) and the Plus gets 3,000 ($54).

I think the best route for you to take is to open up a personal card if you are eligible to do so. The key here is that you cannot get the same card that you already have. If you’ve had the personal Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card for years, you can not apply for that card and get the bonus again but you can get the bonuses the for personal Southwest Premier card as well as the business versions of the Southwest Plus and Premier cards. Chase allows you to get the sign-up bonus on each of their individual products, but they set a credit limit for you as a consumer so if you’ve reached that limit you may have to do some trading of other accounts to open up the new credit line.

The companion pass is valid for the remainder of the year plus the following year.
The companion pass is valid for the remainder of the year plus the following year.

The Companion Pass is incredible because once you hit the 110,000 points (or fly 100 one-way flights within a calendar year) you can designate a companion that flies for free (just pay 9/11 taxes) on any flight that you are on – even if you use points for your ticket. This benefit can save you serious amount of money and the best part is that there is no award “availability” on Southwest – if there’s a ticket for sale in the same ticket fare that you purchase/used points for, then your companion can fly as well for free.

Transferring to Southwest can be a great deal, especially if you take advantage of their Wanna Get Away offers.
By getting two credit cards, you could earn up to $3,600 worth of travel.

Once you hit the spend requirement of $2,000 in 3 months on each card, you’ll receive the points and automatically earn the Companion Pass. In general if you get the Companion Pass now you’re not technically maximizing it, but you’ll still have it for a year and a half which can save you a ton of money. One sign-up bonus alone is worth about $900 in Wanna Get Away fares, pair that  with the Companion Pass and you’re talking about $1,800 worth of travel for one measly credit card sign ups – a pretty good deal in my book.

For more details on why the Southwest Rapid Rewards program has so many benefits, check this recent Top 10 post. If you have any questions feel free to comment below or tweet me @thepointsguy!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.