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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.

Offer expired March 9, 2014.

With the Southwest devaluation date looming on March 31, 2014, now’s the time to take a few very important steps to make sure you maximize the program while you still can.

Leverage the current Southwest credit card bonuses as well.
The current sign-up bonuses on the Southwest credit cards end March 5, 2014.

Back in January, Chase relaunched limited-time offers of 50,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points for the Southwest Premier and Plus Visas. The offer is available on both the personal and business version of the Premier and the personal and Business Plus card. To get the full bonus on any of these cards, you must spend $2,000 within 3 months of account opening. These bonus points count towards one of the best travel rewards out there – the Southwest Companion Pass – and now is an ideal time to accrue the 110,000 points you need to get it since it will be good through the rest of 2014 and 2015 meaning you could be flying for half price for nearly two years.

Here are the rest of the details on the Premier card offers:

  • Get 50,000 points for 2 Roundtrip Flights after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $10 not included.
  • Get 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and AirTran Airways® purchases made directly with the airlines and on Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 1,500 Tier points for every $10,000 in purchases up to 15,000 Tier points per calendar year
  • Redeem points for gift cards, car rentals, cruises, hotel stays, and international flights to over 800 Destinations on 50+ global carriers.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee

And here are the Plus card details:

  • Get 50,000 points for 2 Roundtrip Flights after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $10 not included.
  • Get 3,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and AirTran Airways® purchases made directly with the airlines and on Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Redeem points for gift cards, car rentals, cruises, hotel stays, and international flights to over 800 Destinations on 50+ global carriers.
  • $69 annual fee

The difference between the two cards is that 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 in Wanna Get Away fares).

Even if you don’t want the companion pass, 50,000 Rapid Rewards points are worth almost $900 in Wanna Get Away fares, so it is one of the most solid credit card offers on the market if you fly Southwest.

AirTran and Southwest have extended the schedule through October 31.
AirTran and Southwest have extended the schedule through October 31.

Schedule Extended Through October 31

In terms of maximizing the program, there’s a bit of good news for Southwest flyers, which is that the Southwest and AirTran’s schedule has been extended through October 31, 2014, so you can book flights for another 7 months at the current Rapid Rewards Wanna Get Away rates (60 points per $1 instead of the post-devaluation 70 points per $1). Just keep in mind that if you book your flights now, if you change them after March 31, you’ll have to rebook at the post-devaluation rates.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 5.34.25 PM
Southwest’s schedule now goes through October 31.

However, there’s really no risk to doing so – except that you have your points in play rather than sitting in your account – since you can always cancel your Southwest ticket at no cost (as long as you do so at least 10 minutes before the flight) and the points will just be redeposited in your account, so you won’t be penalized. Remember, Southwest is also launching several new international routes.

NewInternational_July1

Beginning July 1, 2014, the airline will start offering flights to Aruba, the Bahamas and Jamaica. The new routes will be:

  • Atlanta to Aruba and Montego Bay
  • Baltimore/Washington to Aruba, Nassau, and (twice daily) Montego Bay
  • Orlando to Aruba (Saturday only), and Montego Bay

Beginning August 10, it will offer flights to Cancun from Atlanta, Baltimore and Milwaukee; to Cabo from SNA (Santa Ana); and from Atlanta to Nassau. Then beginning in October, flights will launch from Denver to Cancun and Cabo.

And these flights are already bookable, like this one from Baltimore to Aruba in September:

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 5.46.32 PMSo if you have an idea of what trips you’ll be taking through October and were interested in using your Southwest points, I would book, even speculatively, and lock in Wanna Get Away fares at the current rates.

For more information, check out these posts:

Maximize Monday: Southwest Companion Pass FAQ And Strategies
Top 11 Ways To Top Up Your Account For The Southwest Companion Pass
Southwest Points vs. Southwest Credits: When Transferring Makes Sense and How to Check Availability
Can I Get Two Southwest Cards In One Day To Qualify For A Companion Pass
Top 10 Southwest Destinations To Book Pre-Devaluation
Can You Book Southwest Tickets and Re-book Post March 31 Devaluation
Southwest Announces New Caribbean and Mexico Routes

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 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.