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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

Chase is once again offering increased sign-up bonuses of 50,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points for the Southwest Premier and Plus Visas – both the personal and business version of the Premier and the personal and business Plus cards. To get the full bonus on any of these cards, you must spend $2,000 within 3 months of account opening.

Aside from the value of the sign-up bonuses on their own, these points also count toward the Southwest Companion Pass, which is one of the most valuable travel benefits out there. The timing of these card offers is perfect, since the Companion Pass is valid for the remainder of the year in which you earn it, plus the entire following year. If you were to apply for two of these cards now, and then earn the Companion Pass in January with help from the 100,000 points earned through the sign-up bonuses, your Companion Pass would be valid until the end of 2016!

Chase offers these 50,000 point sign-up bonuses periodically, but you never know if or when they’ll come around, and they usually only last for a few weeks. If the timing isn’t right for you now, my guess is that these offers will come back, but possibly not until later in the spring of 2015.

 

Another option is to transfer your points to 70,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards.
The Southwest Credit Cards are currently offering 50,000 sign-up bonuses.

Even if you don’t want the companion pass, 50,000 Rapid Rewards points are worth almost $715 in Wanna Get Away fares, so it’s one of the most solid credit card offers on the market if you fly Southwest a lot.

There are also some other ways to get the Companion Pass without flying all year on Southwest. For instance, earlier this year I helped my parents leverage Marriott’s Flight + Hotel conversions to get a Companion Pass for them (while booking a hotel stay for myself), using a combination of buying Marriott points at 1.25 cents each and transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points from my Ink Bold and Ink Plus. By earning 360,000 Marriott points, I booked what would have been an otherwise prohibitively expensive week-long award stay at the JW Marriott in Cannes, and got my dad 120,000 Southwest points – enough for the Companion Pass and then some.

So even if you already have all four of these Southwest cards, you still have some options if you think creatively. However, these sign-up bonuses are by far the best, easiest way to rack up Companion Pass qualifying points (and are good offers in general), so if you’ve been considering getting any of the Southwest credit cards, now is a good time.

Check out these posts for more information on maximizing the offer:

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

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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