Southwest's New Credit Card Offer Will Get You Close to a Companion Pass

Condé Nast Traveler logo

Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. We don’t review or include all companies, or all available products. Moreover, the editorial content on this page was not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are entirely those of Condé Nast Traveler’s editorial team.

Forget flying. The best way to rack up frequent flier miles quickly is to get an airline credit card. There are more choices than ever these days, ranging from solid no-fee starter cards to premium cards with benefits like airport lounge access and refunds for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck applications. The variety is good news for travelers—but it can make picking the right card more difficult, especially as sign-up bonuses, benefits, and even card names change all the time.

It’s hard to know what to pay attention to when opening a new airline credit card. But one moving target that’s always an important factor in is that introductory bonus. And a new Southwest Airlines welcome bonus—one that applies to all three of the airline’s co-branded consumer credit cards—is certainly worth paying attention to. 

New cardmembers can earn up to a total of 80,000 Rapid Rewards points: 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months, and an additional 30,000 points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first nine months. The offer applies to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.

The full 80,000 points is more than half of what you need (125,000 Rapid Rewards points) to earn Southwest’s famous Companion Pass, which is essentially a year-long buddy pass that allow you to buy one flight and get another ticket free (plus taxes). Plus, the points you earn on subsequent purchases made with the card will also count toward the Companion Pass.

As most people plan trips closer to home, this offer is a great opportunity to start building loyalty with the ultra-flexible domestic airline. Southwest has never charged fees to change or cancel flights, and Rapid Rewards points never expire. Every flier is allotted two free checked bags as well. The budget airline flies throughout the U.S. and is adding new vacation destinations by the month, like southern Florida or Hilton Head/Savannah, as part of its pandemic strategy. Top destinations in Hawaii, Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean are also included in its route map.

Lastly, Southwest has recently been launching a host of cheap fare sales, with fares between Long Beach, California, and Honolulu as low as 17,000 points one-way; plus fares between Miami and Denver as low as 6,000 points one-way.

Here are the basics on Southwest’s three consumer credit cards:

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Welcome offer: 

Earn 50,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months, and an additional 30,000 points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first nine months. 

Additional perks: 

Cardholders receive 3,000 bonus points after their account anniversary each year. Now until March 31, 2021, the card will earn five points per dollar on Southwest purchases on up to $2,000 spent per month. (After that limited time offer, the card will earn its standard two points per dollar spent on all Southwest purchases.) All other purchases garner one point per dollar. 

Annual fee: $69

Learn more about applying for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card here.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Welcome offer:

Earn 50,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months, and an additional 30,000 points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first nine months. 

Additional perks: 

Cardholders receive 6,000 bonus points after their account anniversary each year. Now until March 31, 2021, the card will earn five points per dollar on Southwest purchases on up to $2,000 spent per month. (After that limited time offer, the card will earn its standard two points per dollar spent on all Southwest purchases.) All other purchases earn one point per dollar. 

Annual fee: $99

Learn more about applying for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card here.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

Welcome offer:

Earn 50,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months, and an additional 30,000 points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first nine months. 

Additional perks:

As Southwest’s more premium card, Priority cardholders get some nice travel perks, like an annual $75 travel credit with the airline and four upgraded boardings per year (when available). They also receive 20 percent back on in-flight cocktail purchases and Wi-Fi purchases. On their account anniversary each year, they’re awarded 7,500 Rapid Rewards points. 

The Priority has the same earning structure as the other cards: Now until March 31, 2021, the card will earn five points per dollar on Southwest purchases on up to $2,000 spent per month. (After that limited time offer, the card will earn its standard two points per dollar spent on all Southwest purchases.) All other purchases earn one point per dollar.

Annual fee: $149

Learn more about applying for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card here.

Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

This story was last published in February 2020. It has since been updated with new information.

More Inspiration from Condé Nast Traveler:

30 Best Travel Gifts Under $50

The Best Gifts for Travelers That Cover Everyone on Your List in 2020

39 Movies That Will Transport You to Paris

Ambassadors Recommend the One Book to Read Before Visiting Their Country

The $20 Travel Accessory That Makes Sitting in Economy Bearable

23 Carry-On Essentials Our Editors Can’t Live Without 

Source: Read Full Article