Home Credit Cards Chase Credit Cards Wow! Huge welcome bonuses on all three consumer Southwest credit cards

Wow! Huge welcome bonuses on all three consumer Southwest credit cards


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All three Chase consumer Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards are now offering new card members the chance to earn up to 100,000 bonus points across the first 12 months of card membership. On top of that, all three cards have had a small refresh which sees all three cards offering bonus earnings in select spending categories and two cards offering more points on spending made with Southwest.

What You Need To Know

Southwest offers 3 personal credit cards through its partnership with Chase, and deciding on which Southwest Card is best for you will depend on your travel patterns and what you aim to achieve by applying for the credit card – a card that’s great in the short term may not be quite so good in the long term.

These are the three personal cards that Chase issues:

And here’s an overview of what these three credit cards offer right now:

Earn A Companion Pass

Anyone who can lock in the 100,000 bonus before the end of the year will earn a Companion Pass for the whole of 2022 courtesy of the fact that the points from welcome bonuses count towards the companion pass target and courtesy of the boosts Southwest handed out earlier this year.

A better tactic, however, may be to wait until early in 2022 to trigger the welcome bonus and then after earning a further 25,000 points, enjoying a companion pass for the rest of 2022 and the whole of 2023.

With a little planning and patience, the welcome bonus shared by all three Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards could offer a pathway to a Companion Pass lasting almost two years.

Extra Information

Before I go on to discuss the difference between these cards and who each card is targeted at there are a few generalities that need to be addressed:

  • The bonus points included in the welcome offers on all three Southwest credit cards count towards the Companion Pass earnings target.
  • The points earned by spending on all three Southwest credit cards count towards the Companion Pass earnings target.
  • Based on the value I can easily achieve with Southwest points, I value each point at 1.3 cents each.
  • These cards are not available to current holders of any personal Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, or former holders of any personal Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to holders of Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Best For

  • Travelers focused primarily on earning bonus points towards a Companion Pass with the lowest cash outlay.

Welcome Offer

By my valuation, the 100,000 bonus points from the welcome offer are worth $1,300 and that’s more than enough for multiple short-haul flights or even a longer trip to somewhere like Hawaii.

Also, as all the Southwest personal cards are currently promoting the same welcome offer, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card is currently the best card for anyone whose primary aim is to maximize the number of points they can earn towards a Southwest Companion pass.

Earnings

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card continues to offer cardholders 2 points per dollar for spending with Southwest but it also now offers cardholders the following earning rates too:

  • 2 points/dollar for spending on local transit and commuting (this includes rideshare services like Uber and Lyft)
  • 2 points/dollar for spending on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming*

*Per Chase: Only subscriptions paid for or purchases made with the following select merchants will qualify for this category: Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube TV.

New Benefits Added (October 2021)

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card just got a little bit more valuable and cheaper to hold thanks to the fact that the card now offers cardholders 2 free EarlyBird check-ins every year (they have to be purchased with the card and the cost will be rebated) and now also gives cardholders 25% off the in-flight purchases of drinks and Wi-Fi.

Annual Points Bonus

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card offers cardholders 3,000 bonus points on their card anniversary. At 1.3 cents/point, that’s a bonus equal to $39 or 56.5% of the annual fee.

It’s incredibly easy to use Southwest Rapid Rewards points as they can be applied to most fares so the points from the annual anniversary bonus can be considered to be a genuine rebate.

In Summary

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card is the cheapest Southwest card on the market and is perfect for travelers looking to maximize their points haul towards earning a Companion Pass while paying a low annual fee – the 100,000 points from the welcome offer along will get a cardholder most of the way to a Companion Pass.

For travelers who are comfortable redeeming Southwest Rapid Rewards points and who would also like to be able to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points when traveling abroad, the next card up will probably be a better fit.

Find out how to apply


The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Best For

  • Travelers who want to earn Southwest points at home and spending abroad while paying the lowest annual fee they can.
  • Travelers focused on earning bonus points towards a Companion Pass

Welcome Offer

By my valuation, the 100,000 bonus points from the welcome offer on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card are worth $1,300 and that’s more than enough for multiple short-haul flights or even a longer trip to somewhere like Hawaii.

Earnings

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card now offers cardholders 3 points per dollar for spending with Southwest (up from 2 points/dollar) and it now also offers cardholders the following earning rates too:

  • 2 points/dollar for spending on local transit and commuting (this includes rideshare services like Uber and Lyft)
  • 2 points/dollar for spending on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming*

*Per Chase: Only subscriptions paid for or purchases made with the following select merchants will qualify for this category: Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube TV.

New Benefits Added (October 2021)

Just like the Plus Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card just saw a couple of new benefits added that made it a little bit more valuable and cheaper to hold. Cardholders now get 2 free EarlyBird check-ins every year (they have to be purchased with the card and the cost will be rebated) and also get 25% off the in-flight purchases of drinks and Wi-Fi.

Annual Points Bonus

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card offers cardholders 6,000 bonus points on their card anniversary. At 1.3 cents/point, that’s a bonus equal to $78 or 78.8% of the annual fee and that makes this card a lot more valuable. It even makes it (net) cheaper than the Plus card.

As it’s so incredibly easy to redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards points, this card effectively costs just ~$21/year to hold ($99 less $78) and that doesn’t even take into consideration the value that a cardholder will get from the 25% discount that this card now offers on inflight drinks and Wi-Fi purchases.

In Summary

If you’re not a very frequent flyer with Southwest but are comfortable redeeming Rapid Rewards points and would like to be able to earn points when traveling abroad (as well as at home) this is probably the card for you.

The bonus points that the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card offers every card anniversary combined with the savings that it offers on inflight Wi-Fi and drinks make this an incredibly cheap card to have in your wallet.

If you’re not a particularly frequent flyer with Southwest this card will probably offer you the best value.

Find out how to apply


The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

Best For

  • Southwest frequent flyers

Welcome Offer

By my valuation, the 100,000 bonus points from the welcome offer on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card are worth $1,300 and that’s more than enough for multiple short-haul flights or even a longer trip to somewhere like Hawaii.

Earnings

Just like the Southwest Premier Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card now offers cardholders 3 points per dollar for spending with Southwest (up from 2 points/dollar) as well as the following new earning rates:

  • 2 points/dollar for spending on local transit and commuting (this includes rideshare services like Uber and Lyft)
  • 2 points/dollar for spending on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming*

*Per Chase: Only subscriptions paid for or purchases made with the following select merchants will qualify for this category: Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube TV.

Annual Points Bonus

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card offers cardholders 7,500 bonus points on their card anniversary. At 1.3 cents/point (my valuation based on the value that I feel that I can get out of Rapid Rewards points without too much trouble), that’s a bonus equal to $97.50 or 65.4% of the annual fee.

As it’s so easy to redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards points, this card effectively costs ~$51.50/year to hold ($149 less $97.50) but that’s not where this card’s savings end.

This Is The Southwest Card That Can Pay For Itself

If you travel with Southwest with any degree of frequency (or plan to), the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card should pay for itself and you won’t need to do anything tricky to earn back the annual fee…and more.

Every year this card offers the following:

  • 7,500 anniversary points worth $97.50
  • Up to $75 in Southwest statement credits
  • Four upgraded boardings worth a minimum of $30 each

That’s a total value of $292.50 from a card that costs $149/year to hold and I haven’t even factored in the 25% discount (up from 20%) that the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card now offers on all in-flight drink and Wi-Fi purchases, or the value of the points that you’ll earn from using this card when you spend.

In Summary

If you fly (or intend to fly) with Southwest with any kind of frequency, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card is the best personal Southwest co-branded card for you to hold and, right now, it’s offering a fantastic 100,000 points welcome bonus just to make things even better.

Even if we ignore the value of the welcome bonus, the statement credits and upgraded boardings should be more than enough to offset the card’s annual fee so when you also add in all the other savings this card offers the value it offers becomes obvious.

Find out how to apply


For Completeness

I have deliberately not discussed the fact that the Priority Card and the Premier Card also both offer 1,500 Tier-Qualifying points for every $10,000 spent (up to a maximum spending limit of $100,000) as I don’t see this as being a key factor in deciding which card is best (and for whom). Also, this is, at best, only going to be of interest to a very small number of people who are willing to put a lot of spending on their Southwest credit cards.

Bottom Line

There’s a personal Southwest credit card for everyone in this range and with a great 100,000 point welcome bonus on each card, and with all cards now offering enhanced earings in key spending categories and with two cards now also offering 3 points per dollar for Southwest spending, there’s a lot to like about the refreshed Southwest Rapid Rewards Cards.

For frequent flyers, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card will almost certainly be the best option, novices and travelers primarily focused on earning points towards a Companion Pass may prefer the low annual fee of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card, while more seasoned travelers who don’t use Southwest all that often may prefer the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card.

Which card will you apply for?

A Fantastic No Annual Fee Card

The Freedom Flex Credit Card is a no annual fee card from Chase and although it was only released in September last year, it has quickly become a “must-have” credit card for fans of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. Fantastic earning rates, useful benefits, and no annual fee is always a winning combination.

Some Of The Great Earning Rates & Benefits:

  • 5% cash back (or 5 points/dollar) on:
    • Up to $12,000 of grocery store spending in the first 12 months of opening a new account
    • Up to $1,500 of spending in quarterly revolving categories
    • Travel purchased through Chase’s travel portal
    • Lyft rides through March 2022
  • 3% cash back (or 3 points/dollar) on:
    • Dining (includes take-out and delivery)
    • Spending at drugstores
  • 1% cash back (or 1 point/dollar) on spending in all other categories
  • Complimentary cell phone protection

Click for more details on the Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card

Regarding Comments

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