I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
This card has an offer to earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Ongoing earn is 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. You earn 3,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary, a nice incentive to keep the card.
This card has an offer to earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Ongoing earn is 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. You earn 6,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary, a nice incentive to keep the card. This is the premium version of the card which also has no foreign transaction fees.
Why Southwest is Useful
What I like about Southwest is that they have no change fees, you can use your points even to make a speculative booking. It’s always great to have Southwest points around, even if you book mostly international award tickets. You might need a domestic flight to get to the city your international award ticket leaves from. Or book the Southwest flight, and if award availability opens up to include a domestic flight on your other ticket, great, there’s no change fees. Southwest points are great insurance. They don’t have other fees either like checked bag fees or change fees.
I love that Southwest doesn’t charge change fees and doesn’t charge for checked bags. I’ve been flying them a lot more since moving to Austin.
You can always redeem your points for gift cards, too, I find I can always get a minimum of a penny a point in value that way so a 50,000 point signup offer has a floor of $500 in value. Most importantly the points you earn on the card, including its signup bonus, count towards Southwest’s companion pass which is earned after 110,000 eligible points in a year.
You Want to Start on a Companion Pass Now
Arguably the single best benefit in all of travel is the Southwest Companion Pass which is earned after 110,000 points in a year – and credit card points (including signup bonus points) count. Your designated companion can fly with you for just taxes regardless of whether you’re traveling on a paid fare or points. While points transfers from hotel programs no longer counting towards your total, points from credit cards do — both bonuses and ongoing spend.
And now is the perfect time to earn a companion pass, the beginning of the year, since you’ll earn the pass for the remainder of the current year and the entire next year.
The Two Reason to Get a Southwest Card
There are two reasons to get a Southwest card — the signup bonus and spend towards a companion pass. For ongoing spend you’re better off with a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Those cards earn points more quickly (thanks to double and triple points on travel and dining respectively) and their points transfer to Southwest if you wish, or to other miles and points programs.
Chase’s 5/24 rule applies to the Southwest cards as well as Sapphire Preferred and Reserve — so most people should only apply if they haven’t signed up for 5 or more new cards in the last 24 months.