Earn 40,000 bonus points with the Southwest Rapid Rewards cards

0
400


Southwest Rapid Rewards cards

The editorial content
below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not
driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you
click on links to products from our partners. Learn
more about our advertising policy

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers.

Although we seem to be in the trenches of the winter season
now, spring break and summer travel are on the horizon. If you’re looking for a
good way to stock up on airline rewards to get closer to a free flight, the
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier cards from
Chase may be your answer. Both cards currently both offer a sign-up bonus of
40,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months of opening your
account.

In addition to their sign-up bonuses, the Southwest cards
offer several other opportunities to earn Rapid Rewards points. Read on to see
how, by combining the sign-up bonus, annual bonus and card referrals, you have
the potential to earn more than 90,000 bonus points in the first year alone –
getting you that much closer to the ultimate perk: the Southwest
companion pass
.

Chase frequently updates the sign-up bonuses for the
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier cards –
teetering between 40,000-point and 60,000-point bonuses. As you can see from
the tables below, the cards have each offered limited-time, 60,000-point
bonuses twice during 2017.








SOUTHWEST PLUS CARD RECENT CHANGES
Change date Sign-up bonus
Oct. 5, 2017 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
Aug. 28, 2017 60,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
June 30, 2017 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
June 1, 2017 60,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
May 4, 2017 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

 








SOUTHWEST PREMIER CARD RECENT CHANGES
Change date Sign-up bonus
Oct. 5, 2017 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
Aug. 28, 2017 60,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
June 30, 2017 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
June 1, 2017 60,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
April 6, 2017 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

While 40,000 bonus points is a generous offer, you can
potentially earn an additional 20,000 bonus points if you sign up for the Plus
or Premier card at the right time. But keep in mind that the 60,000-point bonus
requires cardholders to spend $2,000 in the first three months of card
membership, while the 40,000-point offer only requires $1,000 spend.

Due to the similarities between the Southwest Plus card and
the Southwest Premier card, it may be difficult to tell which card is better
during the first year. As you can see from the following table, the cards share
identical sign-up bonuses and rewards rates.

The biggest difference is the cards’ annual fees.







SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARDS PLUS VERSUS SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARDS PREMIER
  Southwest Plus card
Southwest Plus
Southwest Premier
Southwest Premier
Rewards rate

  • 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases

  • 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
Sign-up bonus 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
Annual fee $69 $99
Estimated earnings in first year ($15,900 spend) $809 $779

So why opt for the Southwest Premier card over the Plus card,
given that the Premier charges an additional $30 per year and the estimated
value of the card in the first year is $30 lower? The main reason is the card’s
annual bonus.

The Premier card offers a 6,000-point bonus each year on
your card member anniversary, while the Plus card offers a 3,000-point annual
bonus. We value each Rapid Rewards point at 1.57 cents – making the Premier
card’s annual bonus worth approximately $94, practically covering the cost of
the card’s annual fee. On the other hand, the Plus card’s annual bonus is
valued at $47.






VALUE OF SOUTHWEST CARDS’ BONUSES
  Southwest Plus card Southwest Premier card
Value of sign-up bonus 40,000 points x 1.57 cents = $628 40,000 points x 1.57 cents = $628
Value of annual bonus 3,000 points x 1.57 cents = $47 6,000 points x 1.57 cents = $94
Total value of first year bonuses $628 + $47 = $675 $628 + $94 = $722

Once you combine the number of points earned from annual
spend – we estimate that the average cardholder spends $15,900 per year – with the
sign-up bonus and annual bonus, minus the annual fee, the Premier card comes
out on top during the first year – by $19 to be exact.





TOTAL FIRST YEAR EARNINGS ($15,900 SPEND + BONUSES – ANNUAL FEES)
Southwest Plus card Southwest Premier card
(Average yearly spend + sign-up bonus + annual bonus) – annual fee = total first year earnings
(($15,900 x 1.57) + (40,000 x 1.57) + (3,000 x 1.57)) – $69 = $856 (($15,900 x 1.57) + (40,000 x 1.57) + (6,000 x 1.57)) – $99 = $873

Keep in mind that, while the sign-up bonuses are only
available during the first three months of card membership, you will continue
to receive the annual bonus each year on your card’s anniversary – allowing the
Premier card to practically pay for itself every year.

The Plus and Premier sign-up bonuses can help get you closer
to a companion pass – easily one of the best features the Southwest cards have
to offer. The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to choose a designated person
to fly free with you each time you purchase or redeem points for a flight. You
will only be responsible for taxes and fees.

The companion pass is valid for the remainder of the year in
which you earn the pass as well as the following full calendar year. To qualify
for a companion pass, you must earn 110,000 points or make 100 one-way flights
within one calendar year.

So, for example, let’s say you are approved for the
Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier cards in January 2018. If you spend the
required $1,000 on each card in the first three months, you’ll already have an
80,000-point jump start. If you earn an additional 30,000 points before the end
of that year, you will receive a companion pass that is valid for the remainder
of 2018, through Dec. 31, 2019.

Note that most of your Rapid Rewards points count toward qualifying
for the Companion Pass. This includes points earned through your Rapid Rewards
credit card, points from flights booked through Southwest Airlines and base
points earned from Rapid Rewards partners. However, purchased points,
transferred points and points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs do
not count.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Southwest Rapid Rewards
Premier sign-up bonuses are only available to new cardholders who have not
received a new card member bonus for Southwest cards in the past 24 months.
Also, Chase only allows you to own one Southwest card at a time, so you are not
eligible for the bonus if you are already a Southwest cardholder.

Of course, you have to qualify for the cards first, which
means you have to have a credit score in the excellent range (at least 750).

Chase doesn’t appear to have a hard limit on how many cards
you own, though they may deny your application if you have too large of a
credit limit across your other Chase cards. Also, while there is no strict rule
on how many Chase cards you can apply for within a certain timeframe, many
applicants report a limit of one to two new cards per month.

Chase has come down hard recently on applicants who open
many accounts at once. Though it’s not an official policy, Chase appears to be
enforcing a “5/24” rule on new credit card applications. What this means is –
if you have opened at least five credit card accounts in the past 24 months
with any issuer (not just Chase) – your application will likely be denied. The
rule seems to apply to any credit card account that shows up on your credit
report, including co-branded store cards and authorized user accounts.

Keep this rule in mind if you plan to apply for more than
one Southwest card in order to qualify for the companion pass. On the plus
side, business credit cards that don’t report to your personal credit report do
not affect your chances of being approved. Therefore, if you apply for one of
the Southwest Rapid Rewards cards along with a Southwest Business card, you may
have a better chance of being approved for both cards and receiving their
sign-up bonuses.

While the Southwest card offer a few different redemption
options, airfare is by far the best option. Southwest offers three fare tiers:
Wanna Get Away, Anytime and Business Select, with Wanna Get Away fares providing
the best value.

The value per point varies by flight, but averages around
1.6 cents per point for a Wanna Get Away fare. You can get even higher values
if you are flexible, shop carefully for your ticket and buy your ticket far in
advance while the best-priced fares are still available. Business Select fares
have a very poor value – less than 1 cent per point on average. Note, the
points cover the base fare and do not include taxes and fees.

Through the More Rewards site, you have even more redemption
options, including gift cards, cruises, car rentals, hotels and merchandise.
All of these have a poor value – hotels are by far the worst at a mere 0.2
cents per point. Your best option on the More Rewards site is gift cards, which
are worth 1 cent per point when you buy them in $100 increments or larger.
However, if you want to get the most out of your bonus points, you should stick
to redeeming them for airfare.











SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARDS REDEMPTION OPTIONS
  Average point value Value of 40,000-point sign-up bonus
Wanna Get Away fare 1.6 cents $640
Anytime fare 1.1 cents $440
Business Select fare 0.9 cents $460
$100 gift card 1 cent $400
$50 gift card .083 cents $332
Car rental 0.7 cents $280
Merchandise 0.6 cents $240
Hotel 0.2 cents $80

In addition to a sign-up bonus, the Southwest Rapid Rewards
cards offer a referral bonus worth up to 50,000 points each year.

Chase’s “Refer-a-Friend” program gives Southwest cardholders
10,000 bonus points for each person they refer who is approved for the
Southwest card – up to five people per year. To take part in the promotion,
enter your last name, zip code and last four digits of your credit card on
Chase’s refer-a-friend
page
. On the following page, enter the first name and email address of each
person you wish to invite. You also have the option to post an invitation link
to Facebook or Twitter or refer friends through the Chase app.

If you’re already looking ahead to future spring break
travel or even summer vacations, you’ll want to start earning Rapid Rewards
points on everything you buy as soon as possible – especially if you haven’t
completed your holiday shopping yet.

However, a little patience could pay off in the long run. If
you can hold off until the next limited-time, sign-up bonus offer from
Southwest, you have the potential to earn 60,000 bonus points in the first
three months instead of 40,000.

Additionally, Chase often offers larger sign-up bonuses for
the Southwest cards if you apply at the airport.

Bonus tip: If you
decide to hold off on applying for a Southwest card until the bonus goes back
up, you can still earn points in the meantime. By becoming a Rapid Rewards
member, you can earn points when you fly with Southwest Airlines, stay at a partner
hotel, dine at participating
restaurants
, shop through the Rapid Rewards shopping
portal
and more.

See related: Hawaiian
Airlines offers 50,000 bonus miles for a limited time
, Earn
up to $500 a year when you refer a friend to these cards

The editorial content
below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not
driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you
click on links to products from our partners. Learn
more about our advertising policy




Original Source