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Best offer we’ve seen yet: Earn up to 100,000-bonus points with these Southwest cards

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 10/20/2021 The Points Guy
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

All five Southwest cobranded cards are getting a facelift with new bonus categories and perks.

To celebrate these changes, Southwest is also offering up to 100,000 bonus points with all three of its consumer cards: the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.

If you’re looking for a large stash of Southwest Rapid Rewards points, this is one of the best welcome offers we’ve seen yet across all of these cards — assuming you can meet the full spending requirements.

With all three personal cards, you’ll earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open, plus an additional 50,000 points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months of account opening. This whole haul of Rapid Rewards points is worth a colossal $1,500, according to TPG’s valuations. But it could be worth way more to you if it helps you unlock the valuable Companion Pass.

Meanwhile, on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card, new cardholders will earn 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open, while the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card is offering 80,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.

Let’s dive into these new welcome offers, bonus categories, and benefits on these refreshed Southwest cards to see which one is best for you.

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Get closer to a Southwest Companion Pass with these offers

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy) © Provided by The Points Guy (Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

No matter which card you opt for, these welcome offers are a unique opportunity for Southwest fans to get a leg up on earning the coveted Southwest Companion Pass — one of the most valuable airline benefits out there. This pass allows the benefit holder to bring along a companion for (almost) free on Southwest flights booked with cash or points. Book the first ticket and then just pay taxes and fees for bringing the companion, which start at only $5.60 one-way.

For those who had Rapid Rewards accounts open on Dec. 31, 2020, Southwest effectively lowered the requirements for earning the Companion Pass in 2021 by depositing 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points in accounts earlier this year, meaning you’ll only need 100,000 points to qualify for Companion Pass by the end of this year if you had an account open at the end of last year.

If you meet the spend requirements of the 100,000-point sign-up bonus on Southwest’s personal cards by the end of 2021, you could get the Companion Pass for the rest of 2021 and all of 2022 just from that bonus. But that’s not actually the most strategic play to make here.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy) © Provided by The Points Guy (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

That’s because, if you time it right, you should really consider holding off meeting the spending requirements of the full bonus until 2022. While you’ll need 125,000 points (instead of 100,000 points + the 25,000 point bonus you may already have) to qualify for Companion Pass in 2022, you would only be 25,000 points away from hitting Companion Pass for all of 2022 and all of 2023. 

So although you might have to do some more spending and/or flying, if you can hold off earning the bonus points until early 2022, you could potentially score the Companion Pass for nearly two years pretty easily if you trigger all 100,000 bonus points in 2022.

Related: How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass 


Video: Southwest Airlines' Rapid Rewards Card Is Offering One of Its Best Welcome Bonuses Yet (Travel + Leisure)

Southwest Airlines' Rapid Rewards Card Is Offering One of Its Best Welcome Bonuses Yet
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New bonus categories and perks

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © Provided by The Points Guy (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Of course, the points you earn from these cards can also help you book a fair few award tickets — and if you get the Companion Pass, you can stretch them even further. What’s more, Southwest and Chase have improved the earning rates for these products so cardholders can accumulate points even faster than before.

Here’s a look at all five Southwest cards, with new bonus categories and noteworthy perks:

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

  • Best for: Beginners and infrequent travelers.
  • Annual fee: $69
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn up to 100,000 points: 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open, plus an additional 50,000 points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months of account opening.
  • Earning rate: 
    • New: 2x on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshares.
    • New: 2x on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming service purchases.
    • 2x on Southwest flights.
    • 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners.
    • 1x on everything else.
  • Primary perk(s):

Check out the full card review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

  • Best for: Regular Southwest flyers.
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn up to 100,000 points: 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open, plus an additional 50,000 points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months of account opening.
  • Earning rate:
    • New: 3x on Southwest flights (previously 2x).
    • New: 2x on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshares.
    • New: 2x on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming service purchases.
    • 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
    • 1x on everything else.
  • Primary perk(s):
    • New: 2 EarlyBird check-ins every card anniversary.
    • 6,000-point anniversary bonus.
    • Earn tier-qualifying points toward A-List elite status.
    • No foreign transaction fees.

Check out the full card review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

  • Best for: Southwest loyalists who fly the carrier regularly.
  • Annual fee: $149
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn up to 100,000 points: 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open, plus an additional 50,000 points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months of account opening.
  • Earning rate:
    • New: 3x on Southwest flights (previously 2x).
    • New: 2x on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshares.
    • New: 2x on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming service purchases.
    • 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners.
    • 1x on everything else.
  • Primary perk(s):
    • New: Unlimited TQP earning: 1,500 for each $10,000 spent (previously only up to 15,000 TQPs per year).
    • $75 annual Southwest credit.
    • 7,500-point anniversary bonus.
    • Four upgraded boardings per year.
    • No foreign transaction fees.

Check out the full card review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

  • Best for: Business owners who fly Southwest regularly.
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • Earning rate:
    • New: 3x on Southwest flights (previously 2x).
    • New: 2x on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshares.
    • 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners.
    • 1x on everything else.
  • Primary perk(s):
    • New: 2 EarlyBird check-ins every card anniversary.
    • New: $500 fee credit for Rapid Rewards points transfers to another Rapid Rewards member.
    • 6,000-point anniversary bonus.
    • Earn tier-qualifying points toward A-List elite status.
    • No foreign transaction fees.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

  • Best for: Business owners who are loyal Southwest flyers.
  • Annual fee: $199
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • Earning rate: 
    • New: 4x on Southwest flights (previously 3x).
    • New: 2x on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshares.
    • 3x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners.
    • 2x on social media and paid search advertising, internet, cable, and phone services.
    • 1x on everything else.
  • Primary perk(s):
    • New: Unlimited TQP earning: 1,500 for each $10,000 spent (previously only up to 15,000 TQPs per year).
    • New: $500 fee credit for Rapid Rewards points transfers to another Rapid Rewards member.
    • 9,000-point anniversary bonus.
    • Four upgraded boardings per year.
    • Up to $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit.
    • Up to 365 inflight wi-fi credits per year.
    • No foreign transaction fees.

Check out the full card review.

Bottom line

Recent operational meltdowns aside, Southwest continues to be a great airline for domestic — and an increasing number of international — itineraries. The airline leads the pack in terms of booking flexibility with no change or cancellation fees on any ticket (a policy Southwest was known for even before the pandemic).

The number of Southwest Rapid Rewards points required to book a flight is directly tied to the flight’s current fare, and you often get good deals if you know when and where to look for redemptions. And because of Southwest’s policy of no cancellation or change fees on its flights, you can actually reprice a Southwest flight if you book a trip and then find the same itinerary at a lower price before departure.

If you’ve been considering applying for a Southwest credit card and want the opportunity to earn a Companion Pass, or just lock in a ton of points for flight redemptions as you start your travels up again, now is the time to jump on board — with one of the best-ever sign-up bonuses we’ve seen on these personal cards and solid offers on the business cards, too.

Official application link: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card.

Official application link: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.

Official application link: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.

Official application link: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card.

Official application link: Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card.

Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor.

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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