Southwest Airlines plane
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Please note: the offers mentioned below are subject to change at any time and may not be available.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current offers. It was originally published on Sept. 10, 2019.

Southwest is celebrating the new year by unveiling limited-time welcome offers across all of its personal cards. Right now, you can earn up to 75,000 bonus points on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card — 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, and another 35,000 points after you spend $5,000 within the first six months of card membership. You can earn either or both of these tiers.

This is an extremely attainable tiered bonus. Some cards require you to spend $10,000+ over the course of six months to hit the full bonus, but you only have to spend $5,000 in six months to get the second tier of this bonus.

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The number of Southwest Rapid Rewards points required to book a flight is directly tied to the current fare of the flight, and you often get good deals if you know when and where to look for redemptions. Southwest is great for families traveling with lap children, as well as flexible travelers, since there aren’t any cancellation or change fees on its flights.

If you earn the full bonus, those 75,000 points can go a long way on Southwest flights, especially if you take advantage of Southwest’s Low Fare Calendar. In fact, TPG values Southwest Rapid Rewards points at 1.5 cents each, making this bonus worth up to $1,125.

In 2019, one of our favorite Southwest reader redemption stories included a flight to Stockholm for the same amount of points as this bonus:

“‪We haven’t paid for a domestic flight in years. My boyfriend travels for free with the Companion Pass, and with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, I use the More Rewards tab to book international flights. The redemptions are so varied. I think I got Chicago to Dublin for around 40,000 points, to Stockholm for around 75,000 points and to Edinburgh for around 70,000 points.” — Caroline J.

Using this offer to get a coveted Companion Pass

Most cobranded airline credit cards have a tough time holding their own against cards with transferable points, but Southwest’s diverse portfolio of personal and business cards is a notable exception. That’s because signing up for these cards is the fastest way to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass, which offers a year or more of free flying for your designated travel companion.

If you haven’t already, now is the best time of year to start your quest for the Companion Pass. The pass is valid for the rest of the year in which you sign up and the full calendar year after that. If you earn the Companion Pass in January 2020, it will be valid through Dec. 31, 2021, giving your companion almost two full years of free flying.

This one of the most sought-after travel perks in the industry. It requires either flying 100 one-way flights or earning 125,000 Southwest points in one calendar year (as of Jan. 1, 2020), but there’s a move you can make right now to earn those points with just two credit cards.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card has a sign-up bonus of 70,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. Pair the Performance card with one of the other three cards offering up to 75,000 points, and you are all set to earn the Companion Pass.

Which Southwest card is right for you?

This enhanced offer is available on all three of Southwest’s personal credit cards:

The names don’t exactly clarify how these three cards differ, but they have annual fees ranging from $69 to $149 and varying perks. Here’s more info on how they stack up:

  Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Annual fee $69 $99 $149
Anniversary points bonus 3,000 Rapid Rewards points 6,000 Rapid Rewards points 7,500 Rapid Rewards points
Earning rates 2x on Southwest flights and hotel and car rental partners

1x everywhere else

2x on Southwest flights and hotel and car rental partners

1x everywhere else

2x on Southwest flights and hotel and car rental partners

1x everywhere else

Other perks N/A N/A $75 annual Southwest travel credit

Four upgraded boardings per year (when available)

20% back on inflight drinks and Wi-Fi

Tier Qualifying Points N/A Earn up to 15,000 TQPs a year, 1,500 for each $10,000 spent Earn up to 15,000 TQPs a year, 1,500 for each $10,000 spent
Foreign transaction fee 3% None None

As all three cards are offering an identical welcome bonus, you should pick the one with the annual fee and benefits to match your needs. Not everyone will need the extra perks like four upgraded boardings that come with the Priority Card, for example.

Related reading: The best Southwest credit cards

Eligibility

You won’t be able to earn this sign-up bonus, let alone open one of these personal Southwest cards, if:

  • You already hold a personal Southwest credit card.
  • You’ve earned a new cardmember bonus on a Southwest consumer credit card in the last 24 months.
  • You’re over 5/24 — meaning you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the last 24 months. This is a Chase policy that means there’s virtually zero chance you’ll be accepted for most of its cards if you’re over the 5/24 limit.

Bottom line

With Southwest’s addition of service to Hawaii, boosting your Rapid Rewards points balance could be a smart move. With 75,000 points, you could be well on your way to the islands or to any other Southwest destination (including some international gems), so these offers on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card are worth a look. If you tack on the 70,000 additional points from the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, you’ll soon be flying with a companion anywhere Southwest flies.

Official application links: Don’t miss out on these up to 75,000-point elevated offers on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.

Additional reporting by Katie Genter and Ethan Steinberg.

Featured photo by Patrick T. Fallon 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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