- Southwest’s three personal credit cards are currently running their highest sign-up bonus ever.
- You can earn up to 75,000 points: 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months, and another 35,000 points after spending $5,000 on points in the first six months.
- This bonus is available on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card ($69 annual fee), the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card ($99 annual fee), and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card ($149 annual fee).
- Not only will 75,000 points help you book award flights, but the bonus will also get you more than halfway to qualifying for the Southwest Companion Pass.
- The Companion Pass lets you bring someone along on your Southwest flights for only the cost of taxes and fees. To earn it, you need 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
- See Business Insider’s list of the best airline credit cards »
Southwest may not have a global route network on par with larger airlines, but for travel within the US and the Caribbean, it’s one of the best options. Not only does it have some of the most customer-friendly policies around, such as two free checked bags and no change fees, but it also offers two-for-one travel with its coveted Companion Pass benefit.
Now, the airline’s three co-branded personal credit cards are offering a sign-up bonus of up to 75,000 points. If you apply for one of these cards and earn the full bonus, you’ll be more than halfway toward qualifying for the Companion Pass — which now requires earning 125,000 points in a calendar year.
If you have any travel on Southwest planned for the next two years, the Companion Pass could allow you to bring along a friend at no additional cost. You can earn the rest of the points toward the pass by spending on a Southwest card, by taking eligible Southwest flights, or by opening a Southwest business credit card.
Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It’s important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.
Sign-up offer details
You can earn up to 75,000 Rapid Rewards points with the airline’s three personal credit cards:
With all three cards, you’ll earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, and another 35,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first six months. The standard offer for these cards is 40,000 points, so this is an opportunity to earn 35,000 additional points. This is also the cards’ highest sign-up bonus to date, so you won’t want to miss out if you need Rapid Rewards points.
While spending $5,000 to earn the full 75,000 points may seem like a lot, it averages out to less than $1,000 per month. And with tax season upon us, using one of these cards to pay your federal return could be an easy way to knock out the spending requirement.
Use this offer to work toward the Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest Companion Pass essentially lets you get two-for-one travel. Once you earn it, you can designate a friend or family member to fly with you for free (minus taxes and fees) on both paid Southwest flights and those booked with points.
To get the Companion Pass, you need to earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. Points earned from Southwest credit card bonuses count toward that requirement, so if you sign up for one of these three cards and meet both tiers of the spending requirement to earn 75,000 points, you’ll be more than half of the way there.
Factoring in the spending required to earn the full 75,000 points, you’ll earn at least 80,000 points — leaving you 45,000 points short of meeting the requirements.
Read more: How to use the Southwest Companion Pass once you’ve earned it
Once you get the Companion Pass, you’ll be able to use it for the entire year in which you earned it, along with the entire following year. So you’ll want to time your qualification for the Companion Pass to be as early in the new year as possible, so you can enjoy it for almost two years.
To get the rest of the way there, you could open one of Southwest’s two business credit cards — the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card ($99) or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card ($199).
The Premier Business card is offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, and the Performance Business card is offering a bonus of 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
With the Premier Business card or the Performance Business and one of the personal Southwest card bonuses, you’d easily meet the 125,000 qualifying points requirement. If you don’t want to open two credit cards — or you don’t qualify for a business credit card — you can earn the remaining points through additional spending on your Southwest card or by taking qualifying Southwest points.
You can only have one personal Southwest card at a time, so you couldn’t open both the Southwest Premier and Southwest Priority, for example.
Don’t forget about Chase’s 5/24 rule
If you’re interested in any of Southwest’s three personal credit cards, keep in mind that the card issuer, Chase, has something called the 5/24 rule, which can restrict your ability to open these cards. If you’ve opened five or more cards across all banks in the last 24 months, Chase won’t approve you for most of its cards. So it could be worth prioritizing your applications for these cards over those from other banks.