I almost never fly Southwest Airlines. When flying in the U.S., I usually prefer American Airlines (and sometimes Delta). However, Southwest has millions of loyal fans who love their point-to-point service, unassigned seating, and general friendliness.
For those fans—or anyone who appreciates free travel—you may want to take a look at the improved signup offer for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier card. Instead of just 25,000 points (the usual offer), for a limited time you can earn 50,000 points after completing a $2,000 minimum spend in the first three months.
In addition to the improved signup bonus, the card also offers the following benefits:
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases and participating Hotel and Car Rental partners
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
So for some of you, this could be great. And here’s the really interesting part.
Upon earning 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a single year, you’ll qualify for the much-desired Companion Pass—which is exactly what it sounds like. For the next year, whenever you fly anywhere in the Southwest network, a companion you designate can fly with you… absolutely free. (Well, not totally free—you have to pay the taxes on their ticket. But you don’t have to pay anything to the airline.)
Even as a non-Southwest flyer, I admit that this is a pretty nice perk. So how do you earn 110,000 points if you don’t spend your life on airplanes like I do? Simple: you also get the business card. During the limited time offer, the business card will also get you 50,000 points, just as the personal card will. To find that link, click on “Are you a business owner?” from the application link.
Getting both cards brings you to 100,000 points, just 10,000 points away from that elusive Companion pass. Or wait—actually, you’ll only be 6,000 points away, since the 4,000 points you earned for the $4,000 in minimum spend for the cards ($2,000 each) will also count. Bam!
This may help a lot of you who travel in the U.S., especially if you’d like the ability to bring someone with you at the airline’s expense. You’ll get free checked bags and the ability to change or redeposit award tickets whenever your plans change, something that very few airlines offer for free.
For everyone else, make sure you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I use mine every day, and there’s no single credit card offer that’s better. You can transfer the Ultimate Rewards points you earn from this card to Southwest Airlines, among many other partners.
Oh, and one more thing: budget airlines aren’t always as easy to earn points on as the major carriers, but the options are improving. There’s now a JetBlue Card and a JetBlue Plus Card that offer a bonus of 10,000 points or 30,000 points respectively.