“This offer has expired
On January 9, 2020, Chase announced that the introductory offer for all three Southwest personal credit cards would be increased to 75,000 Rapid Reward Points. Southwest Airlines’ frequent flyer program is called Rapid Rewards.
The three credit cards with this enhanced welcome offer are:
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card (Annual fee: $ 69)
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card (Annual fee: $ 99)
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (Annual fee: $ 149)
Previous offer for all three cards: Earn 40,000 points after spending $ 1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
New offer for all three cards: Earn 40,000 points after spending $ 1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 35,000 points after spending a total of $ 5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months the account is open.
While the initial portion of this bonus is the same as before, you will need to spend an additional $ 4,000 to earn the incremental 35,000 Rapid Reward points. It is important that this bonus offer continues to count towards the Companion Pass. This is a great benefit that allows you to choose a companion to fly with you for free on a sales or award ticket (after paying taxes and fees).
A Companion Pass is awarded after collecting 125,000 points. So you still need to earn 45,000 Rapid Reward points after you qualify for this sign up bonus.
However, let’s take a look at why Southwest Rapid Reward points offer some valuable redemptions and what you can do to maximize your increased rewards.
Rapid Rewards Basics
NerdWallet rates Southwest Points at 1.6 cents everyone.
Depending on how you redeem your points, you can expect a value of 1.4 to 3 cents per mile Southwests Wanna Get Away Fares. With Southwest mostly flying domestically, you will likely never see the very high cents-per-mile values we sometimes get on international premium cabin awards with other airlines.
Unlike many airlines, Southwest does not use an award table. Similar to JetBlue, the number of points required for a Southwest Reward Flight is tied to the cost of sales of the ticket (with the exception of certain fees that apply to sales tickets but not award tickets).
What is the welcome bonus worth?
After you hit the minimum spend of $ 5,000 to receive the full bonus, you would end up earning at least 80,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points (75,000 from the sign up bonus plus 5,000 from the expenses you had to complete to earn it).
Assuming you could cash in on the low end of the NerdWallet rating, those 80,000 points are worth $ 1,200 on flights. When you ultimately earn the Companion Pass, those points become much more lucrative.
From Chicago to Fort Lauderdale
Would you like to escape the cold for a long weekend in January? A non-stop round-trip flight from Chicago Midway to Fort Lauderdale costs 19,095 points + $ 11.20 in tax.
If you paid in cash and grabbed a Wanna Get Away fare, you’d be paying back $ 292 on the same ticket.
This redemption only earns you about 1.5 cents per point; If you redeem all of your points in a similar way, the introductory bonus would be worth four round-trip flights.
From New York to Denver
If you like the cold and are considering a ski trip, purchase a New York LaGuardia to Denver round-trip award ticket for 11,476 points + $ 11.20 tax during peak season.
The same flight costs $ 187 when paid for in cash.
Reusing points gives a value of 1.5 cents per mile, but the cheaper flight means your welcome bonus could be worth seven similar round-trip flights.
Unique Southwest Benefits
Much of Southwest’s value derives from its unique advantages. This is what we mean:
1. No cancellation fees for award or sales tickets
As long as you cancel your ticket at least 10 minutes before departure, you can get a refund (or credit towards a future flight) regardless of whether you paid in cash or with points. Southwest effectively treats tickets as if they are refundable, which is a much more flexible policy than other major US carriers.
For example, Delta Air Lines will charge a cancellation fee of USD 200 (depending on tier status) for non-refundable tickets if the ticket is canceled after 24 hours after booking. In addition, Delta will charge non-elite passengers an award refund fee of $ 150, and tickets canceled less than 72 hours prior to departure are non-refundable. American Airlines and United Airlines also charge high cancellation fees for non-refundable tickets. To avoid these fees, you’ll need to purchase a refundable economy ticket, which in many cases is extremely expensive.
2. Two free checked bags
Even without elite status, you can check in up to two pieces of baggage for free with Southwest (up to £ 50). You can also bring a small personal item and hand luggage. In comparison, Delta, United, and American charge $ 30 for the first and $ 40 for the second checked bag, respectively, for non-elite flyers with domestic economy tickets. Hand luggage is allowed for some tickets, but not for the most restrictive ones (e.g. Basic Economy). This Southwest perk is a huge money saver if you enjoy traveling with checked baggage.
If you’re choosing between flying on major US carriers or Southwest, the flexibility to cancel a ticket on Southwest along with two free checked bags is reason enough to give Southwest a shot.
When you add these two unique benefits, your Southwest Points can become much more valuable.
The bottom line
The limited-time introductory offer of 75,000 points on all three Southwest credit cards will result in a redemption value of $ 1,200 once the minimum wager is reached. If you can earn the Companion Pass, this redemption value increases significantly.
Given Southwest’s great cancellation policy and generous baggage allowance, flying Southwest may be preferable to economy flying on one of the legacy airlines, especially if you don’t have elite status. If you live in a city served by Southwest, now is certainly a good time to apply for a Southwest credit card.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
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