Another week, another flight. Flying weekly can get tiring, but you know that every flight gets you closer to taking some great vacations with your spouse.
To save money on the flights, you like to use Southwest Airlines.
So why not get the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card to help you earn extra points?
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- Car Rental Agencies
- Annual Fee
- Rewards Center
- Foreign Transaction Fees$0
- Typical UsersFrequent Travelers, Hobby Travelers, International Travelers
- Customer Service Number
1-800-935-9935 (Available 24/7)
- Login Link
- PartnersSouthwest has a number of partners through Rapid Rewards: Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, and all major rental car agencies. Also, as a Rapid Rewards cardmember, you can redeem your points for international travel on most major airlines through More Rewards.
- Interest Rates
- 17.74% - 24.74% Variable
- Balance Transfers
- 17.74% - 24.74% Variable
- Cash Advance APR
- 26.74% Variable
The Ideal Cardholder
Sign-Up Bonus, Earning Categories and Points
The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card currently offers a sign-up bonus as posted in the card summary table above. This card costs $99 per year.
You will earn 2x points on all purchases directly with Southwest, as well as with its hotel and rental car partners. You’ll then earn 1x points on all other purchases.
These are very typical earning rates for an airline card, but it’s the benefits that make this card stand out!
Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Benefits
Being a low cost carrier, Southwest doesn’t offer a ton of extra benefits, but this card allows you to reach those elite status benefits much more quickly.
First, for every $10,000 you spend on the card you will earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQP), which are what you need to achieve elite status. The first tier, A-List, is achieved with 35,000 TQP or 25 one-way flights.
Your second level is reached after 70,000 TQP or 50 one-way flights. You can earn a maximum of 15,000 TQP with the card, but if you are also flying frequently you should earn the status quickly.
Even better, every point earned with any Southwest credit card counts toward the Qualifying Points needed to earn a Companion Pass. And yes, this includes the sign-up bonus!
While not an elite status tier, the Companion Pass allows you to earn the benefit of bringing a companion on any flight with you for just the cost of taxes and fees.
You do not have to have elite status to earn this, and thus you could earn the Companion Pass from simply spending on your card.
This is unique, as most airline credit cards simply earn bonus miles and points that do not go toward any type of elite status. More on this in the Card Math section below.
Other Bonus Points Earned with the Card
You do earn some bonus points with the card on top of purchases. Every year on your cardmember anniversary, you will earn 6,000 bonus points to be used toward award flights.
Up to 15,000 bonus points (1 point per dollar) are available for balance transfers made in the first 90 days of opening the card. However, balance transfers have a 5% fee, which will effectively reduce (if not eliminate!) the value of these points.
International Travel and More
The first benefit you should know about is that this card carries no foreign transaction fees. It’s a great card feature that not all cards come with!
You may be wondering why international travel is being discussed, since Southwest is a U.S. low cost carrier.
Southwest has introduced a More Rewards option for its credit card members that allows them to redeem Southwest points for many other things, including international travel.
However, while international travel usually offers the highest-value points options, the opportunities for using Southwest points are nowhere near as valuable.
Cardmember Fringe Benefits
The rest of the fringe benefits depend on whether or not you are approved for a Visa Signature or Visa Platinum version of the card, which will be determined upon application and approval.
If you’re approved for Visa Signature, the benefits are a little more lucrative. They include a variety of insurances and services to help make your travels and life a little easier.
These are auto rental, lost/delayed luggage, and travel accident insurance. You also get roadside dispatch and emergency travel services.
Visa Platinum cardmembers do not get travel and emergency assistance services, but both cardmember types get purchase and warranty protection.
Drawbacks of the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
One drawback is that you really don’t get many luxury travel benefits with the card. Since Southwest is a low cost carrier, there really isn’t a lot of luxury to be had!
Of course, Southwest already offers 2 free bags to all it’s passengers, so that benefit would be unnecessary on this card. However, other low cost carriers offer some amenities that this credit card doesn’t.
For instance, the The JetBlue Card from Barclaycard offers 50% off in-flight purchases and a $50 credit for a JetBlue Getaways purchase.
The Virgin America Visa Signature Card offers a $150 discount on a companion ticket each year, priority boarding, and 20% off in-flight purchases.
Final Thoughts on the Card
Overall, this is a solid card for Southwest lovers, especially those who travel and spend a lot. With the ability to earn elite TQP and every point going toward the Companion Pass, you will certainly find some value.
If you are not concerned with elite status, then you will at least earn 6,000 anniversary points and plenty of points to get in an awards flight or two each year by using the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.
Great Card If
- You like Southwest Airlines and spend enough to earn some TQP
- You are a heavy spender with your eyes set on the Companion Pass (110,000 points)
- You just want to earn some extra Rapid Rewards points each year
Don't Get If
- You are low spender and won’t make up the $99 annual fee in bonus points
- You enjoy luxury benefits when traveling and don’t like low cost carriers
U.P. Pro Tips
Sign up your Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card on the Rapid Rewards Dining Program to earn even more points when you’re dining at participating restaurants!
In addition, there is usually a sign-up bonus that lets you earn a few thousand points for joining.
How To Use Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card: The Upgraded Way™
Best Way To Maximize Points
Earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points can be done in many ways outside of simply using your Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. The following are some ways to earn more points for award flights.
Points Tip #1: Earn an additional 2 points for all Southwest flights with the card, of course, but also for using the card for car rental and hotel partners.
Points Tip #2: Use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal to earn extra points. In the portal, you can find hundreds of everyday retailers to purchase items from.
The bonus points earned vary by retailer and change depending on special offers, so check it often to see the latest offers. You’ll earn 1x points with the Southwest credit card in addition to the bonus points from the portal.
Points Tip #3: Earn elite status to get 25%-100% bonus points for flying Southwest. Using the card helps you get there more quickly by giving you 1,500 TQP for every $10k spent.
Elite status is good through the year you earn it and the year after, which gives you a long time to earn the bonus points!
Points Tip #4: Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. These include:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
- Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
- Chase Freedom® Card
- Chase Freedom Unlimited℠
Points Tip #5: Earn bonus points for filling out marketing surveys. Perhaps one of the lesser used tips, it is great for earning points when you have some time to kill.
Some of the sites give you bonuses for signing up, and the points earned vary so you’ll have to see what the current offers are.
Best Way To Redeem Points
Redeeming Southwest points for the highest value is a little tougher than with some other airlines. The points value changes as the price of the ticket changes, and awards are not fixed-value.
One other thing to note is that Southwest has no partners or alliances and operates independently, so points can only be used for their flights.
However, having the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card allows you to utilize your points for international travel on most major airlines, though not for as great a value as a Southwest flight.
Compared to other airlines, you won’t get as much value for a point (likely less than $0.02 per point). That being said, here are some ways to redeem them for better value:
Redemption Tip #1: Your highest value redemption will almost undoubtedly be for a fare in the Wanna Get Away class of ticket.
Redemption Tip #2: Find cheap fares for redemptions in order to save the most points for more trips.
Redemption Tip #3: Use the Southwest card to more quickly earn the Companion Pass. Once achieved, you can bring a companion along on both purchased and rewards flights for free!
This option saves you the most points and is good for the year you earn it all the way through the next calendar year.
Southwest has no airline partners or alliances, except in the case of allowing its credit card members use their points for international travel on major airlines.
Rental Car Partners: National, Dollar, Avis, Payless, Hertz, Alamo, Budget, Thrifty
The rest of Southwest’s partners are shopping and home service partners.
It’s time to take a closer look at the merits of the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Is it worth it to own at lower spending levels? What is the break even point?
A Quick Card Recap and Rapid Rewards Elite Status Information
Here are the card costs and benefits in summary:
|Annual Fee||Points Earned on Flights*||Points Earned Everywhere Else||Add’l Bonus|
|$99/yr||2x||1x||6,000 pts per year on anniversary|
*Also earn at hotel and car rental partners through Southwest
This card costs $99 a year (no waived first year), earns 1-2x points, and gives you 6,000 points each year on your anniversary.
Also remember that for every $10,000 you spend, you get 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TPQ) toward Southwest elite status. For every point you earn on your card, you also earn Qualifying Points toward the Companion Pass.
Elite status on Southwest is earned by segments or TPQ, which are the base points earned for the fares you book. There are 3 different fare types, and they earn between 6x-12x points per dollar.
Once you earn elite status, you will also earn bonus points on top of those points. There are only 2 status tiers: A-List (the main tier) earns a 25% bonus, while A-List Preferred earns a 100% bonus on points.
Both base points and bonus points accrue in your Rapid Rewards account to be used for awards flights. Some airlines have now separated your qualifying miles from awards miles, but Southwest keeps it simple.
Calculating the Value of the Card With Model Families
We will use our fictitious families to see how much they could earn in any given year using the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. We will assume they use it for everything possible.
In addition, we’ll assume that they are using Southwest hotel and car rental partners to earn 2x points on those expenses, and we’ll add in the 6,000 point anniversary bonus.
The following table details these expenses:
Below, the table summarizes how many points they could earn in a year given these assumptions, while not taking into account the additional points earned through Southwest Rapid Rewards:
|Family||Points Earned from the Card|
This doesn’t look too shabby for an amount of points. But what does it mean?
Unraveling the Value of Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
Southwest is a little more complex when it comes to redeeming points. With no awards chart, it can be difficult to find out how far your points will take you.
The amount of points needed is based on the fare and many other factors, and thus will change in each situation. Most other airlines have set awards charts that help you determine your travel.
By doing some calculations on random fares, we found that Southwest points are valued anywhere from $0.009-$0.018 per point (from business class to economy, respectively).
That means the 6,000 point anniversary bonus could be worth ~$100. That is about what the card costs per year, so it’s good know that you will automatically make up your annual fee.
By applying these values to the table of points earned, we can come up with some ranges of value that the points are worth for using the Southwest card.
The following table shows these ranges:
|Family||Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Value|
|Kennedys||$297 – $594|
|Jetsons||$493 – $986|
|Hartnells||$630 – $1,260|
*Each range calculates the value of points earned at the low ($0.009) and high ($0.018) valuations
As you can see, points earned can be worth anywhere from $297 to $1,260 per our calculations at the level of spending of our model families.
Keep in mind this also adds in the 6,000 point anniversary gift, which easily makes up for the $99 annual fee, especially at the higher spending levels.
This math also does not take into account the amount of points you earn from buying flights themselves, which at 6x per dollar adds in 14,400-46,800 points based on the families’ spend.
Earning the Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is perhaps the most powerful travel benefit out there. With it, you get to bring a companion on any purchased or award flight for merely the cost of taxes.
Earning it is the tough part: you must get 110,000 qualifying points within the year to earn it for the rest of that year and the whole following calendar year.
Luckily, points earned through flights and through the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card go toward this pass (most notably the sign-up and anniversary bonus). However, bonus points earned any other way do not.
Therefore, you can earn the pass through a combination of flights, credit card spending, and sign-up bonus…you just have to get the right amount!
For example, if you got a 50,000 point sign-up bonus, you would only be short 60,000 points. Will the families earn the Companion Pass their first year with the card at their level of spend?
Because you cannot consider bonus points, we will leave elite status calculations out. All card earnings count, but because this is year one you won’t earn the 6,000 anniversary bonus points.
The following table details how many points the families will earn from each source as well as their total points.
|Family||Southwest Flight Points||Card Points||Sign-Up Bonus*||Total Points||Earn the Pass?|
|Kennedys||14,400||27,000||50,000||91,400||No, short 18,600 pts|
*The 50,000 point bonus is used for example and may not reflect the current sign-up bonus.
**The Hartnells will earn the pass regardless of the sign-up bonus!
At the example level of spending, both the Jetsons and Hartnells earn the Companion Pass for the year. In fact, with the sign-up bonus, they will likely earn it around the third quarter.
The Hartnells will continue to earn the Companion Pass every year they keep using their Southwest Chase card in this manner, since they earn just north of 110,000 points!
Unfortunately, at the Kennedy’s spending level, you will miss earning the Companion Pass by 18,600 points.
The Value of the Companion Pass
The Companion Pass is very powerful, but how much is it worth? Consider the fact you are getting 1 free ticket each time you fly. If flying with a spouse and sharing expenses, this adds up.
The Kennedys and Jetsons are each modeled after couples. Each of them would almost cut their flight bills in half due to the Companion Pass, only having to pay the taxes.
That comes to a savings of $1,200 – $3,000 per year.
The other thing you need to consider, however, is that you won’t earn any points on your companion’s ticket, so you do miss a little opportunity there. That value is much less than the flight itself, though.
You get 1 free ticket every time you purchase a ticket with the Companion Pass, so if you would normally pay for both then you’re saving about 50% (but losing out on some points).
Final Thoughts on the Card
It’s a great card for those who travel frequently on Southwest Airlines.
If you’re able to spend enough on the card to get the Companion Pass, then you will increase the value of the card by much more if you purchase your companion’s tickets.
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know
As discussed throughout the article, it is important to distinguish the Tier Qualifying Points (TQP) from the Companion Pass Qualifying Points.
TQP are earned for every $10,000 spent on the card, as well as for any flights made with Southwest.
Companion Pass points are also earned through Southwest flights, but all Southwest credit card points earned count toward the pass. This includes sign-up bonuses, anniversary bonuses, and all purchases.
Like all airline cards, your points will not expire as long as your account is open and in good standing and you keep activity on the card.
Other Unique Features
Car rental collision insurance – Get covered for your rental car when you decline the agency waiver and pay for the full car with your card.
Purchase protection – For up to 120 days after a purchase, you can get coverage up to $500 for each claim and up to $50k per account for theft, damage, or loss of the item.
Extended warranty – On warranties less than 3 years, you will get an extended year of warranty and coverage for up to $10,000 per claim.
Lost luggage insurance – Each piece of lost luggage is covered up to $3,000 if you are flying on a common carrier and used your card to purchase the travel (or awards travel with points you earned from Chase).
Baggage delay insurance – If your baggage is delayed by 6 hours or more, you are entitled to $100 per day for up to 3 days. This is limited to essential items such as clothing, toiletries, and so on.
Travel accident insurance – In the case of a severe accident, the card’s insurance covers you for up to $500,000 in damages.
Travel and emergency services – This service is used to call for assistance when traveling and you need emergency help. Only the service is complimentary; any referrals and third party services will cost you.
Roadside dispatch – The program allows you to call a number and get towing, tire changing, jump starting, lockout service, fuel delivery, and winching for a set price of $59.95.
Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Business Man Looking Back: Maridav/Shutterstock
Couple Eating a Meal: Joana Lopes/Shutterstock
Online Shopping: garagestock/Shutterstock
Boys Holding Luggage: ISchmidt/Shutterstock
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