Update: The offer mentioned below is now expired. The latest offers can be found in our Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card review and the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card review.
Chase has released new sign-up offers for both the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Both cards are currently offering 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months that your account is open.
Note that since April 5, 2018 you cannot get both Southwest consumer cards at the same time. You also cannot get a second if you already have one of the cards or have received a new cardmember bonus on either card in the last 24 months. This rule does not apply to the Southwest business card.
These are great sign-up offers, especially given the value and flexibility of Southwest Rapid Rewards® points. We value Rapid Rewards® points at 1.3 cents per point, making each sign-up bonus alone worth up to $520 in Southwest flights.
Both cards offer similar benefits, so let’s take a look at the differences to see which card might work best for you.
The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card comes with a $69 annual fee that will be charged on your first statement. It awards cardmembers a 3,000-point annual bonus that is credited to your rewards account on your account anniversary date.
This particular card does charge a foreign transaction fee, which is 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. It would be best to use this card for domestic purchases only.
The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card comes with a slightly higher annual fee of $99 that will be charged on the first statement after account opening. It also offers a slightly higher annual bonus of 6,000 points on your credit card account anniversary date.
Another major difference is that this card does not charge foreign transaction fees, which makes it a better choice for international trips…especially since Southwest Airlines has been branching out into new international markets.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® are great points to have since there are no blackout dates or seat restrictions, and your points never expire as long as your credit card account is open.
One of the greatest perks Southwest Airlines is known for is that your first 2 checked bags fly free with you, saving you up to $120 per round-trip flight.
Another reason to rack up Southwest Rapid Rewards® points is that all reservations made with either points or cash have absolutely no cancellation or change fees, making them incredibly flexible and valuable for speculative bookings.
Let’s say you’ve been thinking about making a trip home for the upcoming holiday season. You see a great price for the flight, but you don’t want to commit to booking it until you are certain you can make the trip.
With Southwest, you could book your ticket with points, cancel later, and get a full refund of any points used to make that booking. This helps you lock in a great price by booking early, but gives you the option to cancel up until your flight departs without having to lose out on that great price.
Hot Tip: Found the right price and booked your next Southwest Airlines flight? Be sure to check back! If the fare price went down, you can rebook for the cheaper price and get a refund on those extra points!
Both cards offer 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® and Rapid Rewards® purchases, which include participating hotel and car rental partners booked on Southwest.com. You will also earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Another great perk about earning a ton of Southwest Rapid Rewards® points is that each point you earn from these credit cards also counts toward qualifying for the Southwest Companion Pass.
To qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 qualifying points within a calendar year. Qualifying points include those earned from flying Southwest, spending on a Rapid Rewards credit card (including the sign-up bonus), using the Southwest Dining Program, making purchases through the shopping portal, and taking advantage of partner offers.
Once you’ve qualified for the Companion Pass, you can designate a chosen companion who will be able to travel for free with you on Southwest flights. This benefit is good for the rest of the year that you qualified and the entire next year on both paid and award reservations.
All you have to do is pay the extra taxes and fees for your companion, making this one of the best deals available across all frequent flyer programs.
It is important to remember that all Southwest credit cards from Chase fall under the 5/24 rule: if you’ve applied for 5 or more personal credit cards in the past 24 months, it is highly unlikely you will be approved for these cards.
You are also not eligible for the bonus offer on these cards if you’ve received a bonus for the same product in the past 24 months.
Hot Tip: The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card are considered different products, so if you’ve received a bonus on one you are still eligible for the bonus on the other.
Overall, both the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card are offering great sign-up bonuses for a low minimum spend requirement, making it easy to earn a ton of Southwest Rapid Rewards® points and giving you a huge boost to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.
The main differences between these cards are the annual fee (a difference of $30), benefits from the anniversary bonus, and foreign transaction fees. Either way, if you are comfortable flying Southwest Airlines, at least 1 of these cards should pique your interest…maybe you’ll be able to fly with them for free, just like your bags!