November 17th, 2013
Update: This offer will be ending at some point tomorrow, 11/18.
Now is the best time to get these cards as with just 2 Southwest cards you can get over $4,200 of free travel thanks to an unlimited use companion pass that will be valid for both paid and award tickets throughout the entire 2014 and 2015 if you play you cards right, read on for more info!
With just 2 Southwest cards you can get over $4,200 of flights thanks to an unlimited use companion pass that will be valid throughout 2014 and 2015 if you play you cards right, read on for more info!
Signup offer and anniversary bonus:
You can get 50,000 points when you spend $2,000 within 3 months of getting the card. They’re marketing this as 2 roundtrip flights but in fact it is enough for as much as $975 of flights on Southwest, so you can stretch out those 50K points points for as many as 15 flights with Southwest’s low prices or 30 flights if you earn a companion pass.
There are in fact 4 unique Southwest credit cards that are all offering 50,000 points for spending $2,000. There is the consumer Plus and Premier cards and the business Plus and Premier cards. You can access them all at the bottom of the application link under “Additional Southwest Airlines Credit Cards”
The difference is that the plus cards have a $69 annual fee and offer 3,000 bonus points (~$57 towards travel) every year as an anniversary bonus. The premier cards have a $99 annual fee, have no foreign exchange fees, and offer 6,000 bonus points (~$114 towards travel) every year as an anniversary bonus.
Free changes and cancellations. Lock in low fares with no penalty!
While other mileage currencies now charge $200 to cancel an award ticket, Southwest continues to allow you to cancel an award flight and redeposit the points in your account for future use without any penalties! Coupled with 2 free bags per person and that’s a lot of added value. A family of 4 needing to cancel award tickets on another airline would set you back $800 versus it being a free change on Southwest. A family of 4 checking 2 bags each would run $480 round-trip on another airline versus paying nothing on Southwest.
Thinking of taking a trip but not 100% sure about it? With Southwest points you can lock in a good rate and just cancel the trip free of charge at any point before the flight if you can’t make it!
You can use the points for yourself or book award tickets for anyone else you want to give a ticket to.
You can also use your points for Airtran flights as well! Plus because you will be booking the Airtran flights via Southwest.com you will get 2 free bags and free changes and flight cancellations as well!
You can also use 50,000 points to get $500 worth of gift cards to places like Alamo, Amazon, Avis, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Brooks Brothers, Budget, Carnival Cruises, Children’s Place, Express, Fairmont, Gap, Hertz, Hyatt, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Marriott, Motherhood Maternity, National, Nike, Office Depot, Saks, Sea World, Sears, Shutterfly, Staples, Starbucks, Toys R Us, TJMaxx, Walmart, Zappos and many others.
With Southwest’s Rapid Rewards “2.0” program you can redeem points for any seat on any flight. There are no blackout dates or capacity controls. For the regular “wanna get away” fare it costs 60 points for each dollar of airfare. In practical terms this means for example:
A one-way Los Angeles-San Francisco flight on 10/15 is $58.90 with tax.
It can also be bought for 2,880 points plus $2.50 tax.
So 2,880 points gets you a value of $56.40 ($58.90 airfare less the $2.50 tax required on the points ticket)
So each point is worth 1.95 cents (56.40/2,880), valid for redemption on all flights.
The value per point will depend on your route, but points always seem to be worth more than 1.8 cents each for discounted fares.
When Southwest has a fare sale the amount of points go on sale as well as it tracks to the price of the ticket. Best of all Southwest just like Southwest will give you a credit if the price of your paid ticket falls they will refund your points if the price of your award ticket falls!
You get 1 point per dollar on regular purchases, which is equal to a rebate of 1.95%.
You get 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, including hotel and car rentals via Southwest, which is equal to a rebate of 3.9%
Plus you get a free companion pass if you earn 110,000 points in a year from most sources, including earnings from credit card signups and credit card spending! If you earn 110,000 Southwest points in 2013 the pass will be good until 12/31/14. The pass allows you to bring a companion with you for free whenever you fly Southwest, even if you are flying on a free ticket! There is no limit to the number of free companion flights that you can take.
You can open 2 versions of the Southwest card to get to the 110,000 points in a year. If you open 2 cards and spend $5,000 on each you’ll have 110,000 points. That’s $4,290 worth of flights due to the free companion pass!
If the 110,000 points post to your account in 2014 then the free companion pass will be valid through 12/31/15! If you’re going for a companion pass you’ll want to wait to finish your $2,000 in spending until after your mid-December statement closes. The signup points post on the statement after you complete the $2,000 in spending. You have 103 days from when your account is approved to complete that spending.
Points transferred from Ultimate Rewards to Southwest don’t qualify towards companion pass status, but points transferred from Ultimate Rewards into Hyatt and then into Southwest do qualify. So you can transfer 50K Ultimate Rewards points into 50K Hyatt and 50K Hyatt transfers into 30K Southwest.
In other words if you get 50K points from signing up for this credit card you can transfer 100K Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and then into 60K Southwest points, worth about $1,170 towards Southwest travel. Plus then you’ll have a companion pass so that you can bring your companion for free whenever you fly Southwest, so that $1,170 toward Southwest is really doubled to $2,340 because of the free companion ticket. Not a bad value for a 100K Ultimate Rewards transfer.
See this post for more info on the Ultimate Rewards program and associated credit cards.
Transfers to Airtran and Rapid Rewards “1.0”:
You can transfer increments of 1,200 Southwest points into 1 Airtran credit. Here is Airtran’s award chart, which does not price awards according to the cost of the flight. Thus you can get an international round-trip award ticket for just 19,200 Southwest points. These awards are capacity controlled however. A business class upgrade on Airtran is just 4,800 Southwest points.
Once they are in Airtran you can also transfer them back into Southwest’s old Rapid Rewards 1.0 program. In this program awards are just 16 credits (19,200 points) round-trip, no matter how expensive the flight is. These are also capacity controlled, but for some flights you will come out far ahead with this old program.
And as always, Southwest:
-Gives 2 free checked bags per passenger.
-Does not charge change fees to switch your flight. Whether you are on a paid or an award flight you can change without penalty!
-Does not charge a cancellation fee to cancel your flight (you will get Southwest credit for the full amount paid, even on non-refundable wanna get away fares) or to cancel and redeposit your award flight.
-Refunds the fare or point difference if the price of your flight goes down after you buy it, just call to get the credit at any time!
Other Chase consumer cards you can get at the time as the Southwest card include the Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K signup points, no fee the first year, plus 2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), Chase British Airways (50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, and an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a year). Chase Freedom (which gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories and 10% bonus points if you have a Chase checking account), and the Chase United Explorer (which gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance in most countries worldwide besides Israel, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, and more).
The Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Bold business cards both give 50,000 signup points and offer 5 points per dollar on telecom, cable, and office supply stores, 2 points per dollar for gas and lodging, no foreign exchange fees, free lounge visits, and a waived annual fee for the first year.