You can maximize the value of these cards if you apply now in order to earn 110,000 points in early 2019. You would then earn a companion pass valid through 12/31/20.
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Limited time card signup bonuses
For a limited time, you can earn a higher signup bonus on Southwest cards. Note that you can only have one open Southwest consumer card and one Southwest business card at a time.
- The Chase Southwest Business Premier card has a signup bonus of 60K Southwest points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.
- The card offers 6,000 points every card anniversary, and has no foreign transaction fees. $99 annual fee.
- The Chase Southwest Consumer Priority card has a signup bonus of 40K Southwest points for spending $1,000 in 3 months plus another 20K points for spending another $11,000 in 12 months.
- The card offers some amazing benefits for Southwest loyalists including 4 annual A1-A15 boarding upgrade certificates, $75 in annual Southwest travel credit, 7.5K Southwest points upon every card anniversary, 20% off in-flight purchases, and the ability to earn tier points towards A-List status. $149 annual fee.
- The Chase Southwest Consumer Premier card has a signup bonus of 40K Southwest points for spending $1,000 in 3 months plus another 20K points for spending another $11,000 in 12 months.
- The Chase Southwest Consumer Plus card has a signup bonus of 40K Southwest points for spending $1,000 in 3 months plus another 20K points for spending another $11,000 in 12 months.
- The Chase Ink Cash business card has a signup bonus of 50K Ultimate Rewards points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.
- You can earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent by buying Southwest gift cards on Staples.com or at an office supply store.
|Card||Southwest Consumer Priority||Southwest Consumer Plus||Southwest Consumer Premier||Southwest Business Premier||Chase Ink Cash Business|
|Signup bonus||40K Southwest points for spending $1K in 3 months plus an additional 20K Southwest points for spending another $11K in 12 months||40K Southwest points for spending $1K in 3 months plus an additional 20K Southwest points for spending another $11K in 12 months||40K Southwest points for spending $1K in 3 months plus an additional 20K Southwest points for spending another $11K in 12 months||60K Southwest points for spending $3K in 3 months||50K Chase points for spending $3K in 3 months|
|Anniversary Bonus||7.5K Southwest points||3K Southwest points||6K Southwest points||6K Southwest points||None|
|Annual Southwest travel credit||$75||None||None||None||None|
|Annual Southwest A1-A15 boarding upgrade certificates||4||None||None||None||None|
|Points per dollar spent on Southwest||2||2||2||2||5 if you buy Southwest gift cards on Staples.com or in office supply stores|
|Points per dollar spend elsewhere||1||1||1||1||5 on telecom, office supplies, and gift cards from office supply stores, 2 on gas and dining, 1 elsewhere|
|Cash back on Southwest in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies.||20%||None||None||None||None|
|Points count towards companion pass||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Foreign transaction fees||0%||3%||0%||0%||3%|
|Tier qualifying points towards A-list Status||1.5K tier points for every $10K spent, up to $100K annually||None||None||None||None|
|Visa Savings Edge cash back||None||None||None||Yes||Yes|
Value of Southwest points
The value of Southwest points is variable based on the paid fare.
If you’ll redeem points for an average of 1.65 cents each, that makes a 60K signup bonus worth $990. If you qualify for a companion pass that number can double to a whopping $1,980 signup bonus.
- A one-way Los Angeles-San Francisco nonstop flight on 1/8 is $48.98 with tax. It can also be bought for 2,524 points plus $5.60 tax. So 2,524 points gets you a value of $43.38 ($48.98 airfare less the $5.60 tax on the points ticket), imputing a value of 1.72 cents (43.38/2,524) per point.
- A one-way Newark-Ft. Lauderdale nonstop flight on 1/29 is $50.98 with tax. It can also be bought for 2,669 points plus $5.60 tax. So 2,669 points gets you a value of $45.38 ($50.98 airfare less the $5.60 tax on the points ticket), imputing a value of 1.7 cents (47.38/2,669) per point.
- A one-way Phiuladelphia-Orlando nonstop flight on 1/15 is $50.98 with tax. It can also be bought for 2,669 points plus $5.60 tax. So 2,669 points gets you a value of $45.38 ($50.98 airfare less the $5.60 tax on the points ticket), imputing a value of 1.7 cents (47.38/2,669) per point.
- A one-way LaGuardia-Chicago nonstop flight on 1/15 is $52.98 with tax. It can also be bought for 2,814 points plus $5.60 tax. So 2,814 points gets you a value of $47.38 ($52.98 airfare less the $5.60 tax on the points ticket), imputing a value of 1.68 cents (47.38/2,814) per point.
- A one-way LaGuardia-Fort Lauderdale nonstop flight on 1/13 is $93.98 with tax. It can also be bought for 5,789 points plus $5.60 tax. So 5,644 points gets you a value of $88.38 ($93.98 airfare less the $5.60 tax on the points ticket), imputing a value of 1.53 cents (88.38/5,789) per point.
- A one-way LaGuardia-Denver nonstop flight on 1/13 is $90.98 with tax. It can also be bought for 5,571 points plus $5.60 tax. So 5,789 points gets you a value of $85.38 ($90.98 airfare less the $5.60 tax on the points ticket), imputing a value of 1.53 cents (85.38/5,571) per point.
- A one-way Newark-San Diego nonstop flight on 1/13 is $128.98 with tax. It can also be bought for 8,329 points plus $5.60 tax. So 8,329 points gets you a value of $123.38 ($128.98 airfare less the $5.60 tax on the points ticket), imputing a value of 1.48 cents (123.38/8,329) per point.
Annual travel credit
If you have the Priority card you’ll get reimbursed for $75 in annual spending on Southwest flights! Between the Priority card’s annual 7.5K point bonus and the annual travel credit, you’ll get about $200 of Southwest travel every year, more than covering the card’s annual fee.
Upgraded boarding certificates
If you have the Priority card you’ll get reimbursed for 4 annual purchases of upgraded A1-A15 boarding positions so that you can get some of the best seats on the plane. Southwest is increasing these fees so that thsy cost $15-$25 per leg, so this is a benefit worth up to $100 per year.
20% cash back on in-flight purchases
If you have the Priority card you’ll get 20% cash back on top of points for purchases of drinks, messaging, movies, and Wi-Fi on Southwest flights!
Free changes and cancellations. Lock in low fares with no penalty
While other mileage currencies charge up to $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 carry-ons and 2 free checked bags per person, that’s a lot of added value. A family of 4 needing to cancel award tickets on another airline would set you back $400-$800 versus it being a free change on Southwest. A family of 4 checking 2 bags each would run $560 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.
Southwest allows you to redeem points for any seat on any flight. There are no blackout dates or capacity controls.
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 will refund your points if the price of your award ticket falls! Just rebook your trip online for the same dates or give them a call for the credit.
Southwest points will never expire as long as you earn points every 24 months.
Don’t fly? Redeem for gift cards!
You can also use 60,000 points to get $600 worth of gift cards to places like Alamo, Amazon, Avis, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Brooks Brothers, Budget, Carnival Cruises, Express, Fairmont, Gap, Hertz, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Macy’s, National, Nike, Saks, Sea World, Shutterfly, Staples, Starbucks, Target, The Children’s Place, TJMaxx, Walmart, Zappos and more.
Companion pass and A-List Status
You can get a free companion pass if you earn 110,000 points in a year from select sources, including earnings from credit card signups and credit card spending! If you earn 110,000 Southwest points in 2019 the pass will be good until 12/31/20. 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! That effectively doubles the value of your Southwest points. There is no limit to the number of free companion flights that you can take.
You’ll want to hold off on meeting the spending threshold so that the card signup bonus points post to your account in 2019 in order that the companion pass will expire at the end of 2020.
While Chase no longer allows you to signup for a consumer Southwest card if you already have one, you can signup for a business Southwest card even if you have a consumer Southwest card open.
Or, you can always put items like federal taxes on a Southwest card to help hit the spending you would need to hit 110K points earned in a year. You’ll pay a 1.87% processing fee, but if you take advantage of the points earned from spending and the companion pass free travel that can be worthwhile.
The Southwest Priority card also earns 1,500 tier points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent. You can earn a maximum of 15,000 tier points annually. You can learn more about A-List status here.
Cash back on top of points
Chase business cards in the chart above are eligible for additional cash back via Visa Savings Edge. That means you can get points plus 2% cash back at Chevron, Sheetz, AutoZone, or Texaco. You’ll earn points plus 3% cash back at Boost Mobile. You’ll earn points plus 4% cash back at Alamo, National, and MGM hotels. You’ll earn points plus 5% cash back at Lenovo and Wyndham hotels.
Business card information, benefits, and 5/24
2 of the cards in the chart above are business cards, but you may already have a business that needs a card to keep track of expenses. For example if your name is Joe Smith and you sell items online, or if you have any other side business and want a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures you can open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business. You don’t need to file any messy government paperwork to be allowed to do that. Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field.
It’s important to just write your own name as the business name if you are just applying for your own small business as a Sole Proprietorship that doesn’t have any business paperwork.
All of the cards in this post are subject to 5/24 restrictions, read more about that here.
However, it’s important to note that business cards from most banks, including Chase business cards, do not get added to your 5/24 count of recently opened cards. That’s because business cards from most banks don’t show up on your personal credit report and the 5/24 count is based off of your personal credit report.
Another benefit of business cards not reporting on your personal credit report is that your credit score won’t be hurt when you spend money on your cards. When you spend money on personal cards your score will be hurt even if you pay your bill on time. That’s because a whopping 30% of your credit score is based on credit utilization, so you lose lots of points even if you pay your bills before the statement due date. You can pay off your credit card bill before your statement close date to avoid that, but that takes effort and laying out money well before you have to. Additionally it’s good to have the statement close with a couple dollars to show the card is active and being paid every month. On business cards from banks like AMEX and Chase the spending is not reported on your personal credit report, so you can wait until the money is due without it having a negative effect on your score. That also means if you close the card, it won’t have an effect on your credit score.
As always, Southwest benefits include:
- 2 free checked bags per passenger.
- No change fees to switch your flight. Whether you are on a paid or an award flight you can change without penalty!
- No 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.
- A refund of 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 before your flight!
Will you signup for any Southwest cards?