Southwest Visa Credit Card: New Card Promotion Details

I love Southwest Airlines.

We live about 20 minutes away from Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), one of Southwest’s “hubs,” and the vast majority of our flights are on Southwest Airlines.

When it comes to an airline’s rewards credit cards, I’d argue that there are few cards are generous as the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card issued by Chase. We’ve had the Premier version of the card for many years and every single year we’re able to renew our Companion Pass, a perk that lets my wife fly whenever I fly.

One of the reasons why the card is so powerful has to do with the signup bonus. It’s usually a whopping 50,000 points after spending just $2,000 in the first three months. We put all of our spending on it and with a family of four (OK, it’s really just daycare), it’s not hard to spend $2,000 in the time limit.

The promotion, like many promotions, comes and goes. Southwest and Chase periodically try different amounts, different structures, so we’ll keep this page updated with the latest information.

Table of Contents
  1. The Best Southwest Offer is…
  2. Other Things to Remember
  3. Plus vs. Premier vs. Priority Southwest Cards
    1. Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
    2. Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
    3. Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
  4. How much are Rapid Rewards Points worth?
  5. The Credit Card Rewards Structure

The Best Southwest Offer is…

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card

The current status of the signup offer is 50,000 bonus points. 🙂

This is a pretty amazing bonus offer. You get Companion Pass plus points in this promotion, which is something I haven’t seen in a long long time.

Here are the best offers on those cards (currently the bonus is all the same):

Do you run a business? If so, the new Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business credit card will give you 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. Then get an additional 30,000 points after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first six months. There’s a $199 annual fee but you also get 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.

Other Things to Remember

For as long as I’ve been tracking this, 60,000 points is the best offer they’ve ever promoted. Sometimes they mix in a free Companion Pass for a few months but this offer is the first I’ve seen for so many points PLUS Companion Pass.

This offer, if you can meet the spending requirements, is very strong.

Historically, Southwest will pop up 60,000 point offer for $X,XXX in spend like it did for a brief period in 2017 and early 2019. Sometimes, it’ll be over two tiers. Also, from time to time, they only offer 40,000 or even as little as 25,000 points. 40,000 points is OK, especially if you’re trying to make Companion Pass, but 25,000 points is terrible. Don’t go for that one.

What to do based on the offer you see:

  • CP + 30,000 RR points: This active offer is only the second time I’ve ever seen it. I don’t see why you wouldn’t go for it since you get Companion Pass for a year.
  • 100,000 RR points: This tiered offer, where you can get 50,000 for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months and then an another 50,000 when you spend $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months is a no brainer.
  • 60,000 RR points: If you see a 60,000 point or more offer, snatch that up quickly. It’s straightforward and the 2nd best offer available.
  • 50,000 RR points: This used to be the most common offer, usually by referral but sometimes without.
  • 40,000 RR points: Unless you have a compelling reason to take it right now, wait until the most common 50,000 point offer or better appears. The 40,000 offer is looking like the most common base offer these days.
  • 25,000 RR points: This is a hard pass. If you only see the 25,000 point offer, definitely wait. The 50,000 points is the most common and that’s twice as many points!.

Personally, I believe anything 50,000 points or more is good enough to take immediately but that’ll depend on your needs.

Plus vs. Premier vs. Priority Southwest Cards

There are three credit cards linked to the Rapid Rewards program – the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card. They are very similar.

Which one should you take? There isn’t a tremendous amount of differentiation between the offers so it’s truly up to you.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

  • Sign-up Promotion: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Anniversary points: 3,000
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Tier Qualifying Points: 0
  • Annual Fee: $69

compare this card with others

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

  • Sign-up Promotion: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Anniversary points: 6,000
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0
  • Tier Qualifying Points: 1,500 towards A-List
  • Annual Fee: $99

compare this card with others

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

  • Sign-up Promotion: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Anniversary points: 7,500
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0
  • Tier Qualifying Points: 1,500 towards A-List
  • Annual Fee: $149 (you get a $75 travel credit)

compare this card with others

As you can see, the big difference between Plus and Premier is the anniversary points and annual fee. You get the anniversary points on your account’s anniversary date, which coincides with when the annual fee is assessed. 3,000 points is worth about $48 so that covers the $30 difference in the annual fee, assuming you use your points regularly. The 1,500 points towards A-List is a nice little bump too, as you need 35,000 TQP to get A-List.

The foreign transaction fee perk matters if you travel a lot. The Premier Card is a Visa Signature card, which does not charge a foreign transaction fee. Those are assessed on many cards when you make a purchase in another currency. You get the prevailing exchange rate but the fee is added on afterwards. Not having to pay is better than paying. 🙂

The Priority Card is a newer entrant and in a slightly higher category. We do a deeper dive into the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card but there’s a higher annual fee plus a travel credit in addition to the larger bonus for a greater spend.

Unfortunately, you can’t apply for all the cards and get points.

How much are Rapid Rewards Points worth?

The easiest way to figure out the value of each point, which I always think of as ~1.2 cents each (as of May 2021), is to compare a flight cost in dollars and in points.

Let’s say I look at this flight from BWI to SFO in dollars:

Now points:

Let’s compare:

  • The Wanna Get Away Fares for Flight 2193 / 1654 at 6:10am costs $398 or 28,937 – 1.375 cents per point.
  • For Flight 400 / 365 at 7:00am, they cost $403 or 28,937 – 1.39 cents per point.
  • Bump up to Anytime flights and $630-635 flights will cost you 46,850 – 1.35 cents per point.
  • Lastly, Business Select is the least valuable – $665-$670 flights are 49,551 – 1.34 cents per point.

It’s also best to calculate it with the flights you take the most to get its true value. For us, it’s BWI to Long Island / Islip Airport. For those, a $125 one-way Wanna Get Away flight will typically cost us 8,539 points – a rate of 1.46 cents a point.

If you don’t want to do the math, just consider them worth about a penny apiece. That’ll be conservative enough to help you make a positive decision each time.

The Credit Card Rewards Structure

The rewards structure after the bonus is fairly straightforward.

On the Plus card, You earn 2X points on Southwest purchases; 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare; and 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.

The Premier and Priority cards give you an even better 3X points on Southwest purchases and the same 2X points in the other spending categories.

The Rapid Rewards points themselves do not expire as long as your Southwest account is active. Southwest Rapid Rewards accounts are active as long as there is any activity on the account, which includes having a credit card. When you fly, that is considered an activity as well. The accounts themselves are deactivated after 24 months of inactivity, so you have to go a very long time before you risk deactivation.

Learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. Marli says

    I applied for both the Premier and the Plus cards in January. I was approved for both. I had companion status by March. Best travel card ever!!!

      • James says

        The section you highlighted about the change in rules reads – to me – as though you can’t get the bonus if you’re a current cardholder. And since traditionally they’ve seemed to view the Plus and Premier as two separate cards and not two versions of the same product, it seems like getting both would still get you the bonus. Have you confirmed with Chase that you can’t get both cards with the bonuses?

        We’ve utilized the companion pass for the last two years and are hoping to again next year. Fingers crossed!

      • Kenneth says

        Thanks I was hoping there was still a 50,000 personal card points sign up promotion. When do you expect the next one might be?

        • Jim Wang says

          Ahhhh, I don’t know but it’s been a while since I’ve seen it but perhaps we’ll see it at the beginning of the year? We’ll see.

  2. Euclid says

    There IS a 50k Southwest credit card offer! If you sign up at the AIRPORT, you can get it! I just flew JetBlue (which shares a hub with Southwest in Burbank airport), and the lady was there with the 50k Southwest offer after spending $2,000 in 3 months. Almost all of us will fly soon for the holidays, so look out for it and take advantage!

    • Cecelia hanson says

      Was that available through a link on southwest wifi? Or just available at the airport? Thank you

  3. Millionaire Mob says

    Jim – Love this post. I earned the SW Companion Pass for 2018-2019. I love it. It’s so easy to book. My only knock is that SW doesn’t have good direct flights from my location!

  4. Rosie says

    So if I’m a current SW card holder, I can’t take advantage of CP? When I signed on, I got 50K points but saw nothing of CP. any suggestions?

    • Jim Wang says

      Unfortunately you can’t take advantage of this offer because you already have the card. If you got it this year, you can try to get an extra 60K points to get to 110K. That’ll get you CP for this year and next year.

      Also, for what it’s worth, the extra 20K points are worth about $320 in flights if you value each point at 1.6¢. So unless you travel (with a companion) heavily, it’s not a huge difference.

  5. Kirk says

    I have a current Personal Premier card which I received the bonus in July of 2017. Based on the new bonus contract language, it sounds like I need to cancel the Personal Premier card before I would be eligible for the $60,000.00 bonus. How long does it have to be canceled for before making a new application? 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, etc? Also since I received the bonus in July of 2017 on the Premier card, would I be eligible for the bonus of the Plus Card now(assuming my Premier card is canceled) or do I need to wait until Aug 2019?

    • Jim Wang says

      You have to wait two years between bonuses, so you’d be eligible in August of 2019.

      As for canceling, you have to wait 60 days afterwards before they will recognize that you’re no longer a cardmember.

  6. Kelly says

    I read it says the points can take up to 8 weeks to post to your account, in respect to the signing bonus, would that be 8 weeks from when you hit $2,000 spent, or after the 3 month window?

    • Jim Wang says

      It’s usually from the end of the statement period when you hit the $2,000 – not after the 3 month window.

      • Mark Hagewood says

        Is it says it “can” take that long, but does it usually? What’s the average time for the bonus points to post?

        • Jim Wang says

          I’m afraid I don’t know. Based on the “up to 8 weeks” phrasing, which is how long it takes for two statements, my guess is that it posts after a full statement cycle to account for returns.

          So let’s say your statements end on the last day of the month (for simplicity) and you hit the $2,000 on February 2nd, two days into a new statement. Their system probably registers that you completed the bonus on February 28th, and then awards on the next statement which will be March 31st. Almost 8 weeks.

          If you hit the $2,000 on February 27th, then it registers the bonus on February 28th, and posts after March 31st – only 4 weeks since you hit the bonus near the end of a statement.

          That’s all speculation though.

  7. Bekah says

    I see an offer to earn 40k points with 1000 spent in 3 months and an additional 35k points with 5000$ spent in 6 months. I don’t see the companion pass mentioned as a benefit, though. Does that mean you have to wait for an offer citing it as a benefit or is it always a benefit to can reach with any of the cards anytime?

    • Jim Wang says

      Companion Pass is a perk of Southwest Rapid Rewards members (the loyalty program of Southwest Airlines) and the credit card points feed into that program. The reason why the card doesn’t list it as a perk is that it’s not a credit card perk but an airline loyalty program perk. When you get the card, you associate a Rapid Rewards number with it (where they send the points). When you hit 125,000 points, Southwest awards you the Companion Pass.

  8. Ashley says

    Do you know if you can combine the current 75K sign-up bonus w a referral bonus link offer (40k)?

  9. Dwight Yawn says

    I applied for a Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card just prior to the ending date of the 65,000 points promotion. My application was approved, but it was after the promotion date had ended. Will I receive the 65,000 bonus or the 40,000 bonus that is now offered.
    Thank you very much.

    • Jim Wang says

      You’ll have to contact them to know for sure but if you applied before the previous deadline, you should get the higher promotion amount.

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