Southwest’s Rapid Rewards credit cards aren’t necessarily the most rewarding airline credit cards out there for your day-to-day spend, but their lucrative welcome offers, anniversary points bonuses, and relatively low annual fees make them a great addition to any wallet, especially in the wake of the airline’s recent entry into the Hawaii market.
Now, for a limited time, those welcome bonuses just got a welcome boost. Rather than the typical 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months, you can earn 60,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. Those 60,000 points are worth about $900 according to The Points Guy’s valuations, and they can be used to redeem any seat on any Southwest flight (yes, including its new Hawaii flights!), with no change fees, cancellation fees, or checked bag fees.
Veteran points collectors will remember that Southwest briefly offered its Companion Pass benefit for 2019 as part of a welcome offer earlier this year, and yes, that was an unbeatable promotion. But if you only fly once or twice on Southwest this year, you might actually prefer the 60,000 points on $2,000 of spend to the old offer’s 30,000 points and Companion Pass on $4,000 of spend. That extra 30,000 points could easily buy at least a couple of extra flights, and since points don’t expire (as long as you have some sort of account activity every 24 months), you won’t be under any pressure to spend them by the end of 2019.
Personally, Southwest Rapid Rewards points (usually transferred from my Ultimate Rewards account) are my first choice for booking a flight, especially if my dates are a little fuzzy. If I need to change to a more expensive flight, I only have to come up with the difference in points. If I change to a cheaper flight, I actually get the difference in points refunded to my account. And if I need to cancel entirely, I get all my points back instantly, with no fuss. For a non-elite status flyer like myself, no other airline comes close to offering that kind of flexibility.
As a reminder, there are three Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards, and all include the same 60,000 point welcome bonus, but there are some differences:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card -$149 annual fee, includes a $75 annual Southwest travel credit, 20% back on in-flight purchases, four boarding upgrades per year (subject to availability), and a 7,500 point anniversary bonus, and no foreign transaction fees.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card - $99 annual fee, includes a 6,000 point anniversary bonus and no foreign transaction fees.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card - $69 annual fee with a 3,000 point anniversary bonus.
For reasons we’ve outlined here, we generally think that the Priority card is the one to get. Assuming you spend that $75 annual travel credit, you’re essentially getting more annual bonus points than the Premier card for less money, plus four free boarding position upgrades to boot.