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Chase has brought back a limited time 50,000 point sign-up bonus on their co-branded Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card after spending $2,000 within three months. The card has a $99 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year.
Southwest has a revenue based frequent flyer program, and you have to redeem 70 points per dollar of airfare on “Wanna Get Away” fares. That means once you complete the minimum spend you’ll have enough points for ~$714 worth of airfare on “Wanna Get Away” fares. Not bad just for applying for a credit card and meeting the minimum spend, if you ask me!
While flying Southwest perhaps isn’t the most “aspirational” award redemption, it is incredibly practical. I do think this is a great option for domestic travel, both for how generous the sign-up bonus is, and the 6,000 points you receive each anniversary which helps offset the annual fee.
Also keep in mind that if you rack up 110,000 points in a year you’ll earn Companion Pass with Southwest, which allows someone else to travel with you for the entire year. This is really one of the most compelling values in the airline industry, and frankly I’m amazed that they still offer it given just how generous it is. Now’s a great time to get the card, since the Companion Pass status you earn would be valid through 2015. I’d argue this is possibly the single biggest value that can be had from the card.
For what it’s worth this isn’t a card I would be putting everyday spend on unless you want to earn Companion Pass. You earn one point per dollar spent on everyday purchases with this card, which is the equivalent of ~1.43 cents towards airfare per dollar spent.
If you wanted to earn rewards that enable you to fly Southwest you’d be better off putting spend on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, which offers the equivalent of a 2.22% return which you could apply towards travel on Southwest. That being said, the big benefit of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is that points earned count towards Companion Pass, which isn’t the case with any other card.