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For those who fly Southwest Airlines frequently and are members of the Rapid Rewards loyalty program, adding the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card to your wallet can help pad your Rapid Rewards mileage bank.
The card offers the following sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year. You can also earn bonus points each year on your cardmember anniversary, and earn tier qualifying points toward A-List status. Still, you should also be aware that the card does charge a $99 annual fee.
We’ll break down whether you’re eligible for the sign-up bonus, ways you can use your points and other factors to consider when evaluating whether this card is right for you.
In this article:
- Are you eligible for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card sign-up bonus?
- How can you use your sign-up bonus?
- Transferring rewards
- Other ways to earn rewards
- The bottom line
Are you eligible for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card sign-up bonus?
You won’t be able to earn this sign-up bonus if:
- You already have one of the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards.
- You previously had one of the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards and received a new cardmember bonus within the past 24 months.
Note that the first point does not apply to business and employee cards, so if you’re a business owner with a Southwest Rapids Rewards business credit card — or if you’re an employee who has been issued such a business card — you can still earn the bonus on your personal card.
To earn the sign-up bonus, you’ll need to make at least $1,000 worth of purchases within the first three months from opening your account — that averages out to a little more than $333 each month. The following types of transactions don’t count toward the spending requirement:
- Balance transfers
- Cash advances
- Travelers checks
- Foreign currency
- Money orders
- Wire transfers or similar cash-like transactions
- Lottery tickets
- Casino gambling chips
- Race track wagers or similar betting transactions
- Any checks that access your account
- Unauthorized or fraudulent charges
- Fees of any kind (including an annual fee, if applicable)
How can you use your sign-up bonus?
The best way to use your points is to book flights through Southwest Airlines. In addition to earning the Southwest Companion Pass, which allows one person to fly with you free every time you buy or redeem points for a Southwest ticket (you will still have to pay taxes and fees), you can earn bonus points.
The number of points required to cover a ticket will vary depending on a variety of factors, including where you want to go and when you plan to travel. Pay attention to when tickets go on sale, because those flights will require fewer points to cover a booking. Southwest covers more than 99 destinations in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.
One downside, though, is that you can’t mix points and dollars — you must have enough points to cover the cost of the entire ticket. However, you can book a one-way ticket with points, then book another one-way ticket back with out-of-pocket money, rather than booking a round-trip ticket.
Through the More Rewards program, you can also use points for the following:
- Gift cards
- International flights
- Hotel stays
- Rental cars
- Cruises, spa packages and more
However, always do the math when choosing a redemption option and make sure you’re getting a good value. For example, a $25 Apple App Store gift card will cost you 3,000 Southwest points, which means you’re getting about $0.0083 per point. Getting less than 1 cent per point is a weak redemption value, so you’re probably better off using your points for travel.
Though you can’t transfer your Southwest points to another loyalty program, you can transfer your points to another Southwest member. But there is a cost — 1 cent per point.
That’s pretty steep, so unless you’re set on using your points as a gift, it’s probably better not to transfer them. What would be the better option is to use your points to buy a ticket for that person.
If you do decide to transfer points, the minimum amount to transfer is 2,000, and you can transfer the points in blocks of 1,000 (during promotional periods) or blocks of 500 (in non- promotional periods). The daily maximum to transfer is 60,000 points.
Other ways to earn rewards
Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
One great thing about these points? They can help you earn Southwest’s valuable Companion Pass, which you can earn by racking up 125,000 qualifying points (or by flying 100 qualifying one-way flights) in the course of a calendar year.
Another way this card helps you earn points is when you receive 6,000 bonus points every account anniversary year.
Finally, you can earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 you spend on purchases, up to $100,000 spent per calendar year — that’s a maximum of 15,000 TQPs per year. TQPs help you toward A-List Status, which can be earned either by making 25 qualifying one-way flights or by earning 35,000 TQPs (both requirements are for a calendar year).
A-List Status on Southwest Airlines comes with the following benefits:
- Priority boarding
- Priority check-in and security lane access
- 25% earning bonus (earn bonus points on qualifying flights)
- Dedicated A-List member phone line
- Free same-day standby in case you want an earlier flight
The bottom line
If you fly Southwest Airlines frequently and want to earn rewards points you can use toward flights — and if you don’t mind a $99 annual fee — the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card could be a good card for you.
In addition to a generous sign-up bonus, the card offers great value if you earn the Companion Pass each year.