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Southwest Airlines and Chase from time to time release a 50,000 point Southwest Rapid Rewards® offer when you sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Those points have a value of up to $700 in ‘Wanna Get Away’ airfare.
And sometimes the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card get in on the 50k action as well. Otherwise, the bonuses for points you can use on Southwest are with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.) and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening). They let you transfer points directly into your Southwest account, though they don’t count toward Companion Pass status.
If you want a Southwest card, these are the current offers:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card — Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year, $69 annual fee
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card — Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year., $99 annual fee
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card — Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open., $99 annual fee
Earn your way toward Companion Pass
While the points themselves are valuable, Southwest credit card bonuses for Companion Pass status qualification are the real draw for many, and getting two of these 60k bonuses this year can earn you Companion Pass for the rest of this year and all of next year.
- Companion Pass allows you bring a companion along for free on every Southwest flight you fly for more than a year. You must pay some modest taxes and airport fees. That includes both flights you pay for in cash and flights you book with points, so your points can effectively have double the value.
- The Companion Pass status requires 110,000 Rapid Rewards® qualifying points earned in a single calendar year (Jan-Dec), and the qualifying points can be earned via flying, using a Southwest credit card, or using Southwest hotel / car rental partners. It is valid for the rest of the year you qualify as well as the entire following year.
- (Example: Earn 110,000 points from Feb-April 2017, you will get companion pass status for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018.)
- If you get 2 Southwest credit cards during a 60,000 point promotion period you could earn over 120,000 points very quickly – more than the 110,000 points earned in a calendar year you need for Companion Pass.
- Your bonus points will post with the statement that closes in the month that you meet the spending threshold for your bonus offer. If you plan to apply for two cards make sure all your bonus points post in the same calendar year to qualify for Companion Pass.
- As an example, if you open 2 cards in October that require you to spend $2000 in 3 months, you should wait until January to put the last of the $2,000 spend on each card so that all the points will count towards the 110,000 needed for the companion pass in the following year.
- You wouldn’t want to meet the threshold in November, get 100,000 bonus points but NOT get to 110,000 points in that calendar year, meaning you’d have to start over on your points earning once January rolls around.
The Marriott and Hyatt options
Update: As of March 31, 2017, transferring hotel points to Southwest no longer counts toward Companion Pass status.
The conversion rates for Marriott points are as follows
- 10,000 Marriott = 2,000 Southwest points
- 20,000 Marriott = 5,000 Southwest
- 30,000 Marriott = 10,000 Southwest
- 70,000 Marriott = 25,000 Southwest
- 140,000 Marriott = 50,000 Southwest
And there are three Marriott credit cards, each with their own sign-on bonuses that you can take advantage of if you’re in search of Southwest points. We keep a list of deals here, checked daily. You can also transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred to Marriott, and then to Southwest and get Companion Pass credit.
If you have a lot of Marriott points your best deal is to get a Hotel + Air package. For example you can get 120,000 Rapid Rewards points (enough for Companion Pass on its own) plus 7 nights at any Category 1-5 Marriott hotel for 270,000 Marriott points. That’s actually cheaper than doing non-package transfers to get 120,000 Southwest points, which would cost 340,000 points, and you get the hotel nights thrown in.
Other Cards for Southwest Points
If you already have Southwest credit cards, there are other credit card offers that earn you points you can transfer into your Southwest account with no fees. It’s easy – you can see the guide to how it works here using the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.
You should be aware that transfers from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card don’t count toward Companion Pass. The only credit card points that count toward Companion Pass are those you earn from a Chase credit card that has a Southwest logo on it.
Below are the Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card offers with points you can transfer to your Southwest account – and you can still get the Southwest credit cards for bonuses – it’s okay to hold both.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
50,000 bonus points
2X points on travel and dining
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
See additional details for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Offer details: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Offer value: Points transfer 1:1 to Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
The below cards are for small business expenses, though if you are not incorporated and just one person you may still qualify – for example selling items on eBay or babysitting can be considered a business.
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
- Offer details: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Offer value: Points transfer 1:1 to Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
0% for 12 Months
$500 bonus cash back
Earn 5% cash back in select business categories
- Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
- Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- No Annual Fee
See additional details for Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
- Offer details: Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Offer value: Note, you must have an Ultimate Rewards credit card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card to be able to transfer points earned from the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card.