Credit Card Updates: Southwest 50,000 points, Hilton 50,000 points, & Virgin Atlantic 65,000 miles

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It is not all doom and gloom with credit card sign-up bonuses, despite one version of the British Airways 100,000 point card ending today.  Here are a few updates, and I’m sure there will be more good news soon.

1. 50,000 points Chase Southwest cards.  Traveling For Free lets us know that one of my favorite credit card offers – the 50,000 point Southwest offer is back!

The only difference is that you have to spend $1,000 on each card within 3 months (previously you received the points after the 1st purchase) to get the 50,000 point sign-up bonus which is worth $835 in free travel on Southwest.  The annual fee is not waived for the 1st year.

For most folks, this is the best sign-up bonus for domestic travel within the US, and Southwest is likely to fly to Hawaii and Mexico in the next few years.  With Southwest, you can book any seat available for sale using points, so it is very easy to use Southwest points.

Even better, the credit card sign-up bonus likely still counts towards the Companion Pass status which, in my opinion, is the best airline perk available.  So 1 business and 1 personal card could get you 100,000 points towards the 110,000 points needed for a Southwest Companion Pass.

Emily and I will be using our Southwest Companion Pass for 6 consecutive weekends this summer!

I’ve updated the Airline credit card tab with links to the 50,000 point personal Southwest Plus and Premier cards and the business versions as well.  It doesn’t hurt to ask to get matched to the higher offer if you applied for a version with a lower sign-on bonus within the last 3 months.

2.  50,000 point American Express Hilton Honors.  FreeFrequentFlyerMiles found an offer for a 50,000 point American Express Hilton card which expires on August 31, 2o12 & is better than the regular 40,000 point version.  As always, I updated the Hotel Credit Card page as soon as I found the link.

I like this card because it doesn’t have an annual fee and it gets me access to discounted Hilton VIP and AXON awards.

3.   65,000 miles (50,000 miles really) Virgin Atlantic.   I updated the link to the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic credit card.  You get 20,000 Virgin Atlantic miles after your 1st purchase, another 25,000 after spending $2,500 within 3 months and another 5,000 miles for adding 2 users to your card.

You can then transfer 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles to 100,000 Hilton hotel points.

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74 responses to “Credit Card Updates: Southwest 50,000 points, Hilton 50,000 points, & Virgin Atlantic 65,000 miles

  1. Is the Amex Hilton churnable?

  2. Whoa! I want to hear about the 6 consecutive trips you and Emily are taking this summer.

  3. IS there a fee for the Bank of America Card? Also if I haven’t churned my US Airways cards since January should I again.. and What do I do with the old cards when the fee becomes time to be payed?


  4. Also.. I don’t have a SPG card. When should I get one. I’m also so confused as to when to cancel the fee cards. I understand about the Hilton Card. We now have 3 but there are no fees so why cancel? Should we ever cancel? We just bought my son a $125,000 condo and me a new $65,000 BMW shoot they only let me use my card for $2500.. but do we just keep 30 cards. Also our US airways card was compromised. So when do we cancel. Thats my main concern?

  5. For the Amex Hilton Card, I have made the $750 spent. Should I receive the 50k points upon closing of the lst statement? Also, when do I receive the 20k points after lst spending on B of A Virgin Atlantic? When should I receive the points for the 2 Authorized Users. (did one online and one to confirm approval of card)?

  6. Hi,

    I wonder when I can start using southwest miles for airtran flight? thanks.

    • @alohastephen – I haven’t tried, but perhaps every 2 years or so after cancelling. But I really do plan on keeping this for a long time because it has no annual fee.

      @Kay – Will post on it at some point, but they have mostly been quick weekend trips or visits to family.

      @Carla – The Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card does have a $90 fee which is not waived. I’d wait a bit for the SPG card since they had a slightly higher bonus the last few years in summer. If you have 3 Hilton cards of the same type, you could cancel 2 and keep 1 which has no fees to help with the credit score. I usually cancel cards which have a fee after 8 to 9 months, unless the card has a benefit which makes it worth keeping.

      @sil – You usually get the points or miles when the statement in which you complete the minimum spending or 1st purchase closes.

      @allen – You can transfer Southwest points to Air Tran credits and use for flights on Air Tran, but there are capacity controls on available seats.

      @Alysia – Some readers have managed to get the bonus for both the personal versions, but your miles may vary.

      – Thanks for sharing and 30,000 points is certainly better than 18,000!

  7. For the Chase Southwest cards, is it possible to get both the personal cards (Plus and Premeire) as well as one of the business cards? Thanks!

  8. I just noticed today that Wyndham Visa increased their bonus miles as well:
    * 30000 miles after first purchase (used to be 18000)
    * 6000 miles on anniversary (new feature)
    * $69 annual fee (used to be $39)

    Not one of the headliner cards, but a good use of a TransUnion inquiry for me 🙂

  9. Do you think that if you have previously signed up for the old southwest card (Nov ’11) you would still get the bonus on this one?

  10. I’m wondering the same thing as Evan. I got the Premiere cards back in the fall (the personal one at least), and both Plus versions in the spring. How likely would it be to get those bonuses again?

  11. Hi
    I just got the Hilton Honors amex 4ok card —
    do you know if they will honor the new 50k deal for “newer” folks like me —
    Also just want to let you know how much benefit we are getting out of your posts — Just booked our Trip Boston to Milan — free airfare for my wife and myself – also used Citi thankyou points for the 14 day rental car booking — net net — whole trip will cost 250 fees for airfar and 15$ for rental car — so $265 for 2 to Italy for two weeks with car! You are awesome.

  12. @Daraius – Did you read something about the the sign up bonuses still being eligible towards the Southwest Companion Pass? I was reading somewhere that it got canceled earlier this year.

  13. @rilys, sign-up bonus counts for CP, i just got it last month.

  14. Has anyone who previously had a SWA credit card received the 50k Bonus. Below is from their “fine print”:
    This one-time bonus offer is valid only for first-time Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards personal Cardmembers with new accounts. Previous and existing Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards personal Cardmembers/accounts are not eligible for this bonus offer.

  15. @MMS – Thanks for the shoutout!

  16. Daraius,
    My Southwest situation:
    1. July 2011 – Southwest Plus personal: Got the points then canceled it after a couple months
    2. Oct 2011 – Southwest Premier personal: Still am using it to this date. Maybe I’ll cancel before applying for one of the business cards listed here. But I’m sure this will raise a flag.
    3. May 2012 – Hyatt visa card – still using.
    4. July 2012 (last week) – Ink Bold and BA card, along with 4 different cards from other banks

    I really want the 50k because I’m short 34k in making the companion status this year, but then I just got 2 chase cards last week. I have not been rejected so far after calling the reconsideration line and give them a good story (crossing my fingers).

    Will this be too much of a risk? As Chase application has that scary question “have you been denied a Chase credit card within the last 6 months.”

    Should I, should I not? Thanks for any advice! And thanks for Daraius to for this great site!

  17. Groeder,
    “I just got the Hilton Honors amex 4ok card —
    do you know if they will honor the new 50k deal for “newer” folks like me –”

    Maybe you’ll do better than me — I received the 40k Amex Hilton Honors only 3 weeks ago but they wouldn’t match the 50k when I called them just now. Oh well.

    Great post, though, Daraius!


  18. @ Groeder;

    I just got the HHonors card as well. the stmt closed on 7/9, the 40k points posted on 7/10. send a secure msg on7/14 thru amex website asking them to match the 50k offer.

    below is the response from amex:

    I understand your concern regarding the offer on your account.

    I checked your account and see that the offer linked to your account is as follows :

    “Non-Cardmembers who apply and are approved for The Hilton HHonors Credit Card from American Express between August 15, 2011 and December 31, 2012, can earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points once they spend $750 on the Card within the first 90 days of Cardmembership.”

    These points were issued to your account on 07/09/2012.

    I checked your account but was not able to see the 50,000 bonus points offer being solicited to you.

    All our promotions are time bound, solicited and unique. They cannot be applied manually to an account on which they were not solicited.

    While this particular offer is not available to you, we are always creating new offers to help our existing Cardmembers earn more bonus points. When an offer becomes available to you, we will send you a letter or email explaining the opportunity and how you can take advantage of it.

    We do hope you understand.


    • @evan @seth – If you signed up for the earlier SW card which offered a free flight credit (not points) you may be able to get the bonus again. If you applied for the new Plus card, you should be able to get the bonus on the new Plus business card or perhaps even the Premier card, but ymmv.

      @groeder – Congrats and thanks for sharing! I wasn’t able to get bumped (I applied for the 50K version too).

      – It has worked for readers earlier this year, but as always, ymmv. But even without the Companion Pass, the cards are a great deal.

      – I got the bonus from a previous SW card with the free flight credits, and also later got the 50K bonus.

      @Traveling For Free
      – Thanks for posting it.

      @Tine – I really can’t comment on your specific situation, but I’d wait a few months before applying. But only you can asses the level of risk you’re willing to take.

      @David @Dan – I wasn’t able to get matched to the 50K version either.

  19. Is SW the “returning offer” you hinted at in your bank visit post? Also, can I link the same SW RR account to my wife’s card as my card?

  20. hey bud,
    i have a random question. I got the amex gold rewards card last year and the annual fee is about to be due. I got the lady to give me 7500 MR points for staying plus 5k more for spending 500 in 3 months. I plan to transfer these to AA. so is the 12500 miles worth the 175 annual fee?

  21. @Tine Let me know if you go through with this. I’m in the same situation. Thanks.


  22. Hey Darius, Question for you on the business card. When I went to sign up for the SW Visa business card…it asks for a tax identification number. Is this necessary in order to apply for a business card? Thank you in advance for your help with this!

  23. @GJ I believe you can just use your social security number.

  24. @GJ you can use SS#

    @Keith, is Wyndham visa churnable? it doesn’t look to be Chase.

    How long does everyone think the SWA 50K will stick around? I just got the BA card today and don’t know if Chase will approve me again (or maybe better to try and hit it on the same day?)

  25. and… how much time to wait between applying for plus and premier or between personal and biz? thx!

  26. @D, it’s very likely people who has a few miles in their UAL account has the new United Chase Explorer 65,000 offer, the card ads image has been replaced by a lady and new requirement is $1000 within 3 months, just like the SouthWest cards. moving forward, we will unlikely have 1st purchase 50k points/miles i believe, though it’s not a big deal.

  27. Thanks for the updated links. I took advantage of the Hilton and the Virgin Atlantic since I have no Hilton points. You have to diversify your portfolio. Hilton and BA are now there!

    Thanks for everything!

  28. @d: I don’t have personal experience churning the Wyndham card. Since this is a Barclay card, I assume the answer of churnability would be the same as for the Barclay US Air card (perhaps every 91 days). But even without churning, I like the anniversary bonus they’re offering now. Typically, it seems the only way to get additional Wyndham points is to buy them during the Daily Getwaways, at the bargain price of 0.34 cents per point. In comparison, the annual fee of $69 for 6000 points means 1.15 cents per mile, so obviously more expensive, but still a good deal to me.

  29. I would love to get the SW points in January so companion pass is good for two years. Do u think they will still run promotion? What would you advise?

  30. I just applied for the British Airway credit card on the 16th prior to the 100,000 point offer expiring. Besides this card, I only have one additional credit card. Would I be able to apply for a Southwest Card and possibly get approved for a personal card and business card or should I wait it out for 30days and see if the Southwest offer is still available? Do you think the Southwest offer will still be around in 30days?

  31. Daraius, Thanks alot of posting the return of the southwest card. I have been waiting for this to reappear and was concerned with Chase’s financial problems, they would cut back. Applied last night and accepted this morning after calling the number you provide in your resource section. Companion pass on the way! Thank you for providing such a great resource and forum!!

  32. First off, great blog and thanks for the tips.

    Let’s say I have a bunch of bills that I need to pay that don’t accept credit cards, Sallie Mae student loans in this case. Is there an easy way to pay them using the SW RR card? I understand that I will have to pay a fee, but the free travel will more than make up for it.

  33. I am glad to see the 50K back but this kills me; last week I signed up for the lower offer because I was anxious to get the companion pass and knew I just had to get create on how to be a big spender to make up for the points. Any suggestions on who I should call/write to at Chase to request for them to match and what would you say to them?

    Thanks so much!!!

  34. CardExitStrategies

    MMS Community:
    I need advice on cancelling cards. Over the last 10 months my wife and I have both received: 2 SW cards, United Explorer, SPG biz and personal, Citi visa and amex, Hyatt, Ink Bold, Sapphire and CapOne Venture. About 11 cards each. We also have several long standing no-fee cards. The wave of annual fees is rising and we are looking for advice on the best ways to exit some of these cards. Some of them offer offsets on the anniversary (but I’m not sure which ones). Ink Bold seems to earn everyday points fastest for us and we will keep that one. The others seem expendable – but I may be wrong. I am not too worried about impact to credit – I feel like we could transfer most of the closed credit to our existing or new cards.
    I have read the general posts about canceling what works for you but this is tough if you’re not sure. I did not see a recent, comprehensive thread in Flyertalk on this – if you know one, please post it here.

    Which cards offer an anniversary offset that equals the fee?
    With which programs above, if any, do you lose the points if you cancel?
    Are there no-fee cards in these programs to which points can be transferred when cancelling a fee card?
    Which cards should you keep just because?
    Any other advice?

  35. Anyone know if applying for 2 BoA personal cards (e.g. Hawaiian and Virgin) on the same day will consolidate to 1 pull?

  36. @Keith – Do you have a link for the Wyndham Visa 30,000 mile card?

  37. @rilys, That’s interesting! I had assumed this would be consistent everywhere, but I see now that when I go to Barclay’s site ( and go to Wyndham Visa, they only list the $39 fee/16000 point option.

    Instead, I went to Wyndham Rewards first and chose the “Earn” tab to see the Wyndham Visa ( From there, click “Learn More” , and you’ll see an updated page that shows the new $69 fee/30000 point /6000 point anniversary choice.

    • @Adam K – That was one of two returning offers. I wouldn’t put another RR account in my application, but some readers report being able to do so.

      – You can’t transfer Amex MR to AA. I don’t value AMEX MR to be that high, but even at 1 cent per point, you’ve got back $125 of the $175 fee so your net cost is $50 a year.

      @GJ – Your SSN is your tax ID if you’re a sole proprietor.

      @d – I expect these cards to be around for at least a month, but don’t have any inside information. If you haven’t applied for any other Chase cards recently, you could apply for both at the same time and call the reconsideration line. Otherwise, I’d wait a bit between applications.

      @ben – Thanks for the update! I agree that we’ll see slightly higher spending requirements going forward.

      @Corridor! – You’re welcome!

      @Diana Turk
      – Depends on the level of risk you’re willing to take. I suspect we will see the 2 free flights offer again, but I can’t say if they will continue to count towards the Companion Pass.

      @Unrea – I do think the offer will be around for 3 to 4 weeks, but have no inside information. If you have a short credit history, it could be best to wait a bit.

      @HJK – Congrats and safe travels!

      @Alex – You can use Chargesmart to pay student loans, but the fees may not be worth it – unless you have a SW Companion Pass or are trying to get one.

      @Gabe Krebs – I’d send them a secure message asking to be matched to the public 2 free flights offer on the Southwest home page. Chase usually matches offers within the last 90 days.

      @CardExitStrategies – The Southwest card offers points every year, the Hyatt card offers a free night at a category 1 to 4 hotel, and the Citi AA and Chase United cards offer free bags and other perks that could be worth the fee. If you close a Chase Ultimate Rewards card, be sure to transfer the points to another Ultimate Rewards account which you will keep open or to hotel or airline partners. I’d also spend Cap One points before cancelling. The best advice is to look at the perks of each card and decide which ones make the most sense for you to keep open.

      @HikerT – It depends if BOA issues the card or if FIA Card services issues the card.

  38. I have had a Chase SW Visa card (the $69 type) for 14 years. Will Chase approve me for a new $99 type, and give me the 50k bonus miles, while I still have the first card? Like Sapman, I am concerned about not being a ‘first-timer’ and not receiving the signup miles. Also, can anyone positively attest from recent experience that the 50k miles will count towards a Companion Pass? As I already have earned more than 50k companion miles in 2012, the bonus will put me over the amount needed for a new CP. I got a Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card about 6 weeks ago. I also have a Chase Freedom Mastercard (no affiliation).

  39. @utdad76 Mine counted in January but this is a new offer so there’s no guarantees, we won’t see anyone clearing the bonus for at least 6 weeks.

  40. @ Keith – Thanks

  41. Darius thanks so much for this site. I’m totally new to this game but love to travel and I’m trying to come up with a strategy here. I’d love to go after the Southwest card. I was wondering if I could request a card for myself and then my husband and link the same rapid rewards account? Thanks for all you do!

  42. Do you know for certain that Virgin Atlantic points transfer to Hilton Honors at a 2:1 ratio? I am seeing other sites that are reporting 1:1. It does not seem as worthwhile since American Airlines offers no annual fee for the first year.

  43. @ Sara K
    I have a Southwest account, not the credit card but an account to accumulate my points from flights, and you cannot mingle accounts or transfer them. At least not without contacting them and trying to get them to do it for you(which they probably will not). An individual only earns points when that individual redeems flights/credit cards in their name. For example, I could not claim my father’s points when he flew because my account had my name and not his. Putting your husband’s points and yours in one account will not work. This does not mean you cannot use your points for other people though. You can easily purchase flights, with points, for someone other than yourself.

  44. @Adam K
    Thanks. After I apply, I will certainly post my experience.

    • @utdad76 – I had cancelled my old Southwest card (from the earlier RR program) before applying and I got the bonus again.

      @Sara K – You’re supposed to enter your RR number on the application, but you could get 1 business & 1 personal with your RR number.

      @Paul S – In my experience it is still a 1:2 transfer ratio.

  45. I did not want to be without any SW card, so I did not cancel before I applied. I am hoping that the Premier ($99) Card will be viewed as different from the regular one I have. May be as long as 30 days before they give me an answer to my application.

    • utdad76 – You can always explain that you want the Premier card for the ability to earn elite status and the no foreign transaction fees. You could call the reconsideration line to expedite the process. Good luck!

  46. An excellent suggestion! Thanks. Will make additional posts as this unfolds.

  47. I am about to psot enough awards for a cp. My question is…if I name my husband as my cp, sican we use his rr points to pay for my seat? Or does it have to be booked through my account, thus unable to access hi rr points?

  48. @soccermom
    It does not matter how you ‘pay’ for your SW ticket. As long as you are traveling, your husband can go along on your CP.

  49. I applied for the SW Business card and got denied due to low revenue for my business. The Chase rep said they were looking for 5,000-10,000 in revenue. Is this common? Any thoughts on what I should do? besides make more money 🙂

    • @soccermom – If you get the Companion Pass and name your husband as your Companion, you can have him use his points to book YOUR seat, and then you can add him as a companion.

      @Andrew – I’d call again and explain how you will be focusing on the business a bit more now etc.

  50. I recently applied for and was approved for the SW Plus personal card and am thinking about trying for the SW Plus business card. For a (side) business, my wife and I both sell things on EBAY, craigslist, amazon, etc. as well as do odd jobs for friends/family but I am wondering about if having a business license is necessary. I haven’t heard it mentioned by anyone else really but wasn’t sure if that is an issue.

    Also, I do not have a business checking account and it looks to ask for average business checking account balance. Does anyone have any experience with this? Could I put zero and explain I pay for things out of a personal account?

    I guess I am just a little hesitant to apply for the Business card as I’ve never really thought of all the side-jobs, etc. as a business and don’t want anything to get too complicated. Thanks for all the tips!

    Oh, and would you leave the Rapid Rewards Number blank?

  51. Thanks for the response. I have already looked through some of the other posts about business cards but didn’t see anything mentioned regarding the questions above (business checking vs. personal, having a business license, etc.) and was hoping someone might have some more experience to share or tips.

    The SW app. has a spot for business checking amount so that was the main thing I guess I would just put 0 and then have to explain on the phone or something.

  52. Got a follow-up call today from Chase regarding my SW Premier Visa application. A couple of questions, and I was approved, including the 50k point sign-up award. Will be about 2 weeks or so until the card arrives. The final question in this process: Will Southwest count those 50k points towards my companion pass? SW website says a couple of seemingly conflicting statements: 1) “Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from…points issued on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners” and 2) “…points earned from…Partner bonuses do not count toward Companion Pass status”.

    When Chase tranfers the 50k+ points to my Rapid Rewards account, will SW know how they were derived–i.e. are they advised that it was not via traditional purchases?

    Any recent first-hand experience out there?

  53. SW Premier card arrived as promised. When calling to activate, I was advised of the card’s benefits–including the 50,000 point bonus if spending totals at least $1,000 within first 3 months. I won’t know if SW will recognize these bonus points towards CP status until late August or early September after first billing cycle ends (and if I reach the $1,000 spend level). I especially liked Chase giving me the opportunity to change my billing cycle, so I extended it to late August so I have more time to get to the needed spend level in the first month!

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  55. The Southwest Credit Card sign up bonuses continue to count towards
    The Companion Pass. I applied for the Southwest Premier Personal Visa
    and the Southwest Premier Business. Accepted for both and did the minimum spends on each card. Transferred Marriott points to Rapid Rewards and made other purchases to reach the 110,000 point threshold.
    Points showed up in Rapid Rewards the day after CC closing date. The Companion Pass was activated later in the afternoon. This happened two days ago. Yesterday, received the congratulatory email for the Companion Pass. Now, just waiting for the Companion Pass to show up in the mail.

  56. New SW Premier card’s inital billing cycle ended today, and I received the 50,000 bonus points as I met the spend minimum. Points showed up in RR account within a few hours, and are showing as counting towards Companion Pass. Still need a few points to get to 110,000, but will do that over Labor Day as I am flying SW! CP should be earned no later than September 5!

  57. “Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from…points issued on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards.” 50,000 points are issued to the SWA RR CC when the $1,000 minimum threshold is met.
    This statement makes it clear that ANY points ISSUED on your RR CC will automatically count towards the Companion Pass.
    This is why everyone who gets the 50,000 bonus points are seeing it count towards the Companion Pass:)

  58. Is the Virgin Atlantic Link dead?

  59. Awesome, thanks! (and thanks for your blog… you’ve helped me to nearly 500k airline pts since March!)

  60. My sister applied the southwest rapid award card, and after first statement, she used more than $1000. However, her first statement did not show the 50,000 bounus offer points. She phoned Chase, they told her she needs to wait for 6 – 8 weeks, do you know any number at chase that we can call to expedit the process? we are waiting for the points to book a trip to FL.

  61. @Ying Long: the same thing happened to me. I spent over 1K in my first month, but I did not get my bonus points on my 1st statement. I called the number on the back of the card, and the rep told me that it should appear on my 2nd statement. It did appear on my 2nd statement. I think your sister would get her bonus points on the 2nd statement. Credit card reps sometimes are very inconsistent since they only read what the terms say, and it does say 6-8 weeks for bonus points to post.

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