[Disclosure: Emily and I get a referral for the links to the Southwest cards in this post as of the post publication date. You don't have to use our links, but we're very grateful to everyone who does!]
The Southwest credit cards are my favorite cards for domestic travel and are a great way for many folks to have Big Travel with Small Money within the US! Emily and I travel almost entirely on Southwest within the US. And I just earned a Companion Pass up to the end of 2014 which will let Emily fly with me for free ($2.50 security fee per segment) on both paid and award tickets!
Even if you’re not willing to apply for many credit cards, 1 or 2 Southwest credit cards can get you a lot of travel. Just make sure that Southwest flies to an airport close to you.
The Southwest Plus (personal & business) credit cards have offered a 50,000 point bonus since November 2012, but the Rapid Rewards Premier cards (personal & business) only recently went back up to 50,000 points from 25,000 points. You have to spend $2,000 within 3 months to get the 50,000 point sign-up bonus on any of the 4 Southwest credit cards.
What Are 50,000 Points Worth?
You can redeem 50,000 Southwest points for ~$833 worth of travel on Southwest’s cheapest Wanna Get Away fares.
$833 worth of flights on Southwest from just 1 credit card sign-up bonus is a great deal by itself. Southwest has no black-out dates or restrictions so you can easily redeem points for Southwest flights.
Don’t Forget The Southwest Companion Pass!
But it gets MUCH better, because the sign-up bonus from the credit card (currently) counts towards the Southwest Companion Pass.
Emily and I have a Companion Pass and this is perhaps the best miles and points perk which we have. Why? Because it lets a companion travel with you for free whenever you travel on Southwest. It doesn’t matter if your flight is booked with points OR paid for with cash – your companion flies free!
We earned the Companion Pass in January 2013 and it is valid up to the end of 2014.
How Do I Get a Companion Pass?
You need to earn 110,000 points (within 1 calendar year from January 1 to December 31) to qualify for the Companion Pass.
The best way to get the Companion Pass is to apply for 1 Southwest personal card and 1 Southwest business card (for 50,000 points each) and then get the extra 6,000 points needed — after accounting for the $2,000 in minimum spending which earns points — to get the total 110,000 points for the Southwest Companion Pass.
2 Southwest 50,000 point credit cards and 10,000 transferred points can get you at least ~$3,332 in free flights if you redeem your points to travel with a companion!
Check out this post on all you need to know about the Southwest Companion Pass which has got 409 comments so far. Feel free to comment if you have a question which isn’t answered in the post!
Southwest Premier vs. Plus
The Southwest Premier card has a $99 annual fee, but gets you 6,000 Southwest points each anniversary compared to 3,000 Southwest points with the Plus version of the card. The Premier card also has no foreign transaction fees unlike the Plus version which does charge foreign transaction fees.
The Southwest credit cards are one of the best deals for domestic US flying if Southwest flies to your city. Doubling your travel with the Companion Pass makes it even better!
Southwest is flying to Puerto Rico in 2013, and will fly to a few international destinations as it absorbs Air Tran routes and eventually Hawaii (possibly in 2015 or 2016).
At the very least, you will get ~$833 in airfare on Southwest with 1 credit card and with 2 cards, you’ve got 100,000 points out of the 110,000 points needed for the Southwest Companion Pass.
Check out my post on the Southwest Companion Pass and leave a comment if you still have questions!
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