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Million Mile Secrets reader, AC, commented:
I was approved for both the personal and small business versions of the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card this past December. The problem is, one 50,000 point sign-up bonus posted in late December 2015. And the other card’s bonus posted in January 2016. So, I can only use the bonus that posted in January 2016 towards the Companion Pass (because you must earn 110,000 Southwest points in one calendar year).
I still want to try and earn the extra points I need for the Companion Pass. Can I apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and get approved if I still have the Southwest Premier (personal version) open? Or should I cancel the Southwest Premier (personal) first, even though it has only been open since December? Any advice would be helpful.
Great question AC!
I’ll explain if AC should apply for the Chase Southwest Plus Personal Card, because he already has 2 other Chase Southwest cards. And other ways AC might be able to qualify for the Companion Pass.
The Southwest Companion Pass
With the Southwest Companion Pass, your companion flies with you for (almost) free on both paid and award tickets for up to 2 years.
This has saved Emily and me thousands of dollars!
To get the Southwest Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year. And once you’ve qualified for the pass, it’s valid until the end of the following year.
So if you qualified for the Companion Pass now, you’d have it through 2016 and all of 2017!
So, AC had the right idea when applying for the personal and small business versions of the Southwest Premier card at the same time. Because sign-up bonuses are the easy way to get most of the required points for the Companion Pass.
But timing your applications and spending on the Southwest cards is important to be sure your bonuses post to your account in the same calendar year!
The Easiest Way to Qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass
It’s not too hard to earn the 110,000 Southwest points required in a calendar year to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass. If you plan appropriately!
And these 3 cards are currently offering increased 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonuses when you complete the minimum spending.
We don’t earn a commission for these cards, but we always tell you about the best deals. Because it’s the right thing to do!
Otherwise, you’d need to fly 100 one-way or 50 round-trip Southwest flights (within a calendar year) to qualify.
But remember, the 110,000 points MUST post in the same calendar year.
So AC can ONLY use the sign-up bonus that credited to his account in January 2016 to qualify for the Companion Pass this year.
Should AC Apply for Another Southwest Rewards Card?
In the past, folks have had most success by signing-up for a personal and a small business card at (or around) the same time.
But because AC already did this (by applying for both the personal and small business Southwest Premier cards last December), AC is wondering if it’s possible to earn the sign-up bonus for the Southwest Plus personal card.
Million Mile Secrets reader Lina commented that she applied for the Premier and Plus cards and was approved for both. And received both sign-up bonuses a few weeks ago!
Close an Existing Southwest Card First?
As for AC closing the personal Premier card, I generally don’t suggest closing cards unless you feel the annual fee isn’t worth it. Because many times, if a bank denies you a new card, you can ask them to shift your credit line around to allow for the new card. Or, you can then offer to close the other card so you can get the new card.
I also recommend keeping a card for at least ~10 months to evaluate whether you like it. And because closing cards with a significant credit line can impact your credit utilization, which can affect your credit score.
When the Bank Asks Why You Want 2 Personal Southwest Cards
If the bank is wondering why AC needs 2 personal cards, a legitimate reason is to keep different types of expenses separate. Or to use 1 card overseas. Because the Plus version charges foreign transaction fees while the Premier does not.
The good news is that AC should eventually be able to earn the bonus from both cards because the Plus and Premier are different card products.
Chase Is Making It More Difficult for Some Folks to be Approved
But AC should remember that Chase has been tightening their credit card application policies. And they may soon stop approving folks for airline and hotel cards if they’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months. So if AC wants to apply for the Plus card it should be very soon!
Reports from other readers suggest that these new rules from Chase haven’t yet gone into effect on their airline and hotel cards. And my friend was approved for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card in late March 2016. She has opened well over 5 cards in the past 24 months.
Ultimately, it will be up to Chase to decide if and when they’ll approve AC for another card.
Want More Southwest Points?
Getting the sign-up bonuses on the Southwest credit cards is the quickest and easiest way to earn the Companion Pass. But there are lots of other ways to earn more Southwest points.
Or, maybe AC will be approved for the other personal Southwest card this year!
I consider the Southwest Companion Pass to be one of the most lucrative deals in the points & miles hobby.
Unfortunately, AC’s Chase Southwest Premier personal and small business card sign-up bonuses posted in different calendar years. Sign-up bonus points MUST post in the same calendar year to qualify towards the Southwest Companion Pass.
But Chase has been tightening their credit card application policies. And they may soon stop approving folks for airline and hotel cards if they’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months.
So if AC wants to apply for the Plus card it should be soon!
Emily and I don’t receive a commission from these Southwest card offers, but we’ll always tell you about the best deals!