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Get ~$1,400 of Southwest Airfare With This Surprising Card

Get ~$1,400 of Southwest Airfare With This Surprising Card

JasonGet ~$1,400 of Southwest Airfare With This Surprising CardMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Folks LOVE to fly Southwest.  And the Southwest Companion Pass is the best deal in travel.  Because it can nearly double your savings on every Southwest flight!  So if you already fly Southwest, or have the Southwest Companion Pass, which card is best for you? 

Get 1400 Of Southwest Airfare With This Surprising Card
Which Is the Best Card for Earning Free Southwest Flights?

Million Mile Secret Agent Brian commented:

Thanks to the Southwest Companion Pass, my family of 4 flies almost exclusively on Southwest.  I typically earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points and transfer them to Southwest to fly for free.  However, with The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, I get 35% of my points back on Southwest airfare redemptions if it is my chosen airline.  Aside from the hefty annual fee, am I right in thinking that’s a better value for Southwest points than Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

Brian, the AMEX Business Platinum card is a great deal for flying on Southwest!  Even though it does have a bigger annual fee, the perks of the card can more than offset it.

Let’s take a look at how much value you could get using the AMEX Business Platinum card for Southwest flights.

A Bonus Worth ~$1,400 Toward Southwest Flights

Link:   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

The AMEX Business Platinum card currently comes with 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.  And an extra 25,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the same timeframe.

After meeting your minimum spending requirements, you’ll have at least 95,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points (75,000 points from sign-up bonus + at least 20,000 points from minimum spending = 95,000)!  You could redeem those points for 1 cent each for $950 in airfare using AMEX Pay With Points.

But the AMEX Business Platinum card comes with a 35% rebate when you pay for airfare on your selected airline or any Business or First Class flight using the AMEX Pay With Points.  But you have to redeem a minimum of 5,000 points at a time.

So if you choose Southwest as your airline, you can get ~$1,400 worth of Southwest airfare with the rebate:

PointsValue of Airfare Through the AMEX Travel Portal35% Points Rebate Amount
95,000 AMEX Membership Rewards Points$95033,250 AMEX Membership Rewards points
33,250 AMEX Membership Rewards points~$33211,637 AMEX Membership Rewards points
11,637 AMEX Membership Rewards points~$1164,072 AMEX Membership Rewards points
Total$1,398

Because you can bring along a guest for the cost of taxes and fees with the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll get double the value (~$2,800) on the fare portion of your Southwest flights!

Note:   You can NOT book Southwest flights online through the AMEX travel center.  Call Business Platinum Travel Services at 800-553-9497 to book your Southwest tickets.

Make the Most of Your $200 Airline Credit!

When you choose Southwest as your airline, you’ll get a $200 airline credit each calendar year.  So you can earn $200 in credits before January 1.  And $200 in credits after the first of the year.  That means you’ll get up to $400 in airline credits during your first 12 months of having the card!

Get 1400 Of Southwest Airfare With This Surprising Card
You’ll Be Smiling When You Save Money on Fees With Your $200 Yearly Airline Credit!

You can use the airline credit for the fees on over-sized baggage or EarlyBird check-in.  And folks on FlyerTalk report other types of charges being reimbursed.

Earn Big Bonus Points on Airfare

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel, including Southwest flights.  But the AMEX Business Platinum card earns 5 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on flights booked (online or over the phone) through the AMEX travel center.  Or directly with the airline.

Even with the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 50% bonus when booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, the AMEX Business Platinum card still comes out on top for airfare spending (3 X 50% bonus = 4.5) by half a point per $1.  And that’s before you include the 35% points rebate for your selected airline!

Stay Under the Chase “5/24” Rule

Small business cards issued by AMEX do NOT count toward the Chase “5/24” rule.  Because they won’t show up on your personal credit report.

So if you’re over the “5/24” limit, or trying to stay under it to increase your chances of getting a Southwest Companion Pass in future years, then the AMEX Business Platinum card is a great choice.

And qualifying for a small business credit card might be easier than you think!

Bottom Line

You can get Big Travel with Small Money on Southwest with Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  But don’t stop there!  Because even though Chase Ultimate Rewards is a 1:1 transfer partner, you can save big on Southwest flights with other credit cards.

The AMEX Business Platinum card’s sign-up bonus is worth ~$1,400 in travel on your selected airline, which can be Southwest.  If you choose Southwest as your airline, you’ll get a 35% points rebate when you Pay With Points.  And you can earn the $200 airline credit twice before your second annual fee posts!  This will cover most of the first year’s $450 annual fee by itself!

Which rewards credit card do you use for Southwest travel?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Imagine my astonishment at a comment/question I made morphing into into a post (and being called a secret agent)! Thanks for the response.

I will say that like Parag, I found out after the post that AmEx charges $35 a ticket to book Southwest tickets which seems to invalidate the points savings. That being said, I was targeted for a 100K point offer and plan to keep Southwest as my chosen airline for 2018 as I can verify they reimburse $100 gift cards.

Million Mile Secrets

Thank you for the question, Brian!

I’ve got good news! I just chatted with an AMEX representative and was told that the phone booking fee for Southwest flights can be waived because you can’t book those tickets online.

If they don’t tell you this, then be sure to ask to have the fee waived.

I had the companion pass for 2017. My girl friend and I used it to visit 10 cities and 2 countries. It’s definitely worth getting if you are strategic with your spending to either get the bonus points or accumulate points from everyday spending.

Million Mile Secrets

Agreed, the Southwest Companion Pass is the best deal in travel!

It is very hard to convince AMEX to give you the 35% back in points. Also, when you call Business Platinum Services they want to charge you $35ish as a booking fee. This extra fee just does not make sense when you are booking a $100 flight. Please give us detailed instructions on how to make this work. I am thinking of changing my airline to American Airlines for 2018 because of the headache with AMEX. Thanks.

Million Mile Secrets

You can change your AMEX Business Platinum card’s selected airline once a year in January. The 35% points rebate will automatically be applied when you use the “Pay With Points” feature to purchase airfare with that airline.

Also, I just spoke with an AMEX representative and was told that they will waive the phone booking fee for Southwest because you cannot book those tickets online.