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A Bonus Worth ~$600 in Travel With a Low Annual Fee: Review of the Chase Southwest Plus Card (Great for Companion Pass Seekers!)

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A Bonus Worth ~$600 in Travel With a Low Annual Fee: Review of the Chase Southwest Plus Card (Great for Companion Pass Seekers!)

Jasmin BaronA Bonus Worth ~$600 in Travel With a Low Annual Fee: Review of the Chase Southwest Plus Card (Great for Companion Pass Seekers!)Million Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: This card has the lowest annual fee of any of the Chase Southwest cards.

Southwest is a Chase transfer partner, so you can earn transferable points with cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, then move points directly to your Southwest frequent flyer account.

However, transferring points will NOT count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass (the #1 deal in travel). That’s why lots of folks choose to apply for Chase Southwest cards, like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, which currently offers 40,000 Southwest points after meeting minimum spending requirements. That’s worth ~$600 in travel on Southwest. The Chase Southwest Plus card also has the lowest annual fee among any of the available Southwest credit cards.

You can apply for the Chase Southwest Plus card here. Here’s our full Southwest Plus card review.

Chase Southwest Plus card review – use the bonus to fly on one of Southwest’s newest flights to Hawaii! (Photo courtesy of Southwest)

Chase Southwest Plus Card Review

Read our guide to the Southwest Companion Pass

When you sign-up for the Chase Southwest Plus card, you’ll earn 40,000 Southwest points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

The value of Southwest points is on average 1.5 cents each. So the 40,000 Southwest points you’ll earn from the welcome bonus are worth ~$600 in Southwest airfare. And if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you can get potentially double that value.

How to Earn Points With the Chase Southwest Plus

With the Chase Southwest Plus, you’ll earn Southwest points in three ways:

  • 2 Southwest points per dollar on Southwest purchases
  • 1 Southwest point per dollar on everything else
  • 3,000 Southwest points after your card member anniversary

How to Use Your Points

The number of points you’ll pay for a Southwest award flight is based on the cash price of the ticket. What makes Southwest points so valuable is there are never any blackout dates. If there’s a seat for sale on the airplane, you can use Southwest points to book it. Check out our post on the best ways to use Southwest points for inspiration.

On average, Southwest points have a value of ~1.5 apiece. So the 40,000 Southwest point welcome bonus is worth about $600 in flights, and redeeming your points is a very straighforward process.

To use your points, head over to the Southwest website and search for flights as you normally would, including departure and destination airport, dates of travel and number of passengers. Be sure to check the “Points” box in the top right corner of the page. Look for “Wanna Get Away” fares because these are the cheapest and cost the fewest number of points.

Be sure to select “points” in the upper right hand corner when you’re searching for Southwest award flights.

You’ll then get a list of flight options with their corresponding points cost. When there’s a fare sale, you’ll pay fewer points, but expensive last-minute flights cost a lot more.

Book in advance or during a sale and you can get very good deals, like these flights from Chicago to Orlando for under 7,000 points.

Another reason why folks love using Southwest points is their generous change and cancellation policy. If you need to modify a Southwest flight (whether paid with cash or points), you won’t pay any fees like other airlines charge. And if you need to cancel, the points or cash you spent on the flight are deposited into your Southwest account for future use.

Plus, you’ll always get two free checked bags on Southwest. Most other airlines charge $30 for a first bag and even more for the second, so this can translate into tremendous savings.

Benefits of the Chase Southwest Plus

The Southwest Plus card benefits include valuable travel and shopping protections and perks, and can make the annual fee worth paying year after year.

Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best deals in travel, and the Chase Southwest Plus can get you more than halfway to earning it. To qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll need to earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year.

The easiest way to earn the Companion Pass is by opening one personal and one business Southwest card and meeting minimum spending requirements.

Once you’ve earned the Companion Pass, a friend or family member can travel with you on paid and award flights for nearly free (just the cost of taxes and fees). Some of us on the Million Mile Secrets team have saved thousands of dollars with the Companion Pass!

I earned the Southwest Companion Pass this year to save money and points on fun trips with my kids. (Photo by Jasmin Baron/Million Mile Secrets)

3,000 Southwest Points Annually

Each year on your card member anniversary, you’ll receive 3,000 bonus Southwest points. At a value of 1.5 cents per Southwest point, that’s worth ~$45 in airfare, and knocks out most of the annual fee cost.

Rental Car Insurance

When you decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your Southwest Plus card, you’ll be covered for theft and collision damage on most rental cars. In the US, this coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.

Baggage Delay Insurance

If you use your Southwest Plus card to pay for your flight, you can get reimbursed for essentials like toiletries and clothing if your bags are delayed over six hours. Coverage is up to $100 per day for three days.

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

If your or an immediate family member’s checked or carry on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.

Purchase Protection

The Chase Southwest Plus protects your eligible new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Extended Warranty

The Chase Southwest Plus extends the time period of a US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.

Travel Accident Insurance

When you use your card to purchase an eligible trip, you’ll receive travel accident insurance for yourself and immediate family. This includes accidental death, dismemberment, and loss of speech, sight and hearing coverage of up to $500,000.

Travel and Emergency Assistance Services (Visa Signature Only)

If you’re traveling and need help with relaying an emergency message back home or need a medical or legal referral, you can call the Benefits Administrator for help 24 hours a day. You will be responsible for the cost of any goods or services obtained.

Roadside Dispatch

For a flat service fee per call, you can get roadside dispatch for common mishaps like:

  • Towing – up to five miles included
  • Tire Changing – must have good, inflated spare
  • Jump Starting – battery boost
  • Lockout Service (no key replacement)
  • Fuel Delivery – up to five gallons (cost of fuel not included)
  • Winching (within 100 feet of paved or county maintained road only)

To access roadside dispatch, call 800-847-2869. It’s not free (~$60 per call), but it’s a helpful alternative if you don’t have your own roadside coverage.

Is the Chase Southwest Plus Worth the Annual Fee?

The Chase Southwest Plus annual fee is $69 and is applied during your first billing statement. That’s absolutely worth it to earn 40,000 Southwest points after meeting minimum spending requirements.

As for the long term, you’ll earn 3,000 points every cardmember anniversary. Because Southwest points are worth ~1.5 cents each toward Southwest flights, you can get a value of $45 from your anniversary points (1.5 cents per point x 3,000 points).

Use your 3,000 anniversary points towards Southwest flights to offset your annual fee cost. (Photo courtesy of Southwest)

With this perk alone, you’ll cover most of the annual fee cost, and if you make the most of the card’s benefits, you can come out way ahead.

Does the Chase Southwest Plus Have a Foreign Transaction Fee?

Yes, so it’s not a good card to use when traveling overseas.

Who Is Eligible for the Chase Southwest Plus?

The Chase Southwest Plus card is subject to Chase’s strict application policy, known as the Chase 5/24 rule.

Chase will NOT approve you for most of their cards if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (NOT counting Chase business cards and certain other business cards) in the past 24 months. And it’s important to note it’s no longer possible to have more than one personal Southwest card at the same time, but you can still get a business and a personal card.

Cards Similar to the Chase Southwest Plus

1. Ink Business Preferred

Apply Here: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Read our review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred

With the Ink Business Preferred, you can earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account. Because you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio, that’s the equivalent of 80,000 Southwest points, worth $1,200 in Southwest airfare.

This card also comes with benefits like:

  • 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $1 you spend on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year)
  • 1x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
  • Up to $600 in cell phone insurance when you pay your cell phone bill with the card
  • 25% bonus when you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
  • Primary car rental insurance when renting for business purposes, plus purchase and extended warranty protection

This card is our top small business card recommendation because of its solid bonus, benefits and points earning rate. It’s the highest public sign-up bonus we’ve seen for a Chase small business card.

2. Other Chase Southwest Cards

Apply Here: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Read our Southwest Business card review

Apply Here: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

Read our review of the Southwest Priority card

Apply Here: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Read our review of the Southwest Premier card

There are other personal Chase Southwest cards to consider, and each has the same welcome bonus as the Chase Southwest Plus. You’ll earn 40,000 Southwest points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening:

If you don’t qualify for a personal card, consider:

While it’s possible to earn the sign-up bonus on all four Southwest cards, you can only hold one personal Southwest card at a time.

And if you previously had the Chase Southwest Plus card, you should be able to earn the bonus again as long as it has been at least 24 months since you previously earned the bonus.

Bottom Line

For a limited time, when you sign-up for the Chase Southwest Plus card, you’ll earn 40,000 Southwest points after meeting minimum spending requirements.

The sign-up bonus and points you earn from making purchases with the Chase Southwest Plus card count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass (the #1 deal in travel). With the Companion Pass, you can add a designated friend or loved one to your paid or award reservation for just the cost of taxes & fees, which is typically just ~$11 for round-trip flights within the US.

You can apply for the Chase Southwest Plus card here.

For more about the Chase Southwest Plus and Southwest points, check out our guides:

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

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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SFO to Orlando for some Disney!

OKC to LIR – we loved everything about Costa Rica and getting there on Southwest with the companion pass and points saved us a ton of money! The Andaz Papagayo was on my bucket list and did not disappoint!

PVD-MCO. No doubt I great flight to a great place.

My favorite Southwest redemption was booking flights to Aruba to celebrate our 65th birthdays (3 months apart) for January, 2019. I booked the flights in September for 28k points each, and then checked back later during a Southwest sale and rebooked the flights for 21k each. The icing on the cake was earning the companion fare for 2019 and getting back 21k points. So excited about our trip to Aruba on Southwest in January!

My favorite SW redemption was flying my son and his wife from Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale for his brother’s wedding!

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