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The Southwest credit cards have temporarily increased their sign-up bonus to 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months, reportedly though October 30th. While the 50,000 point offer has come and gone with some regularity over the last couple of years, in my opinion, now is the absolute best time to apply for the card.
Application Link: Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
First I’ll give a few details about the offer, and then my reasons as to why now is a good time to seriously consider pulling the trigger if you have been thinking about getting a Southwest credit card. You get 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. There is a $99 annual fee for the Premier version of the card. If you click on the link above and scroll to the bottom of the page you will see links to the three other versions of the card (two business and two personal) as well – all currently at 50k points!
50,000 Southwest points are worth over $833 in “Wanna Get Away” fares currently (more on this in a minute), and get you almost half-way to the Companion Pass that allows your designated companion to fly with you for free thanks to the points that come from hitting the sign-up bonus on the card. The companion on the Companion Pass flies free on every Southwest flight you are on, whether you are booked on points or dollars. This is tremendous for family travel!
Why Now is the Best Time to Apply:
- Southwest has announced that they are devaluing their points effective March 31, 2014. Wanna Get Away reward flight bookings made on or after March 31, 2014 will require 70 points per dollar instead of the current 60 points per dollar required. The points are going from being worth over 1.67 cents each to closer to 1.42 cents each. This means that 50,000 points will go 15% further toward Wanna Get Away fares if you obtain and redeem them before March 31st. If you apply now you should have time to make use of the points before March 31st. Your flights booked can be for dates after March 31st at the current redemption rates, as long as they are booked before March 31st.
- You have 3 months to hit the spending threshold, so since we are into October you can do that in very early 2014 to have the points count toward earning a Companion Pass in 2014-2015. Companion Passes are good the year you earn them, and the whole following year. This means if you earn it very early in 2014, you can have it for almost two full years. You need 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points to qualify for the Companion Pass, and the 50,000 points earned from the credit card sign-up bonus have been counting toward the CP, though that could change at any time.
- On the other hand, if you are within striking distance to earning the Companion Pass in 2013, you could meet the spending requirement for the credit card quickly and get the 50,000 points to post before the end of 2013 to round our your earning the Companion Pass through 2014. Companion Pass points are per calendar year, so anything you already have earned in 2013 won’t help you once the calendar changes to 2014.
While I truly do think that this is a very good time to apply for a Southwest card, obviously there is no one right time for everyone. Don’t stress if now isn’t the right time for you, but if it might be, then good luck if you decide to go for it! Even if you aren’t going for the Companion Pass, taking full advantage of the 50,000 points before they get devalued could be reason enough to move sooner rather than later.
What is your strategy with deciding when to apply for one of the Southwest cards?