Why Now is the Best Time to Apply for the Southwest Credit Card

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Offer expired.  Check here for current offer.

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

Offer Details:

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!

Companion Pass Status

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?


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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I’m a little confused about this. Would it make more sense to apply 1/1/14? The sign-up bonus is 100,000 points, so it’s still necessary to get 10,000 additional points, right? Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until 2014 to apply so that all points earned for spending count towards the companion pass? Thoughts on this very appreciated! I’d really like to get in on this deal, but need to be strategic about getting that extra 10,000 because that’s a lot of spend for me. Thanks!

  2. Jenn, the biggest problem with that plan is there is no guarantee this sign-up bonus will be around in January. This version of it is set to expire on 10/30, so it may well be that they bring in back in an couple months, but that isn’t guaranteed, so it may have be at 25,000 come January.

  3. (MP)
    But the devaluation was already announced for the next year. Not sure why now it is better than before.

    The only way that you can make this work is if you apply today and meet your M. Spending tomorrow so that you can plan ahead for the holidays for the entire family this year. But it doesn’t make it any better than ever…

    • Jorge, I think it is a better time than it will ever be again. I could be wrong about that, of course, as the bonus could go even higher at some point in the future, but given what we know I think this is the best the timing will ever get.

  4. I applied for both personal cards today and was denied for the second as a “duplicate application.” In hindsight, probably a mistake to apply for both on the same day (or to not apply for one business and one personal card). Is it worth re-applying for the business card in a couple weeks?

    • TJ, you could call in about the “duplicate app” to let them know that it wasn’t an accidental mistake and explain why you wanted both (to keep different types or purchases separate, or whatever the case may be)

  5. Hi MP. Thanks for the reminder.

    What I do not understand is on your link, I only see two cards, the Premier Business and the Plus Personal. How do I see the other two options (you mentioned there are four cards) ?

  6. OK, so I’ve got 60K+ (2013) points right now. If I get a new card and post the 50K points prior to 12/31 I get a Companion pass through 2014. If I post the 50K on 1/1 or after I do not qualify for the companion pass?

  7. Winger, there are four, on mine when you click on the Premier Personal link you see the Premier Biz and the Plus Personal also at the bottom of that app page for the Premier Personal. To access the 4th version, I just click on the Premier Business and then at the bottom of that app the Plus Business link is also listed.

    DaveG, yes since your 60k points you have now (assuming that is 60k CP eligible points) will expire as counting toward the CP on 1/1.

  8. The rules for the companion pass say,
    “Purchased points and points earned from program enrollment, Tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and Partner bonuses do not count toward Companion Pass status.”

    Therefore, the 50,000 points received when we reach $2000 do not count toward the companion pass.

    • Lewis, so far those restrictions have not included sign-up bonus points on the credit cards. Many, many, many reports of success with those counting in the last few years. Though of course that could change at any point.

  9. MP, I am ready to apply for these and get the points in Jan. I’m a little confused about the best strategy. Ideally, do I get 1 business and 1 personal, or try and get 2 personal? I’d prefer the 2 personal, but it seems like getting both bonuses are less likely this way?


  10. Just did my business/personal applications, both approved! Looking like the MRS and I will have a companion pass extension until Dec 2015! w00t! (we currently have the pass under her name). Hooray for easy travel!

  11. What’s best option if approved for personal (with reallocation of $) but declined (found this out by calling in on phone) for biz b/c applied for person and biz together, biz too new, and too many appls in 12 months? Thanks

  12. i had a chase SWA card under the old program (credits not points), but it never included bonus credits. instead, the promo included $500 in SWA gift cards and a round-trip voucher. i canceled the card about 2 years ago. any idea whether i’d be eligible for any of the new SWA cards? i’d like to apply for biz and personal to earn a companion pass in January.

    • ncaa, I’m betting yes. At the very least, there are four versions of the card, so pick one that is new to you and you should be fine.

  13. Question. If I booked a low-point seats (such as ‘Wanna Getaway’ award) say using 1000 RR points, then a few months LATER receive a Companion Pass (CP), can I then use the CP to book my companion a seat at a lower cost for the same flight, say for 3600 RR points?


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