3 Southwest credit cards are now offering up to 60,000 points, which can get you halfway to the coveted Companion Pass

Southwest AirlinesChris Parypa Photography/shutterstock

  • Southwest has three co-branded personal credit cards: the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card ($69 annual fee), the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card ($99 annual fee), the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card ($149 annual fee).
  • All three cards just launched elevated sign-up offers that can get you up to 60,000 points.
  • You'll earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, plus another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 in the first 12 months from account opening.
  • Southwest has a great benefit called the Companion Pass, which lets you designate one person to travel with you for free. You need to earn 110,000 qualifying points to get this pass, and the points you earn from Southwest credit card sign-up bonuses count toward that requirement.

Southwest may not have a global route network on par with larger airlines, but for travel within the US and the Caribbean, it can be a great option. It has some of the most customer-friendly policies around, with no baggage fees or change fees, and if you rack up enough qualifying points, you can even get two-for-one travel with the Companion Pass.

If you don't have a Southwest credit card yet but you fly the airline, it's worth giving these options a look. Not only do they offer you airline points on all your spending, but they're also offering elevated sign-up bonuses.

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

Read more: We compared Southwest's 5 credit cards to help you decide which is best for you

Sign-up offer details

You can earn up to 60,000 Rapid Rewards points with the airline's three personal credit cards:

With all three cards, you'll earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, and another 20,000 points when you spend $12,000 in the first 12 months. The standard offer for these cards is 40,000 points, so this is an opportunity to earn 20,000 additional points.

While $12,000 to earn the full 60,000 points may seem like a lot, that's in the first year from opening the card, so it averages out to just $1,000 per month in spending.

Use this offer to work toward the Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass essentially lets you get two-for-one travel. Once you earn it, you can designate a friend or family member to fly with you for free (minus taxes and fees) on both paid Southwest flights and those booked with points.

To get the Companion Pass, you need to earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. Points earned from Southwest credit card bonuses count toward that requirement, so if you sign up for one of these three cards and meet the spending requirement of $1,000 in the first three months, you'll be 40,000 points closer to the pass.

If you meet the second spending requirement of $12,000 in the first 12 months, you'll have another 20,000 points, but the quicker you earn 110,000 qualifying points, the longer you can enjoy the Companion Pass.

Read more: How to use the Southwest Companion Pass once you've earned it

Once you get the Companion Pass, you'll be able to use it for the entire year in which you earned it, along with the entire following year. So you'll want to time your qualification for the Companion Pass to be early in the new year (2020), so you can enjoy it for almost two years.

To get the rest of the way there, you could open one of Southwest's two business credit cards - the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card ($99) or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card ($199.

The Premier Business card is offering a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months, and the Performance Business card is offering a bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

With the Premier Business card and one of the personal Southwest card bonuses, you'd easily meet the 110,000 qualifying points requirement, and with the Performance Business and a personal card bonus, you'd be just a few thousand points short (which you could earn through additional spending or by taking qualifying Southwest points).

You can only have one personal Southwest card at a time, so you couldn't open both the Southwest Premier and Southwest Priority, for example.

Don't forget about Chase's 5/24 rule

If you're interested in any of Southwest's three personal credit cards, keep in mind that the card issuer, Chase, has something called the 5/24 rule, which can restrict your ability to open these cards. If you've opened five or more cards across all banks in the last 24 months, Chase won't approve you for most of its cards. So it could be worth prioritizing your applications for these cards over those from other banks.

Click here to learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card from our partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Plus card from our partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card from our partner The Points Guy.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

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