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One of the offers that has been on my “Top 5 Family Credit Card Deals” list since the list was created is the Southwest credit card 50,000 point sign-up bonus. We have seen this offer come and go over the last couple of years, but when it is available it is a phenomenal deal for Southwest flyers. If used for “Wanna Get Away” fares, then 50,000 Southwest points equates to $833 in free Southwest travel. Even if that is all you do by getting one Southwest card, it is a great deal to get that much value out of one credit card sign-up bonus. There are four different Chase Southwest cards available – and currently all are available with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months. I have read success stories of people getting the different varieties of the card. My recommendation if you want to get two cards is one business and one personal card.
Here are the four available options:
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Personal Card – up to 50,000 points ($69 annual fee, but also comes with 3,000 annual bonus points)
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Business Card – up to 50,000 points ($69 annual fee, but also comes with 3,000 annual bonus points)
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card – up to 50,000 points ($99 annual fee, but also comes with 6,000 annual bonus points)
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card – up to 50,000 points ($99 annual fee, but also comes with 6,000 annual bonus points)T
The real play here is to get one personal Southwest card with a 50,000 point bonus, one business Southwest card with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus, and then earn the remaining 6,000 points needed (after meeting the spending requirements) to get to the 110,000 points needed for a Companion Pass (CP). When you have a Southwest Companion Pass then you designate your companion to fly for free with you on Southwest flights. This applies even when you are flying on points. That means that it is possible to leverage the $1,666 in free travel from the two 50,000 point sign-up bonuses to $3,332 in free travel since the second person is flying for free using the Companion Pass.
This trick to get the CP isn’t new, but this is a good time of the year to go for it. The reason that now is the best time to act is that the CP is good for the rest of the year you earn it, plus all of the following year. Additionally, all of the 110,000 CP qualifying points must be earned in the same calendar year. That means that if you start the process of applying for the cards and begin to put spending on them now, you are in a great position to finish hitting the $2,000 spending requirements on each card early in 2013. That means that you will be able to maximize the length of time that you and a companion can fly using the CP! You will have most of 2013 and all of 2014! You don’t get the 50,000 bonus points for each card until you put $2,000 in spending, so start the process now, but be sure not to go to the $2,000 mark until 2013 because all of the 110,000 needed points must be earned in the same calendar year.
You will then have at least 6,000 more points to earn to hit 110,000 (more if some of your spending toward the $2,000 required minimum posts in 2012). You can do that by flying Southwest, shopping via their Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal, putting additional spending on the Southwest credit cards, or by transferring Ultimate Reward 13,000 points to Hyatt and then those can convert to 6,000 points to transfer to Southwest. You can’t go straight from Ultimate Rewards to Southwest as they won’t be CP-qualifying points.
Southwest is a great airline for some families since you can choose seats together, don’t have to pay for the first two checked bags, and I have found Southwest and employees and passengers to be very laid back toward family travelers. If both parents got the CP, then a family of four could travel “for free” with one child designated on each parent’s CP! I even had a friend who had their family of four travel for free on one CP while their twins were under two years old.
This use of the sign-up bonus points to qualify for the CP is very much an “off label” benefit. This means you won’t be able to get anyone at the airline or the issuing bank to verify for you that it will work for sure. It can change at any time. However, it has been working for quite a while now, so the odds are in your favor if you act quickly. Hopefully it will be around for some time to come, but in the miles and points world we all know that most awesome deals are time limited to some degree.
Have you done this yourself? How did it work out for you?
Disclosure: I do receive a commission for some links in this post. As always, thanks for your support!