Southwest’s credit card offers are taking off


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Editor’s note: The Southwest Airlines offers are no longer available through our site.

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It’s time to lock down your “plus one.”

With new credit card offers from Southwest and Chase, you could score one of the airline’s coveted Companion Passes, a perk that lets you take a travel partner with you for free every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight (you still have to pay for fees and taxes.) The pass is good for the rest of the year in which you earn it and the entire following calendar year, making it one of the best frequent flier rewards around.

You need to earn 110,000 points to get the pass, which could be within your reach if you take advantage of the enhanced rewards offers on Southwest’s credit cards.

All three of the airline’s credit cards are offering their biggest sign-up bonuses ever — 60,000 points, if you sign up and meet minimum spending thresholds. Before you apply, compare this bonus offer with other travel rewards credit cards.

Why get one of these cards?

If you don’t have a stash of points already accumulated, it’s possible to apply for two of these cards and earn enough to qualify you for the pass. If you want a Companion Pass, but don’t want any new cards in your wallet, 100 qualifying one-way flights will also get you there.

The first checked bag is free on all Southwest flights and there are no blackout dates or change fees for rewards travel, making it one of the most flexible air-travel redemption programs around.

What these cards offer

The Southwest Rapid Rewards card has a $69 annual fee and comes with a 3,000 point bonus on your card anniversary. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card has a $99 annual fee and gives a 6,000 point bonus on your card anniversary.

Only apply for a card with an annual fee if you think you’ll make it up with either the rewards you earn or the sign-up bonus. Otherwise, consider a fee-free cash-back credit card.

Both cards share the following bonus, rewards and APR structure:

  • A 60,000-point bonus for new cardholders who spend at least $2,000 in the first three months.
  • Two points for every $1 spent on Southwest purchases and partner hotels and car rentals.
  • One point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • A variable APR of 18.24 to 25.24 percent.

It’s worth noting that the Rapid Rewards Premier card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, but the less expensive Rapid Rewards card has a 3 percent surcharge on all international transactions.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card has a $99 annual fee, has all the same rewards and benefits as the personal Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card and you can get additional employee cards for free. Unlike the personal cards, this card has a penalty APR that applies indefinitely if you miss a payment.

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