Southwest Card: New Sign up Bonus

As a relatively new player in the Points and Miles Game, I have to analyze each play a little more than some before making my move.

If you are a frequent flyer, this could be a really good deal for you.  Remember this is a limited time offer until 2/11/19!  You can’t put this one on the burner too long while thinking about it.  I know that I am giving it a lot of thought.

Last year signing up for the IHG Rewards card was a no-brainer for me because we often stay at their properties, I knew going in I could make the bonus spend requirement, and that bonus was 100,000 points. No regrets on this play!

Southwest Airlines Programs

I have been considering the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card since first delving into Points and Miles. We fly Southwest to visit our son in Texas.  I am a member of their Rapid Rewards Program, so I am earning points on flights and car rentals made through their site. maybe I want to be able to do more.  It would be nice to be able to fly more frequently or get a seat upgrade.

This card is even on my spreadsheet, cuz dorks like me put everything into a spreadsheet. It lists cards I am considering with columns for comparing annual fees, Best perks, and sign on bonuses. I have learned from reading Your Mileage May Vary that you don’t need several cards that have the exact same benefits because then it makes it hard to utilize enough benefit per card to cover the cost of each of their annual fees.

The previous offer from Southwest was 40,000 Bonus points after meeting a $1,000 spend requirement in 90 days. I could fly free several times with 40,000 points.  I was still on the fence because it is, as Alton Brown would say, A UNITASKER. Meaning only good for one thing, flying with Southwest.

 

Limited Time Companion Pass Bonus Offer

The new limited time Southwest offer is only for 30,000 points and the spend requirement is steeper at $4,000 in 90 days BUT you earn a one year Companion Pass. That means every time you fly (no matter if paid or with points) a friend (you can change friends each trip) flies free. This is a game changer.

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Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card:

  • Annual fee $69
  • 1 Year Companion Pass plus 30,000 bonus points if you meet $4,000 spend in 90 days
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Earn unlimited points that don’t expire as long as your card account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions

Considerations

It is so like Southwest Airlines who already allows 2 free bags per flight (when EVERYONE else charges for them) to have no blackout dates, no seat restrictions and no expiration on your points.   A lot of other programs put so many restrictions on their rewards that it devalues them or makes them hard to use.  I really like Southwest as a company.  They treat people right!

While the Companion Pass is a sweet temptation, I have to curb my enthusiasm and crunch the numbers.  Here are things that I am considering.

  • The New Bonus requires a $4,000 spend in 90 days. I could hit the old $3,000 spend, no problem, but for $4,000 I am going to be scrambling a bit.
  • The Companion Pass is only for 1 year. How many Southwest flights will I actually be taking within that year? All flights must be completed within the year the Companion Pass is active.
  • Do I want to get a single airline card that is only good for Southwest or wait and get a more universal card?
  • I am also saving for a big vacation to Portugal and would like to start earning universal miles/points to offset costs for that airfare. If I go with Southwest, I will not be able to use those points toward those International flights.

I determined that we would have to fly at least 3 times within the year to have used enough Companion Flights to make it worth our while.

  1. I know we will be going to Texas 1 or 2 times this year.
  2. My friend, Phung, and I also want to fly to Phoenix to visit another friend (and those flights have been high so this would make it affordable)
  3. Mark and I could use it to travel to a College Football Bowl game (if they qualify for a Bowl) at the end of the year.
  4. I could visit my Mom in North Carolina with my daughter.

I can probably see us getting in 3 flights.

My Play

I ultimately decided to pull the trigger because we are not taking our next big trip until 2020.  Getting the Companion Pass this year will allow us to take a lot of little trips.  Changes to my Vacation policy at work this year mean that I wont be able to roll as much time off forward at the end of the year (and I have a lot).  This means I have to take more time off during the year.  Since Mark only has two weeks vacation, the fact that the Companion Pass is not tied to just one person opens up the door for me to have multiple Travel Partners.  It should be an interesting travel year!

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Final Thoughts

The clock is ticking as this promotion is only through February 11, 2019.  It is uncertain when the promotion ends if they will reinstate the 40,000 points with a $1,000 spend over 3 months Bonus, or move on to something else that may be even less appealing.

What I know for sure is that the timer is running low and the play must be determined very quickly!  Cue the Jeopardy Music!