By Paul Brady
January 14, 2020

Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards are a favorite among the low-cost carrier’s loyalists. Now, these valuable cards, which come in Plus, Premier, and Priority tiers, just got a little better. New cardholders can earn up to 75,000 points for signing up — more than enough to cover multiple round-trip flights. The points also go a long way in helping travelers secure one of the best frequent flier perks available: Southwest’s coveted Companion Pass, which lets you book two-for-one flights for more than a year.

Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

The new offer is better than the previously available sign-up bonus, plus it’s richer than what’s typically offered by airline-affiliated cards. It also comes with some fairly typical strings attached. For example, in order to get the full, 75,000-point bonus, cardholders must spend “$1,000 on purchases in the first three months their account is open [and] … $5,000 on purchases in the first six months their account is open,” according to a statement from Chase, which issues the card. There’s also an annual fee starting at $69, depending on which card you choose.

Andrei Stanescu/Getty Images

All that said, 75,000 points will go a long way toward making the cost worth it. Southwest makes it easy to shop for reward flights — that is, trips booked with points — through the airline’s Low Fare Calendar. A search for February flights turned up numerous options for less than 25,000 points round-trip:

  • Baltimore/Washington, D.C. to New Orleans for 23,000 points
  • Philadelphia to Cancun for 40,000 points
  • Boston to Fort Lauderdale for 23,000 points
  • Oakland to Oahu for 20,000 points
  • Los Angeles to Denver for 6,700 points

When it comes to earning, the card gets two points for every dollar spent on Southwest flights, as well as one point per dollar spent on everything else. Cardholders also get an annual bonus of at least 3,000 points on their account anniversary.

But its strongest earning potential is with the Companion Pass. The perk “allows you to choose one person to fly with you, free of airline charges (does not include taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way) every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight,” Southwest says. To get this benefit, which lasts for a full calendar year plus the balance of the year in which you earn it, travelers need to fly 100 one-way trips or rack up 125,000 qualifying points in one year. With that 75,000-point bonus, new cardholders will be more than halfway there — and that much closer to even more free flights.

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