southwest credit card updates
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New Chase / Southwest Credit Card Benefits

Chase Southwest credit card holders will be pleased today, as Chase has rolled out improvements to all 5 cards without any change to annual fees. The personal cards also roll out a new, elevated bonus offer, effective today.

Before today, all three personal cards earned you one point per dollar spent, with the following bonus categories:

If you are in a cash crunch, you should avoid travel rewards credit cards until you are caught up. Here are our favorite credit cards for Intro 0% APR offers and for balance transfer offers

  • 3X for dining. Dining includes restaurants, take-out and eligible delivery services. Note: This benefit is only for your first year as a cardholder.
  • 2X on Southwest purchases, as well as Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental purchases.
  • 1X on all other qualifying purchases
  • Other benefits vary by card
The three Southwest Airlines personal credit cards

Let’s take a look at the changes card by card:

Southwest Priority Credit Card – $149 annual fee

The Southwest Priority Credit Card now earns the following:

  • 3X points on Southwest purchases
  • 2X points on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshares (like Uber and Lyft)
  • 2X points on internet, cable, phone, and select streaming
  • Unlimited Tier Qualifying points (TQPs) towards A-List status (previously maxed out at $100,000 in spend / 15,000 points)

The existing benefits remain which include:

  • 7,500 Rapid Rewards points each year on your card anniversary. Based on our 1.4 cent value, those points along are worth $105 toward Southwest Airlines flights.
  • A $75 annual Southwest travel credit. Just charge your Southwest flight to your credit card and Chase will automatically reimburse you. The credit renews every year after your card anniversary date.
  • 1,500 Tier qualifying points for every $10,000 that you spend on the card (now uncapped). That will give you a healthy start toward your Southwest elite status. Note that Southwest has an unusual definition of qualifying year for this benefit: “Annually” means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and each 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year. Southwest is a first-come, first-served system for boarding. The earlier you check in, the better your boarding position. But upgraded boardings allow you to skip the cattle car process, automatically giving you an A1-A15 position. Normally, you need to pay for these boarding spots, but the card will reimburse you for the first four that you purchase.
  • No foreign transaction fees. You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees when you use the card to make purchases abroad.
  • 20% back on all inflight purchases. That includes WiFi, as well.

The new bonus offer is:

Earn 50,000 points when you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first 3 months, plus 50,000 points when you spend $12,000 total on purchases in your first 12 months

Southwest Premier Credit Card – $99 annual fee

The Southwest Premier credit card now gets:

  • 3X points on Southwest purchases (up from 2X)
  • 2X points on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshares (like Uber and Lyft)
  • 2X points on internet, cable, phone, and select streaming
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins per year (Worth $15-$25 each)
  • And you still get 6,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points each card anniversary (existing benefit)

The new bonus offer is:

Earn 50,000 points when you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first 3 months, plus 50,000 points when you spend $12,000 total on purchases in your first 12 months

Southwest Plus Credit Card – $69 Annual Fee

The Southwest Plus Credit Card keeps its 3,000 points per card anniversary and adds:

  • 2X points on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshares (like Uber and Lyft)
  • 2X points on internet, cable, phone, and select streaming
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins per year (Worth $15-$25 each)
  • It continues to earn 2X on Southwest purchases.

The new bonus offer is:

Earn 50,000 points when you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first 3 months, plus 50,000 points when you spend $12,000 total on purchases in your first 12 months

On to the business side of things….

A couple of great options for Southwest Airlines business credit cards

Southwest Performance Credit Card – $199 Annual Fee

The Southwest Performance Credit Card adds:

  • 4X points on Southwest flights
  • 2X points on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshares (like Uber and Lyft)
  • $500 fee credit each year towards Rapid Rewards transfers
  • Unlimited Tier Qualifying points (TQPs) towards A-List status (previously maxed out at $100,000 in spend / 15,000 points)

It retains these benefits:

  • 2X points on search engine and social media spending.
  • 2X points on internet, phone and cable purchases
  • An anniversary bonus of 9,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. That bonus is worth $126 at the MilesTalk value of 1.4 cents per SW point.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement. Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) once every four years.
  • 4 Upgraded boardings per year. Don’t feel like being the last to board and ending up with the middle seat in the back row? No problem. Chase will reimburse you for up to 4 upgrading boarding charges per year which, when available, will put you in the A1-A15 boarding group.
  • Inflight WiFi credits. You’ll be reimbursed for up to 365 credits ($8 each) per year.
  • No foreign transaction fees. 

The bonus offer is unchanged:

You’ll get 80,000 Bonus Rapid Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months.

Last but not least…

Southwest Premier Business Card – $99 annual fee

The Southwest Premier Business Card adds the following new benefits:

  • 3X points on Southwest purchases
  • 2X points on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshares (like Uber and Lyft)
  • $500 fee credit each year towards Rapid Rewards transfers
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins per year (Worth $15-$25 each)

And it keeps these benefits:

  • 6,000 bonus points on your card anniversary.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Tier qualifying points. For every $10,000 points that you spend, you’ll receive 1,500 tier qualifying points. Up to $100,000 per year.

The bonus offer is unchanged here as well:

Earn 60,000 bonus Southwest Rapid Rewards points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months

Bottom Line

It’s always great to see new bonus categories and benefits without any increase in annual fee (unlike the Amex Business Platinum changes).

For the most part, I’ve historically steered people towards a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Ink Business Preferred, since they’d earn 3X on all travel which can be sent to Southwest in a pinch, but also can be transferred to any Chase Ultimate Rewards partner, like Hyatt, for better value.

And for the most part I probably still will, for the flexibility, however these changes certainly make the top tier Southwest cards worth considering.

A loyal Southwest business flyer may prefer 4X Southwest points over 3X Chase points – IF they primarily transfer to Southwest anyway. And the free Earlybird check-ins on the Premier, Plus, and Premier Business cards are gravy (worth $15-$25 each) in recouping your annual fee.

Certainly, there are “added benefits” and not benefits that make the cards a slam dunk over other travel rewards credit cards.

However, let’s not forget the most compelling reason to get the Southwest credit cards – the Companion Pass!

I’ll update my Guide to the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass shortly, but I’ll give you the punchline:

You need 125,000 SW Rapid Rewards points to earn Companion Pass for the remainder of the year you earn it and all of the following year.

I call the end of the year Companion Pass season – because you can start your spending towards new card bonuses now and the complete the spend in January.

This maximizes your Companion Pass window – for almost two full years!

For example, you could grab any of the personal Southwest cards now. You could spend anything below $2,000 in 2021, being VERY CAREFUL not to spend that much before we are firmly in 2022. Once you hit that $2,000 in January, and then hit the second tranche of the bonus offer, you’d have at least 112,000 points (100,000 from the bonus and 12,000 or more from spend). Then just grab 13,000 more points and you’ve got Companion Pass through 2023!

If you qualify for a business credit card, you can speed things up even more, grabbing one business card and one personal card, to make that 125,000 point threshold even more of a slam dunk. But truly, with the 100,000 point offers on the personal cards, one of those should do the trick!

More information and how to apply for all Southwest Business Cards 

Thoughts?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

And if this post helped you, please consider sharing it!

You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.

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