One of the BEST ways to fly free is to take advantage of travel credit cards, and getting a Southwest credit card is usually the FIRST step I recommend if you want to fly your entire family free.

Applying for a Southwest credit card and meeting the minimum spend lets you earn a SIGNIFICANT number of points (we’re talking 40,000-80,000 points!) after you meet a low minimum spend in the first 3-6 months, but most importantly helps you earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

It’s much better to earn tens of thousands of points with a $1,000-$5,000 minimum spend than to earn the card’s typical 1 point per dollar you spend on the card.

Keep reading to learn about your Southwest credit card options and their current offers…

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About Southwest Credit Cards

Southwest credit card Hawaii

Southwest Airlines offers 5 Southwest credit cards to earn Southwest points, which you can use for FREE travel on the airline.

You can choose from 3 Southwest credit cards for personal use and 2 Southwest credit cards for business.

These cards typically offer a 40,000 to 100,000-point bonus after you meet the minimum required spend within 3 months.

Southwest’s frequent flyer program is called Rapid Rewards, and they track points instead of miles.

If you apply for 2 cards when each has a 40,000- to 100,000-point bonus, you either immediately can earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass or you’ll come darn close :).

Your options are either:

  • 1 personal and 1 business card OR
  • 2 business cards (as you can hold BOTH business cards but not more than 1 personal card; see rules below)

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What You Need to Know Before Applying for a Southwest Credit Card

Southwest Business card

Here are some rules you should know and understand BEFORE applying for ANY Southwest credit cards

  • You can only hold ONE personal Southwest card at a time.
  • You can only earn the bonus on ANY personal Southwest card ONCE every 24 months, so if you’ve earned a bonus on ANY personal Southwest card in the last 24 months, you will not be eligible for this offer. But instead, consider having a spouse or loved one take advantage!
  • You can hold BOTH business cards (which is different than the personal card rule)
  • Chase will not approve you for ANY card if you have opened 5 or more new cards of ANY type in the last 24 months (excluding Chase, AMEX, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citi business cards). This is Chase’s notorious 5/24 rule.
  • Chase will not approve you if you apply for more than 1 of their cards within 30 days. There may be an exception to this if you bank with Chase and go into a branch to apply. Additionally, some of our readers have reported success applying for 2 Chase cards in one day (the theory being there is not time for Chase to note you’ve already applied for 1 of their cards). I have not personally tried this.

Remember all of these points, in addition to qualifying toward the Southwest Companion Pass, also may be used for free travel anywhere Southwest flies!



Southwest Credit Card Options

Here are your Southwest personal credit card options…

1. card_name

card_name

I recommend this card if you fly Southwest at least 2-3 times per year, as the benefits are outstanding!

Read my FULL REVIEW of this card and see my top 10 reasons to get a Southwest Priority Card.

Bonus Offer: bonus_miles after a $1,000 minimum spend in 3 months

Annual Fee: annual_fees

Benefits include:

  • 4 upgraded boarding positions (positions A1-15) per year (note: This resets on your card anniversary!)
  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit yearly (use for Early Bird check-in or to book flights; again, this resets every year on your card anniversary)
  • 7,500 anniversary points each year (These points DO qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass)
  • Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 in purchases up to $100,000 each year, which equal 15,000 TQP. TQPs can be used to count toward qualification for Rapid Rewards A-List or A-List Preferred status.
  • 3 points per $1 on Southwest Airline purchases
  • 2 points per $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • 2 points per $1 spent on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Get 25% back on inflight purchases made with the card
  • No foreign transaction fees

 

2. card_name

card_name

Bonus Offer: bonus_miles after a $1,000 minimum spend in 3 months

Annual Fee: annual_fees

Benefits include:

  • 3 points per $1 on Southwest Airline purchases
  • 1 point per $1 earned on all other purchases
  • Other benefits include 6,000 points credited on your one-year anniversary of holding the card, which DO qualify for the current year’s Companion Pass
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming
  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins per year
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Points don’t expire as long as you hold the card

 

3. card_name

card_name

Bonus Offer: bonus_miles after a $1,000 minimum spend in 3 months

End Date: None

Annual Fee: annual_fees

Benefits include:

  • 2 points per $1 on Southwest Airlines purchases
  • 1 point per $1 earned on all other purchases
  • 3,000 points credited on your one-year anniversary of holding the card, which DO qualify for the current year’s Companion Pass (this is the main difference vs the Premier card aside from the lower annual fee and it DOES charge fees for foreign transactions)
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming
  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins per year
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • Points don’t expire as long as you hold the card

 

Southwest Business Card Options

1. card_name

card_name

Bonus Offer: bonus_miles after a $5,000 minimum spend in 3 months

Annual Fee: annual_fees

Benefits include:

  • 4 points per $1 on Southwest purchases
  • 2 points per $1 on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services
  • 2 points on local transit and commuting
  • 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • 9,000 anniversary points (these DO qualify for the Companion Pass)
  • 4 upgraded A1-15 boardings every year (purchase with your card and then you’ll get a statement credit)
  • $100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit every four years
  • Free WiFi by purchasing $8 WiFi and getting a statement credit (up to 365 per year)
  • Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status for every $10,000 spent
  • $500 fee credit per anniversary year for Rapid Rewards points transfers to other members
  • Unlimited tier (A-List/A-List Preferred) qualifying points
  • No foreign transaction fees

 

2. card_name

card_name

Bonus Offer: bonus_miles after a $3,000 minimum spend in the first 3 months

Annual Fee: annual_fees

Benefits include:

  • 3 points per $1 on Southwest purchases and with hotel and car rental partners
  • 1 point per $1 earned on all other purchases
  • 6,000 points credited on your one-year anniversary of holding the card, which DO qualify for the current year’s Companion Pass
  • 2 points on local transit and commuting
  • 2 Early Bird check-ins per year
  • $500 fee credit per anniversary year for Rapid Rewards points transfers to other members
  • 25% back on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Points don’t expire as long as you hold the card

In addition to earning the bonus points for each Southwest card, you will earn an additional 1 point per dollar spent for reaching the minimum spend, netting you another 1,000-6,000 points.

 

BONUS: card_name

Chase Sapphire Reserve review

The card_name is a great third card to hold after applying for the Southwest cards (one personal, one business).

It earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which may be transferred to Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, as well as other airline and hotel loyalty programs for free travel instantly at a 1:1 ratio.

Read my FULL review of Chase Sapphire Preferred

card_name

Bonus Offer: bonus_miles_full

Annual Fee: annual_fees

  • Earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase
  • Earn 2x points on travel and 1x points on all other purchases
  • Earn 3x points on dining, online grocery purchases and select streaming services
  • Points can be instantly transferred to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Points DO NOT count toward the Southwest Companion Pass, only toward a free flight

 

Declined for a Credit Card?

vrbo vacation rental

If you are declined for one of these cards, not to worry!

It’s not necessarily a bad sign. There are lots of reasons you may be declined and many people are approved later.

Your next step should be to contact Chase customer service to review your application by calling the Chase Reconsideration Line phone number at 1-888-270-2127.

We also have some industry “secret” tips to help you get approved for a small business card, which we share inside the Families Fly Free membership.

Once you are approved, be sure to login to your account online or call by phone to make your payment on time monthly and pay off your balance every month, if not every few days, to be sure you do not incur any debt.

This is no longer a good deal if you have to pay steep interest rates on your balance.

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Author

  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.

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