Southwest Airlines Visa New 50,000 Bonus Point Offer

Southwest Airlines just increased the Rapid Rewards bonus points offer to an amazing 50,000 points when you open their Chase credit card and put $2,000 in regular spending on the card over the first three months the account is open.  A $99 annual fee applies from the first year.

The 50,000 Rapid Rewards points are worth approximately $714 at the Southwest rate of 70 points per $1.

As we described in our Planning our Free Trip to Disney World article, Southwest is opening up a new route directly from Richmond to Orlando, so this new bonus offer couldn’t have come at a better time.

I went to the Southwest site and put in a mock booking for January 2014 and the fares would have been $100 each way ($200 round-trip), but they only cost 4,680 Rapid Rewards points each way.  So for 9,360 Rapid Rewards points and a $5 tax surcharge, each of us will fly round-trip to Disney World!  That means by opening this one credit card and meeting the $2,000 spending minimum, five of us could fly this route for just the $99 annual fee, which is just amazing.

If you’re interested in how you can open two of these cards and time your bonus points so you get nearly two full years of the Southwest Companion Pass, the “Holy Grail” of travel rewards, check out our article on the Southwest Companion pass here.

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We’ve earned over 1,000,000 miles using this strategy and have upcoming trips planned to Disney World, Bermuda and Europe, so this has worked amazingly well for our family!

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“If it’s all about frugality for you, try, courtesy of a husband and wife team of C.P.A.s in Virginia, which focuses more closely on how to save big. Their step-by-step guide to a free family trip to Disney World is a good test of whether miles mania is right for you.”

--The New York Times' Frugal Traveler

"I couldn't believe that Brad was willing to get on the phone with me and walk me through understanding the complexity of travel rewards... I kept thinking, there's got to be a catch! But, there wasn't! Brad made it easy to understand and helped me develop a simple, focused strategy that wasn't overwhelming and could be implemented with my current budget."

-- Kendra Wright, Austin, TX

"With Brad's help my wife and I have earned hundreds of thousands of miles (and cash back as well!) over the last few months. Having Brad as a resource has been nothing short of incredible in our quest to travel cheaply."

-- Joe O., Las Vegas, NV

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    • says

      Great! This really is a top-notch offer, especially if you have Southwest at an airport near you. They are just opening up a route to Orlando in November, so it’s perfect timing for us…

    • says

      I know I didn’t go too in-depth about the Companion Pass in the article, but it’s an absolutely amazing deal, especially if you live near a Southwest hub like Baltimore. Even from Islip there seem to be a number of direct flights to destinations in Florida.

      Using this strategy to get the Companion Pass, you’d basically earn $4,000 of free Southwest flights over roughly a 20-month period (and you could extend your usage of the regular points if you didn’t want to travel that much in 2014 and 2015)!

  1. scott says

    Looks like a great deal! I’ will be making this my 4th rewards credit card (just redeemed almost $500 of free money this morning after the Chase Sapphire bonus!!!) FYI is currently giving an extra 1,500 points for enrolling in their “rapid rewards” program.

    • says

      Thanks for pointing out the 1,500 enrollment bonus! I had already signed up for an account for me predating this bonus, but I just signed Laura up for one and got the bonus…

    • says

      Yeah, that’s probably smart; even though we’ve discussed over at your site that it doesn’t hurt your credit rating all that much, it’s still safer to just leave well enough alone leading up to the mortgage approval.

      These 50k bonuses seem to come rather often for Southwest, so no worries. If you had any thought to do the companion pass though, this is the absolute ideal time of year…

  2. says

    Hi Brad – total travel rewards newbie question (to date, I’ve been using strictly ‘cash back’ $0 fee cards). Because we are looking at some international travel within the next year, I thought it’d be wise to get a card that offers miles/points with no international transaction fees. I opted for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and will receive 40K bonus points which should help with international flights. I’m now considering having my wife apply for the same reason.

    Question: They waived the $95 annual fee for the first year so I don’t envision keeping it beyond a year and figure I should then sign up for the next big offer for another card. What happens if I’m unable to use all of my points within the year and cancel my card? Will I continue to retain the points or are those typically only available while you have an open account? What is the ‘best practice’ when it comes to doing this credit card roulette? Cancel and move on or do you continue to keep the cards active?
    Buck recently posted…October 2013 – Net Worth +4.4%My Profile

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Buck — this is a great question! The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of my top ten cards, so that was a nice choice for sure. 80k Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points between the two of you are very valuable as they are transferable to many different airline and hotel partners such as British Airways, Southwest, United, Hyatt and Marriott.
      There are essentially two different types of rewards cards: 1) Airline/hotel specific such as SPG Amex and Delta Amex 2) transferable points cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, Ink Plus through Chase UR and a card like the Amex Business Gold cards that offer their Membership Rewards points.
      My understanding and experience is that with the airline/hotel specific cards, 100% of the time once the points are earned with the credit card, they are transferred to your own airline/hotel rewards account (Delta Sky Miles, British Airways Executive Club, etc.) and they are no longer linked whatsoever with the credit card. If you were to subsequently close your credit card, there would be no impact on the points as they are already in your own rewards account. There are expiration dates for these points/miles depending on the program, but any account activity will reset the clock, and this is completely separate from the actual credit card.
      As far as the Chase UR and Amex MR transferable points go, these points are directly tied to your credit card account and if you haven’t transferred them out when you close your card they are gone forever. The simple fix is to just transfer them out if you’re planning on closing the card, so this isn’t a big problem.
      There is some considerable value to the transfer options, so it does pay to keep them in Chase or Amex until you know where you want to transfer them (or if Amex offers a bonus like the 35% bonus to British Airways we took advantage of), but of course you don’t want to lose them.
      As far as closing the cards go, that’s completely up to you; if you value the card with any ongoing offer more than the annual fee just keep it open. If you feel you want to close it, that’s your decision.
      The way you worded your comment made it sound like you were going to wait a year before moving on to your next card. I’m assuming I’m just misinterpreting this, but you obviously don’t have to wait that long. If you can meet the minimum spending requirement on your next card in the time period allotted then you can certainly move on to the next card.
      If you’re curious, The Points Guy has a good post about maximizing Chase UR transfers here

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