Southwest is running a last-minute deal on its credit cards — sign up by February 11 to collect a free Companion Pass

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  • This is the last chance to earn Southwest’s legendary Companion
    Pass just by opening one of the airline’s personal credit
    cards.
  • Until February 11, when you open a new Southwest personal card
    and spend $4,000 in the first three months, you’ll get
    30,000 points and the Companion Pass that is valid for
    travel through 2019.
  • The Companion Pass lets you book a free ticket for a
    companion whenever you travel — all you’ll have to pay is taxes
    and fees (which are typically as low as $5.60 each
    way).
  • Our pick for the best Southwest card to open is
    the Southwest
    Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
    ; however, read on to see
    which is best for you.

Last month, Southwest Airlines and Chase
launched an unheard-of promotion
for their co-branded credit
cards: Anyone who opened a personal card and met the spending
requirement could get a Companion Pass, good through 2019, plus
30,000 Southwest points.

While this is
an incredible offer
— which has never been available before
— it’s only available for a few more days. To take advantage, you
have to apply for an eligible card by February 11. After that, the
Companion Pass will no longer be included in the sign-up bonus, and
it may not be made available again.

The Southwest Companion pass is often seen as the “holy grail”
of travel for points-and-miles aficionados and self-described
“travel hackers.” When you earn the Companion Pass, you can select
a designated friend or family member to travel
with you for free
, as long as the pass is valid.

Normally to earn the
Companion Pass
, one has to earn 110,000 qualifying points with
Southwest within a calendar year. The pass will then be valid for
the remainder of that calendar year, as well as the entirety of the
following one.

Typically, you may be able to earn some of those qualifying
points by opening a credit card and earning the normal sign-up
bonus, but as Chase has added restrictions on who is eligible —
for instance, you can’t just open two consumer cards at once, earn
the bonuses, and use those points to qualify — it’s become harder
to earn unless you’re a very frequent business traveler.

The ability to earn the Companion Pass purely as a sign-up bonus
makes it significantly easier to acquire. Should new applicants hit
the minimum spend requirement quickly, signing up for one credit
card can equal 11 months of buy-one-get-one flights. Coupled with
competitive fares on Southwest, the pass can be used for everything
from longer vacations to easy, affordable weekends away. While
taxes and fees are still charged on Companion tickets, these start
at $5.60 for domestic flights, and rarely exceed $20 to $25.

In order to receive the bonus, you can’t currently hold a
personal Southwest credit card, and you can’t have earned a sign-up
bonus from a Southwest card in the past 24 months. If you currently
hold a card, but earned the bonus from it longer than 24 months ago
(or never earned the bonus), you may be able to close that, wait a
week or so, and apply for a new card.

Southwest and Chase offer three personal credit cards.
The Southwest
Priority Card
 is the best
option
 for most people because, even though it has the highest
annual fee of the three cards at $149, it offers annual credits and
anniversary bonus points that are together worth at least $150,
meaning the card pays
for itself
.

However, if you’re dead set against an annual fee in the
three-digit range, the other
cards are compelling
 options, especially with the Companion
Pass as a sign-up bonus.

Read on to learn more about the three personal Southwest
cards.

Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that
make these cards great options, not things like interest rates and
late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

When you’re working to earn credit card rewards, it’s important
to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in
full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more
than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat
your credit card like a debit card
.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card

The Rapid
Rewards Plus
 is the base level of the three Southwest cards.
However, just because it’s a bit less featured than its bigger
siblings doesn’t mean it’s a bad option.


The card
 earns 2 times points per dollar spent on Southwest
purchases, and one point per dollar on everything else. You’ll also
get 3,000 bonus points each year on your card-membership
anniversary.

That’s essentially the gist of this card — there’s not too
much to it. There are, however, a couple of things worth
noting.

It has a $69 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year. Of
course, the sign-up bonus — the Companion Pass for 2019 and
30,000 points — goes a long way toward making up for that, while
the anniversary points help each year after.

All in all, while the Plus
card
 has the lowest annual fee, it doesn’t offer a ton of
value after the first year. If you want to earn Southwest points on
your credit card, but absolutely want to pay the lowest possible
annual fee, then this card is probably the best option. However, if
you’re ok with paying a higher annual fee, knowing that you’ll get
more value from the card than you’ll pay for that fee, you’re
better off considering one of the other two.


Click here to learn more about the Southwest Plus card from Insider
Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card

The Premier
card
 is similar to the Plus, with a few enhancements.

The sign-up bonus is the same, but it offers 6,000 anniversary
points each year instead of 3,000.

It also offers the ability to earn tier-qualifying points, which
count toward the elite “A-list” status. You’ll earn 1,500 tier
points each time you spend $10,000 within a calendar year, up to
$100,000 (or 15,000 tier points) per year.

Otherwise, the biggest appeal of the Premier over
the Plus is that it doesn’t have foreign-transaction fees — if
you use your Plus abroad, you’ll be charged an extra 3% on every
purchase.


The Premier’s
 annual fee is $99, compared with the $69 fee on
the Plus, but the extra anniversary points should generally cover
that increase.


Click here to learn more about the Southwest Premier card from
Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card

Generally, though, the Priority is
the best option if you’re a Southwest flyer.

That’s because, even though it has the highest fee at $149, it
offers at least $150 in value each year, effectively cancelling out
the fee.

The Priority offers
7,500 bonus anniversary points each year, as well as an annual $75
Southwest travel credit, which can be applied to purchases like
flights. Assuming that Southwest points are worth $0.01 each —
although you can usually get
more value than that — that means that you’re getting $150 of
value each year just from these two benefits, which cancels out the
annual fee.


The card
 also has a few other benefits, including up to four
Upgraded Boarding certificates each year, meaning you can board
earlier and choose your seat. You’ll also get 20% back on in-flight
purchases, and the same ability to earn tier-qualifying points as
the Premier card.

Ultimately, as long as you’re willing to front the money
for the annual fee, the Priority card pays for itself.

However, if you’re absolutely set against the higher fee, the
Plus and the Priority can be good options as well.


Click here to learn more about the Southwest Priority card from
Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.

SEE ALSO: 10
lucrative credit card deals new cardholders can get in February
2019 — including a free Southwest Companion Pass


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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
Southwest is running a last-minute deal on its credit cards — sign up by February 11 to collect a free Companion Pass