Currently all four versions of the Southwest credit cards are offering 50,000 Southwest points after spending $2,000 within 3 months (OFFERS EXPIRED).
50,000 Southwest points are worth ~$850 in free Southwest flights or you could redeem them for $500 in free Amazon gift cards.
These are some of my all-time favorite cards and because there are four version of the card, you can earn the bonus for each one. Over the past 2 years I have earned 200,000 Southwest points by applying for all four versions and have the Companion Pass that lets a partner fly for free whenever I fly on Southwest flights.
Southwest has also changed the terms and conditions on the Companion Pass to include that the welcome bonus from the 50,000 points Southwest credit cards counts towards earning the Companion Pass.
This means that you can apply for two Southwest cards and earn 104,000 Southwest points after hitting the minimum spending requirements. To earn the companion pass you have to earn 110,000 Southwest points in one year.
110,000 Southwest points along with the Southwest Companion Pass is worth up to ~$3,500+ in Southwest travel! The Companion Pass allows a companion to fly free on any Southwest flights that you fly on for up to two years! They only pay the $2.50 security fee, but no extra points!
How much are 50,000 Rapid Rewards points worth?
The card bonus is marketed as 2 round trip flights on Southwest or on Airtran flights. You can get up to $845 worth of free flights when you redeem them for Wanna Get Away fares. At that level 60 points = $1, but you can stretch the value of the points to close to 2.0 cents on some Wanna Get Away redemption.
For the last year, I have been redeeming points for flights from Portland, OR to Los Angeles for around 8,000-10,000 points at the Wanna Get Away fares, so if you are interested in shorter domestic flights this offer could be worth up to six round trip flights. Keep in mind though, that on March 31, 2014 Southwest is devaluing the points to 70 points = $1, so you might want to try to use some points before then.
How do you earn the Companion Pass?
The 50,000 points bonus from the Southwest credit cards count towards the 110,000 points needed to earn the Companion Pass. To earn the Companion Pass, you need to earn 110,000 Southwest points within one calendar year, so the easiest way to earn the pass is to sign-up for two of the credit cards to earn 100k points (104k with the minimum spend requirement). After that, you just need to earn 6,000 more points to get the Southwest Companion Pass.
Chase allows you to earn the welcome bonus only one time each of the 4 versions of the cards and it's also possible to be approved for two cards in one day. The easiest way to do this is to apply for a personal and a business version of the Southwest credit cards.
What points qualify for the Companion Pass: "Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from revenue flights, points issued on Southwest Airlines Rapids Rewards Credit Cards, and points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners."
Points that will not qualify: "Purchased points and points earned from program enrollment, tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and Partner bonuses do not count toward Companion Pass status."
What is the value of the Southwest Companion Pass?
The pass could be worth up to ~$1,000+ depending on how frequently you use it and the fares you redeem with. With the Companion Pass, you can designate a companion to fly for FREE (just pay $10 in fees) on any Southwest flights you are on. Since the pass is good for the remaining year plus the entire next calendar year, you can get almost 2 years of free flights for a companion. This is good for any flights you book using points or purchase and it is unlimited.
How long is the Companion Pass valid for?
Once you reach the 110k points required for the Companion Pass, you have the rest of that calendar year plus the entire following year to use it. Because of this, the best time to earn the pass is at the beginning of the year. That's why now is a great time to apply for the card and you can get nearly t two full years to take advantage of the Companion Pass.
Which Southwest credit cards are offering 50,000?
All 4 versions of the card currently have the 50,000 welcome bonus. In the past the offer has been released for only the Plus cards or the Premium cards, or a combination of the two.