Credit Cards

Southwest 50K Rapid Reward Cards Are Back!

To see the latest, updated offer on this card and others, please visit this page.

These Southwest 50K Rapid Reward credit card offers come every few months. They are really great since they are giving you a value of at least $833 in airfare with one credit card sign-up. I was just asked by a couple of people the other day when I thought they would be back and I assumed it would not be for another month or two, but I am happy to be proved wrong!

This time around, the cards being offered are the two personal cards, the Premier and the Personal, and the Business Premier and Plus cards. Each of these four cards have the same offer of 50K Rapid Reward points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. To read more about the great value of this card and why I ranked it as the Best Credit Card for Domestic Award Travel, check this post. If you want to obtain the companion pass, the best thing to do is to wait until after October 3rd to apply for the cards.

What Can You Get?


Southwest Rapid Reward points are points that are fixed to the revenue of the ticket. In other words, the required amount of points for a trip will be scaleable to the dollar value of the ticket. If you redeem these points for Wanna Get Away fares, Southwest says that you can get $833 of value from these points. However, because that does not take into account the taxes that are eliminated when redeeming an award ticket (you only pay the fee for the ticket, $2.50 a segment), the actual value can be closer to $1,000.

My family and I went on a trip to Florida in March and used Southwest points to go there. The total cost for 4 tickets was 48,000 points! That is less than the points that can be earned with one of these credit card sign-ups! For four domestic tickets, that is an excellent value. With any of the legacy carriers (American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways), the cost for that ticket would be 20K points (in very rare situations) or 25K (most of the time). In contrast, Southwest was only 12,000 points per person for this trip. The cost of these tickets were almost $1,000 so this was a great value.

In April, my wife and I went with another couple to Baltimore. We used about 4,000 points per person for that trip which was another great value. Sure, we could have purchased the ticket for under $100, but the point of the trip was to use points for the whole thing and Southwest Rapid Reward points made it happen.

Gift Cards

You can also redeem these points for gift cards. While this is not typically the best value for these points, not everyone lives near an airport served by Southwest or maybe you have no desire to fly Southwest. If you want gift cards (like Amazon), these are the best credit cards to apply for. Yes, you can get gift cards with the Ultimate Reward points from the Chase Sapphire or Chase Ink cards, but that would be a very bad redemption method since those points are so flexible. With Southwest, gift cards are a great way to get some value from the points even if you won’t fly them.

Companion Pass

Southwest 50K Rapid RewardsSouthwest offers probably the best airline perk of all – the ability to have a companion fly for free with you for this program year and the following year (read this previous post on the companion pass. That companion pass works on paid tickets or award tickets and can be redeemed at any time – it does not have to be booked at the same time as the primary traveler. As long as there is one seat left on the plane, the companion can get the seat. In addition, you can change that companion name up to 4 times – so if you have different people that you will use for different trips, you have that flexibility.

To obtain that companion pass, you need to earn 110,000 Rapid Reward points in one calendar year. Note: these points are not redeemed for the pass – it is simply the level you must reach to receive the pass. In other words, as long as you get 110,000 Rapid Reward points, you are able to have the companion pass and still use those 110,000 points for travel. This makes those points shoot up to a value of almost $4,000 if redeemed for Wanna Get Away fares! The way to get qualifying points is to either fly or earn credit card points. According to the terms, the bonus offer does not apply to that total but it has in all the past offers.

Should You Apply Now?

These offers are valid through October 31, 2013. What should your strategy be for applying for these cards? If you want to obtain the companion pass, the best thing to do is to wait until after October 3rd to apply for the cards. This is because the bonus points are issued after the spending is met. If you apply after October 1st, you will have until at least January 1st to meet the spending requirement. If you do not meet that spending threshold until after January 1, 2014, you will be able to earn the companion pass for all of 2014 and 2015! That is a ton of value! So, here would be the strategy:

  • Apply for the personal card (Premier or Plus) on a day in October (something like October 10th)
  • Apply for the business card (Premier or Plus) on the same day
  • Be prepared to call in for the business card as the system will automatically decline or pend the second application of the day. Explain your business and you should be set to receive the card
  • Spend around $1,750 on each card before December 15 or so (in case your credit line is lower than $2,500) and stop spending until the new year!
  • Spend at least $300 (to be safe) on each card after January 1 and before the 90 days after the day your card was issued (the annual fee does not count so do not include those fees in your spend total)
  • Start thinking about who you will take with you for 2 years of free flights!


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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.