Obviously the past is no guarantee of the future, but if you look at how often Southwest has offered the 50,000 points bonus, you will notice they typically only do it around twice per year.
And given how lucrative it is, I understand why.
Spring 2013 update: The SWA Rapid Rewards Premier offer for 50,000 bonus points is no longer available. As an alternative I recommend this offer for the Sapphire Preferred because it allows you to convert your points to Southwest Rapid Rewards on a 1 for 1 basis. That means you can turn this bonus of 40,000 Ultimate Reward Points into 40,000 SWA Rapid Rewards points!
The old review of the SWA offer (below) I’ll leave up for reference only. You can’t apply for it right now. I’ll update this post in the future when/if that changes.
If you cash out the 50,000 Rapid Rewards points for “Wanna Get Away” airfare, you can get over $800 worth ($833.33 to be exact). That’s one monster of a credit card signup bonus, it’s enough for 2 roundtrip flights!
But keep in mind you are not getting 2 free flights because you will still have to pay the annual fee for the card ($99, which is NOT waived the first year) and the applicable govt taxes/fees on the flights (which are as low as $10 per flight). Plus, there’s the minimum spend requirement to get the 50,000 bonus points.
But what do you do when the 50,000 bonus points for Southwest Airlines isn’t available? And/or what if you’re just in a hurry to get even more points than that?
Add CSP and Ink Bold for another 90,000 points?
First of all let me start out by saying that these signup offers are subject to change without notice. As I write this (March 2013) the offers were as stated below. But those can and likely will be changed/discontinued at any time. Click on the links below which will take you to my updated reviews to see the current bonus amounts.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred = 40,000 points after spending $3k within the first 3 months (read review to see current bonus)
- Chase Ink Bold = 50,000 pts after $5k spend in 3 mo. (read review to see current bonus)
Both of these Chase cards participate in the Ultimate Rewards program, which means you can convert your points to partner airlines on a 1 for 1 basis. And guess who one of those partners happens to be? Yep, good ol’ Southwest.
So if you need even more Rapid Rewards points – and another credit card or two – then this duo or trio is the perfect choice.
When you combine all 3 bonuses, that can be up to 140,000 Southwest points. Assuming you have fewer kids than octomom, that should be enough to take your whole family on a vacation.
I’m only pointing this strategy out for people who could legitimately use the 3 cards. Don’t apply just to get the bonuses. If you regularly open and close cards, that will come back to bite you in the butt.
Part of your FICO score is based on the average age of your accounts. For the folks who churn and burn, they’re just ruining their credit because they’re decreasing that average account age. This is why you really should only apply for cards you want to keep.
The reason I mention this trio is because for some people, I can see all 3 making sense for the long run. Here’s why…
- Sapphire Preferred
Use for 2x points on dining (which includes restaurants and fast food), concierge, and for those moments you want to feel flashy because the card is made out of metal.
- Ink Bold
Use it for the 5x points on the first $50k spent annually at office supply stores, and on cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services. You also get 2x points on the first $50k spent at gas stations and hotels (when booked directly with the hotel, not thru a 3rd party).
- SWA Rapid Rewards Premier
Every year you get 6,000 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary. Since 6,000 points = $100 of Wanna Get Away fares, that means the $99 annual fee every year will feel like a wash. Being a cardholder can help you reach A-list status faster since you earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10k in purchases (max of 15,000 TQPs can be earned each year from this).