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Summer travel demand is back, and plane ticket prices are showing it. Luckily, Chase and Southwest have a new welcome offer for their lineup of cobranded credit cards that will make your summer trip a little easier on your wallet. Late last week, the pair unveiled the opportunity to earn a major welcome bonus on any of their three cards—and get you closer to the coveted Companion Pass—so you have the chance to pad out your Rapid Rewards balance no matter which perks or annual fee price point you’re interested in.
Here’s a look at the new offers and how you can put the points to good use.
The welcome offer
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card are all giving new cardmembers the opportunity to net 75,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months from account opening.
While the offer isn’t as high as some we’ve seen before, the good news is that the spending threshold to snag the bonus is lower than it has been for past welcome offers.
The other good news? All points earned with the card—including those you’ll get from the sign-up bonus—count toward qualification for Southwest’s famous Companion Pass, considered one of the best benefits available in the world of credit card points and miles. With the pass, cardholders can bring a friend or family member on any itinerary they’ve redeemed points for or purchased, for the price of taxes and fees—which start at $5.60 one way on domestic flights.
To score the Companion Pass, you’ll need either 100 one-way qualifying flights each year or 125,000 points, so the sign-up bonus on any of these cards alone will put you more than halfway there.
Each card in the Chase-Southwest trio also comes with its own perks, too. With the Plus—which has the lowest annual fee at $69—you’ll get 3,000 Rapid Rewards points each year as an anniversary gift, two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year, and the opportunity to earn two points per dollar on purchases with Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners, local transit and commuting (including rideshares), Internet, cable, phone, and select streaming and one point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
With the Premier, which sports an annual fee of $99, you’ll get 6,000 anniversary points each year, two EarlyBird Check-Ins, and the ability to earn three points per dollar on Southwest purchases, along with the same two points per dollar the Plus earns in all of its bonus categories, and one point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
The Priority, with a fee of $149 a year, comes with 7,500 anniversary points each year and all the same earning opportunities as the Premier. Additionally, though, you’ll get $75 in Southwest travel credit each year and four Upgraded Boardings per year, which put you at the front of the boarding line.
How to spend 75,000 points
With Southwest, you’ll generally find that the higher the ticket price, the higher the price in points. Still, if you find some good deals, your 75,000-point sign-up bonus can score you three—or even more—round-trips. If you’re looking to do some summer sightseeing, consider domestic destinations that are at their best in the warmer months. Discover new breweries in Portland, Oregon, take an architectural boat tour in Chicago, or hike in the Denver area.
If you’re planning for later in the year, the bonus can also help you with a warm-weather escape. True to its name, Southwest services cities including Phoenix, San Diego, and Las Vegas, which are all particularly beautiful in the fall and winter. And if you want to go farther afield, you’ll have options to visit Hawaii, Mexico, Belize, or Costa Rica—all of which have round-trip flights well within the bonus offer range for fall 2022.
Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.