Review Of All Three Chase Southwest Credit Cards & How To Use Them To Acquire A Companion Pass

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Chase Southwest Credit Card(s) Review

Chase Southwest Credit Card Reviews

Chase offers three varieties of Southwest Credit Cards.  They offer two personal Southwest cards, the Premier and Plus.  Chase also offers one business version, the Premiere Business.  We will be reviewing all three cards, as well as, discussing how they help you achieve Companion Pass status.

Current Sign Up Vs The Historical High

The bonus on all three cards currently matches the historical high of 60,000 points, and is around until October 4, 2017.  This is an increase of 20,000 points compared to the standard offer for the Southwest cards. The bonus details are as follows:

Personal Premiere Version

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months.
  • Annual fee of $99 applied to your first billing statement.

Personal Plus Version

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months.
  • Annual fee of $69 applied to your first billing statement.

Business Premiere Version

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months.
  • Annual fee of $99 applied to your first billing statement.

Bonus Restrictions

All three cards come with two restrictions that can make you ineligible for the sign up bonus.

  • The three Southwest cards fall under Chase’s 5/24 rule.  If you have applied for 5 credit cards, from any bank, in the last 24 months you will be denied.  Most business cards, including Chase business cards, do not count towards this number.  Check your recent applications to see if you are eligible.
  • This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

Chase Southwest Credit Card Reviews

Chase Southwest credit card earning structure

All three cards come with the same earning structure.  It is as follows:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Southwest Cardmember Perks

The three Southwest cards come with a few perks, they are as follows:

  • Your Rapid Reward points never expire as long as you are a cardmember.
  • No foreign transaction fees for the Personal and Business Premiere cards.
  • Being a cardmember allows you to redeem your Rapid Rewards for gift cards at a value of 1 cent per point.  Options include Target, Shell, and Amazon etc.
  • 6,000 bonus points for the Business and Personal premiere each year the $99 annual fee is paid.  3,000 bonus points for the Personal Plus each year the $69 annual fee is paid.

Fees

Fees for the cards are as follows

Premiere Business and Personal cards

  • $99 Annual Fee

Personal Plus card

  • $69 annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fees

Sign Up Bonus Value – $900 ($801 or $831 net value)

Premiere Business and Personal cards

Southwest Rapid Reward points are valued at 1.5 cents a piece.  That would make 60,000 points worth $900.  The annual fee of $99 brings the net value down to $801 for the Business and Personal Premiere versions.

Personal Plus Card

The 60,000 point sign up bonus is also worth $900.  The annual fee for the Plus card is only $69 bringing the net value of the sign up bonus to $831.

Chase Southwest Credit Card Reviews

Summary

The sign up bonus on all three cards are above average.  Allowing the bonus points to count towards the Companion Pass is icing on the cake.  One thing to remember is that Chase’s application restrictions make them difficult to get approved for.

It is possible to sign up for two of the three cards and earn enough points to qualify for a Companion Pass.  Two cards would net you 120,000 points, plus points earned for spend, and only 110,000 is needed for a companion pass.  Southwest eliminating the hotel point transfer route for the Companion Pass makes this one of the few options remaining.

The earning structure for all three Southwest cards is sub-par.  The cardmember perks are also sub-par.

Long Term Keep Or Cancel?

With the Southwest credit cards having a below average earning structure and no meaningful perks they can not be considered long term keepers.  Even with the annual bonus points covering a large chunk of the annual fee the cards have no value for everyday spend.

Bonus Section – End of Year Sign Up Strategy

The real value with the Southwest cards is the Companion Pass.  Signing up for two of the three cards would provide you with enough points to qualify for the Companion Pass.  And, the end of the year is the best time to get started.  When you earn the Companion Pass you get it for the rest of the current year and all of the next year. Good timing is key!

The optimum strategy is to sign up for two cards in early October, before the increased offer ends on October 4th. You then need to wait until AFTER your December statement closes to complete the minimum spend.  This is important because all 110,000 points need to be earned in the same calendar year.  This means you want to earn the 110,000 points as early in the new year as possible.

The best Southwest cards to apply for would be the Business Premiere and the Personal Plus.

You should sign up for the Business Premiere version first since business cards do not count towards your 5/24 tally.  You still need to be under 5/24 in order to be approved but it would not add to your total.  So if you are 3/24 before your application you will still be 3/24 after approval.  This is especially key if you were at 4/24 because applying for the personal card first would put you at 5/24 and make you ineligible for any more Southwest cards.

The next Southwest card you should sign up for is the Personal Plus.  This card has the lowest annual fee and therefore offers the best value/return of the three cards.

If you were approved for both cards on October 1st and met the minimum spend requirement AFTER your December statement closes you would earn your Companion Pass when your January statement closes.  Make sure you complete the spending before your 3 month clock is up in early January as well.

You do not need to do the entire $2,000 or $3,000 in spend after your December statement closes. Just make sure you do not complete the minimum spend until after it closes.

Example: you could spend $1900 on the Personal Plus card from October 1st until your statement closed in December.  You would then spend the remaining $100 after the December statement closes. Doing this would ensure the bonus points would post in January and would count towards next year’s Companion Pass status.

Conclusion

Everyone who qualifies for the Southwest cards should seriously consider signing up for them.  The sign up bonus, worth $900, is a great offer.  Even if you don’t fly Southwest often you could cash out the sign up bonus for $600 in gift cards.

The real value, with the Southwest cards, is that the bonus points count towards earning a Companion Pass.  It only takes two Southwest card bonuses to qualify for the Companion Pass.  If you time it right, at the end of the year, it is also possible to get the Companion Pass for two years!

Although the Southwest cards come with a great bonus they do not have a rewarding enough earning structure or cardmember perks to hold onto long term.

 

If you are thinking of applying for one of these cards and you would like to help support the site you can click HERE to go to our links.  Thanks in advance!

 

Are you eligible for the Southwest Cards?  To plan to leverage them into a Companion Pass for two years?  Let us know in the comments.

 

 


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12 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Shawn, i have a question.
    Whats the strategy to re-qualify for this? i have the plus and premier “got them on oct 2015 with the bonus posting on Jan 2016 for the companion 2016 and 2017” as of sept 28, 2017 we will be under the 5/24 we will be 3/24. can i cancel the card today and apply for it on January and still get the bonus?
    my plan is to apply now for the business and in Jan or Feb 2018 apply for either premier or plus to get the remaining points.
    thanks for your help.!!

    • That is a great strategy. I would close one or both of the personal cards now. Sign up for the business card before the 60k offer goes away (10/4). Meet the spend so that the bonus posts in January. Then you can sign up for one of the personal cards again in February (I would suggest the plus) to get the bonus for that as well. That should put you at a minimum of 100,000 points (if the offer drops to 40k) plus whatever spend you have done (possibly another 5,000). Which would only leave you 5-10k short of the Companion Pass which is easily reachable.

  2. Shawn,
    Doesn’t the clock start ticking (on the 3 months you have to spend the required amount of money) when you are approved for the card rather than when you receive it in the mail? I believe that’s what I was told by Chase when I received their Reserve card. If that’s the case, then isn’t the window for approval for the Southwest card Oct 1 to Oct 4 (offer ends Oct 4), so that you still have from Jan 1 to Jan 4 to complete the spend requirement?

    • Yes it starts from the day you apply. They say 90 days but they usually end up giving you more. If you send them a secure message asking them when you need to complete the spend by they will give you the date. Just be sure to print a copy of the conversation for your records. Also complete the spend a few days before that so you give the charge time to get settled.

  3. so i just got approved for both personal cards couple of days ago and confirmed that my MSR date is 1/13/18 through SM… I read that they give you 115 days to meet the req so I should be fine right? My first statement close is not until Mid November according to my account..

    • Yeah if they told you over SM you should be good. Did you keep a copy of the secure message? It should still be in your messages on Chase’s website if you didn’t delete it. I would print it off for your records. Make sure to complete it a few days before 1/13 so that you give time for the charges to be settled on your account.

  4. I applied for a Chase business card in August and was denied for having too many cards. The CSR said if I wait until after Sep, I will drop to 3/24, then I can reapply. Do you know if the application in August would be counted, even if I didn’t get approved? Is it open or apply counted toward the 5/24 rule? Thanks.

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