[Application link: Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards]
50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards miles are available with the Chase Southwest credit card. This is a substantial improvement from the usual 25,000-mile offer and a top three airline deal today. Here are the details:
- 50,000 Southwest miles after spending $2,000 in 3 months
- 6,000 Southwest miles upon year anniversary
- $99 annual fee
- 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals
- 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
- Free checked bag, elite status qualifying miles with tiered spending
- No foreign transaction fees
- Approval difficulty: Hard (700+ credit score with good income)
- Churn status: Moderate (can be reapplied for after 24 months)
Ever since Southwest secured locked-in oil pricing back in 1999, they have been offering drastically reduced fares for flights within the continental U.S. Which means Southwest achieved their popularity largely through cheap dollars and not with points.
Rapid Rewards has begun to change that perspective. If travelers are flexible to the number of stops and total travel time, some incredible deals can be obtained. For one example, 16,200 miles and $11 can net you a roundtrip flight from San Francisco to New York. Meaning this Chase credit card could get you three roundtrip economy flights for 7,500 actual miles of travel. That's immense value.
This deal comes with caveats though. First of all, flying Southwest likely means an older plane without a good business class product. That is tough for long segments. And, despite recent improvements to their international destinations, you are still going to be largely limited to the U.S.
The card benefits are second tier to other airline cards as well. The $99 annual fee is larger than similar products and is also not waived the first year. And, while the free checked bag helps, no priority boarding, airline lounge network or WiFi statement credit leaves a bit to be desired.
The Final Word
With the recent announcements of increased bonuses to the Chase Ink Plus and Chase United Explorer cards, this deal needs to be weighed against other potential applications. For example, do you spend a combined $4,000 for 50,000 miles apiece on Southwest and United or centralize $5,000 spend for 105,000 United miles?
Like all miles deals, it depends on your travel goals. If you travel within the U.S. frequently and don't mind some of the negatives I outlined above, then the Southwest card is for you. If international travel is your goal though, take a look at the other cards I mentioned above.
Photos credit to Southwest.