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As of April 5th, 2018, Chase has made it a bit harder to rack up a ton of Southwest Rapid Rewards points and earn the coveted Companion Pass through credit card signup bonuses.
What Chase Southwest Credit Cards Are Available?
Chase offers both personal and business versions of their Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa cards. Within each category, there are Plus and Premier cards. They’re pretty similar, but the Premier cards come with a slightly higher annual fee, a higher anniversary bonus, no foreign transaction fees, and the ability to earn Tier Qualifying Points with high levels of credit card spend. The Business Plus card is only available as a product change from the Business Premier – you can’t sign up for it separately.
For many people, the significant benefit of these cards was the welcome bonus. All three airline cards periodically offer a signup bonus of 50,000-60,000 Rapid Rewards points after meeting a spending threshold within 3 months of signing up. And signup bonuses for the credit cards counts toward the 110,000 qualifying points necessary to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which allows you to designate a companion to travel with you on any Southwest flight (purchased with cash or with points) for only the cost of taxes and fees, as long as there’s a seat available.
Tips To Getting the Chase Southwest Companion Pass
This meant that as long as you could get approved, when both the Premier and Plus credit cards were offering a 50,000+ signup bonus, you could easily sign up for both cards, complete the minimum spending (plus an extra few thousand dollars), and earn a Companion Pass for the remainder of the year and the entire following year.
If timed properly (sign up for the cards in November or December and complete the minimum spending in January), you could get a Companion Pass that was valid for almost two entire calendar years! And a savvy couple could even take turns doing this every couple of years to make sure they kept a companion pass in the family (almost) perpetually.
With Chase’s latest rule change, this strategy has become a bit more difficult. Similar to the rule Chase imposed for the Sapphire family of credit cards (Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred, and Sapphire Reserve), you will not be able to open a new Southwest personal credit card if you currently have any personal Southwest card or have received a signup bonus for a Southwest personal card in the past 24 months.
Not all hope is lost – this change does not affect the Southwest Premier Business credit card. So if you have a business that makes you eligible to sign up for a business credit card, this rule wouldn’t stop you from opening a personal card and a business card at the same time to secure a Companion Pass with the signup bonuses.
The 5/24 Rule For Chase Southwest
The bigger problem for many people is that all of the Chase Southwest cards (personal and business) are subject to the dreaded Chase 5/24 rule. This means that you can’t get approved for any Southwest credit card if you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards (of any kind, at any bank) in the past 24 months.
Even if you can get past the 5/24 rule, you may want to think carefully before applying if your credit report or your history with Chase suggests that you might be engaged in shenanigans that they aren’t interested in supporting. For example, signing up for credit cards and not using them at all after the first couple of months, or canceling cards after having them open for just one year.
Applying for a new card can cause Chase to take a hard look at your history and your current accounts with them. Sometimes that results in Chase deciding that they don’t want to support this type of behavior – and therefore denying your application-or worse-shutting down your existing Chase cards!
Chase Southwest Changes
Chase has made it clear that they’re not interested in people who sign up for credit cards just to get the signup bonus, tuck the card away in a drawer and never use it again. They either cancel it after a year or keep it only for annual benefits (like anniversary bonus points or a free hotel night). This is just their latest step in turning this philosophy into practice.
It makes sense from their perspective. For most people, there isn’t a reason to hold multiple personal credit cards that accrue points with the same loyalty program. As far as Chase is concerned, they want to invest their time and money in average customers. These are the people who are going to sign up for one Southwest card and actually use it.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.