Last year I signed up for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, and it has literally changed my life. I’ve saved money. I’ve saved time. I’ve saved my marriage a couple of times. And the card itself has saved my bank account with its fraud protection more times than I can count.
I’ve had a number of people ask about the card and why I love it, so I thought I’d just tell everyone at once. It’s the only card we use these days both for business and personal expenses, and I highly recommend it to anyone who travels much at all. Here’s why.
Earning Southwest Rapid Rewards Points with Your Card
If you ever fly Southwest, you know all about Rapid Rewards. If you don’t, Rapid Rewards are basically the frequent flyer points system for Southwest Airlines. You get points when you fly, you get points when you shop on partner sites, you get points when you book hotels/cars through Southwest, AND you get points when you purchase things with your Chase Rapid Rewards credit card.
I fly a lot. And I buy a lot. And in the past year, I’ve accumulated enough points just on our Southwest credit cards to earn a companion pass, to become an A-list member, and to book a ton of free flights using my rapid rewards. If you book Southwest flights or hotels/cars through the Southwest airport, you get 2 points per $1, and you get 1 point per $1 for anything else you buy. And I’ve found one-way flights for as cheap as like 4,000 points, making it pretty easy to get free one-way flights when you’re using your Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card for most purchases.
The thing I love most about using rapid rewards to book flights is because with Southwest’s no change fee policy (more on that later), you can literally use your rapid rewards points to book a flight, cancel it, and the points just go back into your account. There’s absolutely no risk, which means I book a lot of cheap flights that I end up canceling if I don’t go on the trip.
Getting a Southwest Companion Pass Using Your Card
The biggest reason our Southwest credit card has been life-changing is because of the companion pass. A companion pass allows you to have someone fly with you on EVERY SINGLE FLIGHT you fly on. You can change your companion three different times each year, up to a total of four companions each year. And the pass is good for the rest of the year you earn it in, and the following year. So we earned our first companion pass in January 2016, and it’s good through 2017.
You earn a companion pass by either flying 100 qualifying flight legs or accumulating 110,000 points over the course of a calendar year. Those numbers probably sound high, but there’s an easy workaround to get to 110,000 points quickly. Right now if you sign up for a Chase card through this link, you’ll get 50,000 bonus points when you sign up (and I’ll get 5,000, thanks!). And you personally can sign up for both a business and a personal card, getting 50,000 points for each = 100,000. If you can get both cards, all you’ll need to do is earn an additional 10,000 points to hit the 110,000. Sign up for the 50,000 point bonus here.
If you want to take advantage of the companion pass, I recommend applying for your card at the beginning of January (or right now if it’s already past January) so if you’re approved, you can have the companion pass for almost two full years like we did. But do be forewarned, they do vet people for the business cards. I’ve heard a couple of people get turned down if their “business” wasn’t making any money or hadn’t been established long enough.
Once you have a companion pass, it’s as easy as clicking the link on your flight reservation to add a companion. You pay a minimal fee (like $5.60) per flight but other than that, it’s free. And as long as there is a seat on the flight, they’re in. We’ve saved more money using the companion pass this year than I can even keep track of and that alone makes the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa worth it to me.
Southwest’s Change Fees + Flight Change Policies
Unless there isn’t a good option, I almost solely fly Southwest and it’s not just because I get 2x points on my flights. It’s because my schedule is constantly changing and when I book a flight on Southwest, I don’t actually have to be 100% sure of the flight details. I can book a flight and if something changes, I can change my flight without having to pay any change fee or losing out on the original value of my ticket. If I pay $100 on a flight and then later cancel it, that $100 goes back to me as a credit to use for a future flight. And if a flight price goes down, you can rebook and get difference in the fares back. If you don’t fly often and won’t use those credits, I wouldn’t recommend just booking flights on a whim like I do, but for me it works well.
And that brings me back to why the Rapid Rewards credit card is so important – I almost always have a huge stock of rapid reward points in my account. Like I mentioned before, if you book with rapid reward points then cancel, those points go back into your account. So even if you don’t fly often, you could still book flights whenever you see a good deal because you can always cancel and get those points back when you do.
Lastly, if you just need to change a flight for one reason or another, there’s no change fee involved. You simply exchange your ticket online and pay the difference in the fares and you’re done. I’ve flown different airlines like two or three times this year and every time, something comes up where I wish I could change my flight and can’t unless I want to pay a couple hundred bucks for the change. So I’m stuck with some redeye that I don’t actually want to be on.
Apply for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card.
Already have a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card? What’s your favorite thing about it?