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Southwest's 100,000-point credit card welcome bonus ends soon

The welcome bonus can get you close to earning the Southwest Companion Pass.

California, the Caribbean and other warm weather locations are popular for Christmas travel this year, however Hawaii is the most in-demand destination for American travelers, according to Similarweb.
M.M. Sweet | Moment | Getty Images

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® credit card welcome bonus mentioned below is no longer available.

The holidays are here, and so is holiday spending. So before you use your run-of-the-mill credit card, you may want to consider earning a huge welcome bonus with one of the Southwest credit cards.

All three personal Southwest credit cards are offering a whopping 100,000-point sign up bonus, but the offer ends before the end of day on Dec. 7. As long as you apply on or before Dec. 7, you will be eligible to earn the bonus.

This offer is worth roughly $1,400 towards Southwest flights as Southwest points have a fixed value that hovers around 1.4 cents apiece. It's one of the best credit card welcome bonuses we've ever seen, as the spending thresholds are manageable, the annual fees of each card are modest and the rewards are relatively stable in value.

Select analyzes the welcome offers from each Southwest credit card and the potential to earn the highly-coveted Southwest companion pass.

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Southwest Airlines credit card welcome offers end in less than a week

In October, Chase relaunched the Southwest credit cards with new benefits, spending categories and welcome offers. While the cards' new features will remain untouched past the Dec. 7 deadline, the welcome bonuses will be reduced. It's unknown what the bonus offer will be on Dec. 8.

But for now, you still have a chance to grab an excellent welcome bonus. If you're approved for one of the three cards below, you can earn up to a total of 100,000 Rapid Rewards points. You can earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months your account is open, plus another 50,000 points after spending $12,000 total on eligible purchases in the first 12 months of card membership.

Keep in mind the second threshold may sound overwhelming at $12,000, but it averages out to $1,000 in spending per month. However, it's advantageous to have an idea of larger upcoming expenses that need to be paid before you apply for a credit card, such as school tuition, daycare, a down payment on a car or home repairs — to make the welcome bonus simple to earn.

And with over 100,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points in your rewards account, you can begin your vacation booking process for you and a travel partner. Keep in mind that 100,000 points are worth around $1,400 towards Southwest flights, which could get you quite a bit of "free travel." What's more is that after earning the welcome bonus you will be quite close to attaining the Southwest Companion Pass.

Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, and how to earn it

The Southwest Companion Pass is exactly as it sounds: it's a pass to bring a companion on any Southwest flight, for nearly free. All you need to do is pay the taxes for your travel buddy, regardless of if you pay using Southwest points or cash. You can use it an unlimited number of times and can change your companion three times per year.

To earn the pass, you must earn 125,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards miles or fly 100 qualifying one-way revenue flights in a calendar year. Unless you are traveling regularly, the latter option isn't realistic. But the former is simple to earn, as points earned from Southwest credit cards (including welcome bonuses) count towards the 125,000-point threshold.

For example, if you apply and are approved for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, and achieve both welcome bonus thresholds, you will have a minimum of 112,000 Southwest points as you earn a minimum of 1X point per dollar spent on all eligible purchases. This will put you close to earning the Companion Pass, allowing you to have a travel companion fly for free through the end of the next year. To earn the remaining 13,000 points, you will need to spend an additional $13,000 if your spending doesn't fall into the bonus categories of the card.

And the best part of the Companion Pass is that you will have it for up to two years. For example, if you earn the Companion Pass in Jan. 2022, you'll have the benefit through the end of 2023.

Bottom line

If you enjoy traveling within the U.S., to Mexico or the Caribbean and a free checked bag, along with earning heaps of free flights through rewards or the Companion Pass — one of the Southwest credit cards may be a great fit for you. Plus, Southwest points never expire.

But don't wait too long, as the welcome offer will be lowered after Dec. 7.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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