Southwest Extends 50,000-Point Credit Card Bonus

The sign-up bonus for Southwest's Rapid Rewards credit cards was scheduled to expire early this month. It didn't, and it looks as though the offer will remain in effect through October 31, 2014. (I'm awaiting confirmation of the promotion's new end date from Southwest.)

Southwest was mum on the rationale behind the extension, but it can hardly be a coincidence that the lucrative offer will now overlap the devaluation of Rapid rewards points, set to take effect on March 31.

For the Rapid Rewards Plus card (annual fee: $69), the 50,000-point bonus kicks in after a new cardholder charges $2,000 within three months. With the Rapid Rewards Premier card (annual fee: $99), the spend threshold is also $2,000 within three months, down from $3,000 the last time this promotion was in place.

Other card details:

  • Both cards award two points per $1 on purchases of Southwest tickets and Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners; one point per $1 for other charges.
  • Annual percentage rate (APR) is variable -- the Prime Rate plus 11.99 percent -- currently 15.24 percent.
  • Premier cardholders receive 6,000 bonus points on their anniversary, enough for $100 toward a Wanna Get Away award ticket.
  • Plus cardholders receive 3,000 bonus points on their anniversary.

Deal or No Deal

In Southwest's program, 50,000 Rapid Rewards points translate into more than $800 toward Wanna Get Away award tickets -- probably two free round-trip flights, although the upcoming devaluation will reduce the value of those 50,000 Rapid Rewards points to just over $700.

Still, as credit card sign-up bonuses go, this is a solid one. And as Southwest offers go, it's as good as it's ever been, and probably as good as it'll ever get.

Unless you're a serial card acquirer -- a flipper, who signs up solely for the bonus, and then moves on -- the question posed by credit-card bonuses has less to do with the card itself than it does with the program it's linked to. In this case, the question is: Is Southwest's Rapid Rewards a program that meets your needs?

If so, this would be a good time to pull the trigger.

Reader Reality Check

Are you a satisfied Rapid Rewards member?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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