Why Chase Southwest Credit Card is useful? How about two round-trip tickets between San Francisco and New York for Valentine's Day for $69?

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January time is planning time for both people and companies.  I start planning for trips this year.  Beside Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, another must-have for first-timer is Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card.  Available for personal use, Southwest offers two choices of credit cards: Chase Southwest Airline Rapids Reward Plus Card and Southwest Airline Rapid Rewards Premier Cards.  Both Plus and Rapid Cards always offer 25000 sign up bonus points that would be worth $400 Southwest airline; sometimes 50000 Rapid Rewards points sign-up bonus would be available.  Because their membership is not free ($69 for Plus, $99 for Premier), many people would turn away from the offer.  Let's look at the offer from a different perspective.

We are going to Las Vegas again. I invited my parents to come along for sight-seeing.  We redeemed four San Jose - Las Vegas round-trip flight tickets using 42000 Southwest points which we paid $69 for the card membership.  The non-point-purchase ticket price is about $210 round-trip per person, amounts to $840 savings. After the redeem, we still have 10,000 Southwest points remaining.  A nice treat from Southwest Airline.

Why is Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards worth the fee?
If $69 would net $400 (or $800 from 50K Southwest points) Southwest airline ticket, and planning to fly at least one domestic US flight within the next 12 months, Southwest credit cards should be seriously considered.  Unlike hotel redemption programs which promotional room price is not available for redeem, Southwest points can be applied to those discounted Southwest getaway tickets.  Redeeming tickets using Rapid Rewards points typically has a 40% discount over non-points purchase of Southwest flights.  For example, we plan to fly to New York next year to visit relatives. Note that if the ticket price is $280 one-way, it can be redeemed by 15800 points. 100 Southwest points is equivalent to almost $1.77 ($280/15800 pts), 77% higher than the normal 100 pts-$1 redeem ratio.

What to do with leftover Southwest Rapid Rewards points after I no longer use the credit card?
There are several options available.
  • Keep the points from expiring by dining once with no minimum spending requirement every 12 months in those participating restaurants in Southwest Airline Dining program
  • Redeem for gift cards or tickets before cancelling Southwest Credit Card (card is required)
  • Save it for next-time US domestic flights next year.  Transfer needed points from Chase Sapphire Signature Credit Card on a 1:1 within 24 hours.  (Transfer points to spouse or domestic partner's Rapid Rewards account is allowed). Chase Sapphires' 40000 points is then equivalent to $700 Southwest Rapid Reward points. The transferred value is better than the $400 rebate.  After first year, I would keep either Chase Sapphire Signature Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card but not both.

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