- 1 southwest credit card offers 2016
- 2 New Southwest Credit Card Offers Over $800 Worth of Free Flights
- 3 Review: Alliant Credit Union Visa Platinum Card Balance Transfer
southwest credit card offers 2016
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New Southwest Credit Card Offers Over $800 Worth of Free Flights
Chase just re-launched the mega bonus on their travel rewards credit card, the “Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card,” which comes with a staggering 50,000 bonus points after you spend just $2,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.
Those 50k bonus points are good for over $800 in Wanna Get Away® Fares, which can be redeemed for several free round-trip flights.
If you fly short distances, such as from Los Angeles to the Bay Area, the points could mean more than five free round-trip flights!
Not only that, but you get 6,000 bonus points every year on your cardmember anniversary, which is worth $100 in Wanna Get Away® Fares.
– 2 points for every $1 spent on Southwest Airlines (and AirTran) purchases (including Southwest gift cards)
– 2 points for every $1 spent with Southwest Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental partners
– 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
The card has a limited-time balance transfer bonus of 1 point for every $1 in balance transfers, up to 15,000 points, though the credit card APR is above 0% so you’re probably better off with a pure balance transfer credit card if you need to shift some debt, such as Chase Slate.
You can also earn 1,500 so-called “Tier Qualifying Points” for every $10,000 in purchases, up to 15,000 points annually, which go toward elite status qualification.
In order to qualify for Southwest’s “A-List status,” you need to fly 25 Southwest Airlines one-way flights or earn 35,000 Tier Qualifying points each calendar year.
For their “A-List Preferred” status you need to fly 50 Southwest Airlines one-way qualifying flights or earn 70,000 Tier Qualifying points per calendar year.
– Fly By Priority Lanes (where available)
– Dedicated A-List phone line
– 25% earnings bonus on all eligible revenue Southwest flights
A-List Preferred Members receive:
– Fly By Priority Lanes (where available)
– Dedicated A-List Preferred phone line
– Free inflight WiFi on equipped planes
– 100% earnings bonus on all eligible revenue Southwest flights
So not only do get free flights, but you can also fly in style if you spend enough on this card! Once you hit A-List or A-List Preferred, your benefits kick in immediately and last for the remainder of the calendar year plus the full calendar year after the year in which you qualify.
You can redeem your points by booking travel with Southwest via their own website. Simply select “show fare in points” to see what your trip will set you back. Round-trip flights from Los Angeles to San Francisco are less than 8,000 points in many cases if you plan ahead, meaning you could squeeze nearly six round-trip flights out of the opening bonus alone !
Additionally, you can fly internationally using points if you book travel at Southwest.com, with access to 800 destinations on 50 different carriers. Once you log in to your Rapid Rewards® account, click on the “More Rewards” link to see your options.
But points are not restricted to travel on Southwest airlines or its partner airlines. You can also use the points to redeem gift cards, go on cruises, or experience special one-of-a-kind experiences ranging from golf packages to spa treatments.
One neat feature that Southwest offers is its “Southwest Companion Pass,” which allows a qualified traveler to bring along a guest on every flight they take, free of charge.
There are two ways to qualify for a Southwest Companion Pass:
– Collect 110,000 points from Southwest Airlines flights and/or Rapid Rewards Partners per calendar year (easy)
– Fly 100 Southwest Airlines one-way qualifying flights per calendar year (hard)
The best way to do this is by taking advantage of the 50k credit card sign-up bonuses. For example, if you apply for both a personal and business version of the Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, you’ll get 104,000 miles if you meet the minimum spending requirements.
That’s 50k bonus points per card, plus 2k standard points per card for $2,000 in spending for a grand total of 104,000 points.
If you use the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal you can maximize your points with 5X offers. Additionally, you can sign up for Rapid Rewards Dining and get thousands of bonus sign-up points fairly instantly.
Once you gather enough points for the Southwest Companion Pass you can use it immediately. And it’s good for the full calendar year in which you earned it, and the following calendar year after.
So to maximize the Companion Pass, it’s best to qualify around the beginning of a calendar year (like January) so you squeeze nearly two years out of it.
But points must be earned in the same calendar year in which you earn the Companion Pass, so you need to earn those 110,000 points ASAP once the calendar strikes January 1.
A good strategy would be to open the two SW Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier credit cards in late December, then spend $4k on them in the beginning of January.
That, plus the shopping portal and/or dining program could make you eligible by the end of January, if not sooner.
*Keep in mind that points transferred from Ultimate Rewards accounts (e.g. Chase Ink or Chase Sapphire) do not count toward the Companion Pass. However, you can transfer them to Hyatt and then on to SW, though you’ll only get about a 2:1 redemption ratio.
With the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, there are no change fees, no blackout dates, and points don’t expire.
Your 1st and 2nd bags also fly free, unlike most other airlines that charge you an arm and a leg for just one bag! That’s a pretty sweet deal, especially if you’re a frequent flyer.
And the $99 annual fee is essentially offset by the 6,000 bonus points awarded annually ($100 value), so it’s a pretty solid travel rewards credit card with a relatively minimal fee.
It’s also a Visa Signature card, meaning you get access to special discounts, complimentary 24/7 concierge service, no pre-set spending limit, and $0 fraud liability.
Keep in mind that this bonus offer is only good for a limited time and will likely expire shortly. After which, a less attractive offer will probably takes its place. For the record, the current offer was only around for a limited time before being slashed in half, so take advantage while it’s here again.
This is probably one of the best travel rewards credit cards out there at the moment given its opening bonus, especially for those who travel domestically.
Pros and Cons of the Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- 50,000 bonus points
- Only need to spend $2,000 to get sign-up bonus
- 6,000 bonus points on cardmember anniversary each year
- 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10k in purchases
- Southwest Companion Pass
- Bags fly free on Southwest
- No change fees and easy to book travel
- No blackout dates and points do not expire
- No foreign transaction fees
- $99 annual fee
- Annual fee is NOT waived the first year
- No promotional APR
- Limited bonus point categories
- Travel destinations are mostly domestic
Colin created this blog after spending several years in a job that required him to scour credit reports on a daily basis. His goal is to help individuals better understand their credit and get the most out of credit cards. View all posts by Colin Robertson
Review: Alliant Credit Union Visa Platinum Card Balance Transfer
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
If you have credit card debt, you are probably paying a high (double-digit) interest rate. One of the best ways to get out of debt faster is to use a 0% balance transfer offer. At MagnifyMoney, our favorite balance transfers have no balance transfer fee. Alliant Credit Union — a credit union that anyone can join — is offering a no-fee 0% balance transfer for 12 months. Although there are longer 0% balance transfers on the market, this is a solid no-fee option that can help you save money and become debt-free faster.
One added perk: Once you become a member of the credit union to take advantage of the balance transfer offer, you will also be able to take advantage of Alliant’s other competitive products. They offer a savings account that pays 1.05% APY. They offer 2.5% cash back on a new credit card. And their mortgage and auto loan rates are some of the lowest in the country. Alliant, one of our favorite credit unions in the country, provides the value you expect from a credit union with the user interface and digital tools that you would expect from a bank.
on Alliant CU’s secure website
The Alliant Visa Platinum Card is a very simple, straightforward credit card. There is no annual fee, and there are no rewards. You will probably be given a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months that you have the card (more on that later). Even better — there is no fee for the balance transfer. After 12 months, the APR will range from 10.24% to 22.24%, depending upon your credit score.
Unfortunately, there is one part of this card that is a little complicated — and could lead to disappointment. You are not guaranteed the 0% interest rate for the 12 months. Depending upon your credit score, the interest rate during the 12-month promotional period could be as high as 5.99%. While a 5.99% rate (especially for someone with a less than perfect credit score) could be a good deal — it is certainly not the 0% intro APR being advertised.
In order to get the credit card, you will need to become a member of the credit union. There are a number of ways that you can become a member. Some of the ways are free (for example, you live in a community in Illinois that is covered). But for most people, the easiest way to join is to make a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success. This is an organization that serves foster teens across the U.S. that are “ageing out” of the system. Once you make that contribution, you will be eligible to join the credit union and get the credit card (along with other credit union products). The application process is easy — you just need to select “not a member” at the beginning of the process, and it will walk you through the membership process as part of your credit card application.
The credit card does offer some standard credit card perks, like $0 fraud liability and rental car insurance. However, the real value is the low interest rate that can help you become debt-free fast.
If you want to earn rewards, Alliant does offer another card — the Visa Platinum Rewards Card. This card has the same balance transfer offer (0% for 12 months with no balance transfer fee). But with this card, you also earn rewards. You can earn 2 points for every $1 spent on the card. However, the APRs (after the balance transfer period) will be higher. In general, we advise people to separate their spending from their borrowing. Cards that offer no rewards tend to have lower interest rates, and cards with rewards have higher interest rates — as we see in this case. If you are looking to become debt-free, it is probably better to ignore rewards and get the lowest interest rate possible.
Alliant targets people with good or excellent credit. In general, that means you have a decent chance of being approved if your score is in the mid-600s, but you have a much better chance of being approved if your score is above 700.
In addition, Alliant (like all lenders) will need to be comfortable that you will be able to afford your payments. That means you will need to have a steady source of income. In addition, the lender will likely look at your total debt in relation to your income. If you have too much debt, you will find it more difficult to get approved.
There is nothing better than free. And with no balance transfer fee and no interest for 12 months, that is exactly what you get. Pay down as much of the debt as possible during the promotional period — because every dollar of every payment will go toward principal.
At MagnifyMoney, we like credit unions — in theory. As member-owned organizations, credit unions do not need to worry about shareholders and should be able to offer better value and lower interest rates. Unfortunately, far too many credit unions have websites that look like they were designed in the 1990s. With Alliant, we finally have a credit union that has made the application process easy, and has a great website. Alliant is delivering on the true potential of a credit union.
There are a number of longer no-fee balance transfer options on the market. You can get a no-fee balance transfer for as long as 15 months from some of the leading banks in the country.
You are not guaranteed a 0% intro offer — the rate could be higher.
In the fine print, Alliant makes it clear that you might not get a 0% intro rate. The intro rate could be as high as 5.99%, depending upon your credit score. The only silver lining: Alliant is willing to give intro rates to people with less than perfect credit. But we still find it a bit annoying that you could apply for a 0% intro rate and end up with a 5.99% rate instead.
If you can’t find a free way to join the credit union, you will have to make a $10 donation. We certainly like the cause that you would be supporting. However, it is still additional money that you would need to spend in order to get access to the product.
Completing the balance transfer is easy. During the application process, you can provide the credit card number of your existing credit cards (where the debt is located now). Alliant will then make a payment to your existing credit card companies.
Alternatively, you can call Alliant once you have the card to complete the balance transfer on the phone.
Just remember these tips:
- If you start the balance transfer close to the payment date, you might want to make the minimum payment to ensure you don’t get hit with any late charges. Although balance transfers usually process quickly — they can take a couple of weeks. And you would not want to get stuck with a late fee.
- Get the transfer done as quickly as possible. The 0% is for 12 months from when you open the account — not from when you transfer the debt. The faster your transfer the debt, the more money you can save.
If You Want a Longer Intro Period and No Balance Transfer Fee
With Barclaycard Ring, you can get 0% intro APR for 15 months on a balance transfer and no intro balance transfer fee — so long as you complete the transfer within 45 days of opening the card. Just remember: Barclaycard only accepts people with excellent credit.
Barclaycard is the American credit card division of Barclays Bank. Barclays is a large British bank, and you don’t need a branch near you to get the card.
If you have credit card debt that you think you can pay off in a year, this is a great option. With no balance transfer fee and 0% interest for one year — you can pay down your debt quickly. If you think it will take longer to pay off your debt, you might want to consider a longer balance transfer from a more traditional bank.
Yes, anyone can join. During the application process, you will be asked if you are already a member of the credit union. Just select “not a member” and you can join during the application process.
What happens if I don’t pay off the balance transfer at the end of the promo period?
Once the introductory period is over, interest will start to accrue at the standard purchase interest rate on a go-forward basis. Interest during the introductory period is waived — so you do not need to worry about a retroactive interest charge.
In the short term, your credit score will probably take a small hit (5-10 points) because you applied for new credit. However, over time, a balance transfer can increase your credit score with proper practices. This is because while new credit makes up 10% of your credit score, the amount you owe accounts for 30%. By using a balance transfer, you will reduce your interest rate. That should help you get out of debt a lot faster.
Liz Stapleton is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Liz here