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The ultimate guide to Southwest credit card eligibility

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

Right now, the three personal credit cards from Southwest Airlines each have an elevated welcome bonus that TPG values at $1,125.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card are offering elevated sign-up bonuses of up to 75,000 bonus points for new applicants who spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. These offers end on Dec. 5, 2022.

Southwest credit cards continue to be fan favorites — in no small part because their bonuses represent the fastest way to earn the valuable Southwest Companion Pass. So it’s important to know whether you’re eligible.

Remember that earning Companion Pass will require more points starting in 2023 — 135,000 points to be exact. However, those with a Southwest credit card will receive 10,000 bonus points in their Rapid Rewards account within 30 days of opening a Southwest credit card (new applicants) or at the beginning of the year (for existing cardholders).

There are three specific rules to watch out for when eyeing a Southwest credit card. Here’s what you need to know.

Related: The ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions

Which Southwest credit cards am I eligible for?

If you’re looking at Southwest credit cards, you have five options to pick from — three personal and two business. These are the personal cards:

And here are the two business credit cards:

Chase and Southwest have made this process relatively simple by treating all personal cards the same and enacting two simple rules for the business cards.

Southwest Airlines planes are parked at boarding gates

If you want to apply for a personal card

You are eligible to do so as long as you abide by the following criteria:

  • The Chase 5/24 rule: You’ll almost certainly be rejected for a Southwest credit card if you’ve opened five or more credit cards (from any bank) within the past 24 months — excluding most business cards.
  • Card “family” restrictions: If you’ve already got a Southwest personal card, you can’t open another until you’ve canceled your current card.
  • Sign-up bonus rules: You can’t open the card if you’ve earned a sign-up bonus from a Southwest personal card within the past 24 months

The important note here is that having a Southwest business credit card doesn’t impact your eligibility for personal cards in any way.

If you want to apply for a business card

You are eligible to do so as long as you are under 5/24 and meet the following rules:

  • You cannot currently have that particular credit card.
  • You cannot have received a bonus on that particular credit card in the past 24 months.

Applying for personal Southwest credit cards has no impact on your eligibility for business cards, except for the fact that it takes up one of your 5/24 slots. More importantly, having either Southwest business credit card doesn’t affect your eligibility for the other Southwest business card.

What is the best plan to apply for Southwest credit cards?

Assuming you have a 5/24 slot to spare, the best plan for most people would be to apply for both Southwest business credit cards. Doing so wouldn’t increase your 5/24 count and would keep you eligible to apply for a personal Southwest card in the future. Assuming both applications are approved, the combined sign-up bonuses would be enough to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.

Related: How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Bottom line

It’s always important to plan your credit card applications and pay attention to card and issuer-specific rules. While Chase’s decision to introduce a so-called “family restriction” on the personal Southwest cards threw a wrench into many people’s Companion Pass plans, the same restriction doesn’t apply to the two business cards.

Remember, all three Southwest personal credit cards are offering an elevated sign-up bonus of 75,000 bonus points right now. You can earn those points after spending $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening, and you’ll be well on your way to a Companion Pass. Offers end Dec. 5, 2022.

Apply here: Southwest Plus Credit Card
Apply here: Southwest Premier Credit Card
Apply here: Southwest Priority Credit Card
Apply here: Southwest Premier Business Credit Card
Apply here: Southwest Performance Business Credit Card

Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor, Joseph Hostetler and Ryan Smith.