July 4, 2022
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Chase and Southwest have five co-branded credit cards, and it can be tough to keep track of the eligibility requirements of these cards. At the moment all five cards are offering excellent bonuses — the personal cards are offering huge limited time welcome bonuses, while the business cards consistently have excellent bonuses. So I wanted to cover the basics of what you need to know if you’re looking to get approved for these cards.

Southwest Airlines credit card basics

For context, here are the annual fees and current welcome bonuses on all five Southwest Airlines credit cards issued by Chase:

  • The $69 annual fee Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card (review) has a welcome bonus of 75,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
  • The $99 annual fee Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card (review) has a welcome bonus of 75,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
  • The $149 annual fee Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Card (review) has a welcome bonus of 75,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
  • The $99 annual fee Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card (review) has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months
  • The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card (review) has a welcome bonus of 80,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months

Eligibility for welcome bonuses differs between the personal and business versions of the cards, so I wanted to look at that in a bit more detail.

Earn lots of bonus points with Southwest credit cards

Southwest Airlines personal credit card eligibility

Southwest Airlines’ personal credit cards have more restrictive eligibility requirements than business cards. You’re not eligible for the welcome bonus on the Southwest Plus Card, Southwest Premier Card, or Southwest Priority Card, if:

  • You currently have any Southwest personal credit card
  • You’ve received a new cardmember bonus on any Southwest personal credit card in the past 24 months (business cards don’t count toward this limit)

In other words, you can only pick up a Southwest personal card if you don’t currently have any Southwest personal card. You can get a Southwest personal card if you’ve had another Southwest personal card in the past, as long as you don’t currently have one, and haven’t received a new cardmember bonus on such a card in the past 24 months.

In the event that you’ve canceled a Southwest personal card on which you got a bonus more than 24 months ago, I’d recommend waiting at least a month until applying for another Southwest personal card, just to be on the safe side. That’s because it can take a while for the system to reflect you no longer being a card member.

Southwest Airlines business credit card eligibility

Southwest Airlines’ business credit cards have less restrictive eligibility requirements than personal cards. In the case of both the Southwest Premier Business Card and Southwest Performance Business Card, you’re not eligible for a bonus if:

  • You currently have that exact Southwest Airlines business credit card
  • You’ve received a new cardmember bonus on that exact Southwest Airlines business credit card in the past 24 months

In other words, you’re eligible for the bonus on the Southwest Premier Business Card even if you have the Southwest Performance Business Card, and vice versa. You could pick up both of these cards, and even receive the bonuses.

Southwest business cards have less restrictive rules

General Chase credit card application restrictions

In addition to the Southwest Airlines specific restrictions, be aware of Chase’s general application restrictions:

  • Chase has the 5/24 rule, whereby you typically won’t be approved for a card if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months
  • Chase doesn’t generally have a strict limit on how many total cards you can have at any given point, but rather the limiting factor is generally regarding the overall credit you’ll be issued
  • You can typically be approved for at most two Chase credit cards every 30 days, and I generally wouldn’t recommend applying for more than one Chase business credit card every 30 days

These are just general guidelines, though do note that there’s always some inconsistency based on what other cards you’ve applied for, your overall relationship with Chase, etc.

What credit score do you need for a Southwest Airlines credit card?

There’s not a consistent rule as to what credit score you need to be approved for a Chase Southwest Airlines credit card. In general, I’d recommend having a credit score in the “good” to “excellent” range if you’re going to apply for any of these cards.

Personally, I probably wouldn’t apply if my credit score were under 700, and ideally, I’d hope to have a credit score of 740 or higher. That being said, people with scores lower than that have been approved for these cards, and conversely, people with scores higher than that have been rejected. There are lots of factors that go into approval — your income, your credit history, how much credit Chase has already extended you, etc.

Bottom line

Chase’s Southwest Airlines credit cards are extremely lucrative, especially with the current bonuses. Since there are five cards to choose from, there can often be confusion about the eligibility requirements.

The most important thing to understand is that eligibility for personal cards is mutually exclusive, meaning you can’t get the bonus on a Southwest personal card if you currently have any Southwest personal card, or have received a new cardmember bonus on such a card in the past 24 months. Meanwhile, for Southwest business cards, you are eligible for the bonuses on both cards, meaning you could pick up one business card even if you already have the other card.

Personally, I think the Southwest Priority Card is the most lucrative personal card, while I think the Southwest Performance Business Card is the most lucrative business card.

If you’ve applied for a Southwest Airlines credit card, what was your experience with getting approved?

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