Back in December, I wrote that I could no longer find a new application link for the Chase Sapphire credit card, which offered 2 non-flexible Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent on dining, and nothing else. I speculated that Chase had streamlined their Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards into the terrific no-annual-fee Freedom card and the terrible $95-annual-fee Sapphire Preferred card, and thought that was overall a change for the better.
Since then, I spent a little time cleaning up the permanent pages (found in the right sidebar on every page of my site) where I do my best to keep on top of current credit card application links and signup bonuses, and found an additional change in Chase's credit card lineup.
Changes to Southwest Airlines credit card options
Chase used to offer four Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards co-branded credit cards:
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card. $69 annual fee;
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card. $99 annual fee;
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Business Credit Card. $69 annual fee;
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card. $99 annual fee.
The "Plus" versions of the cards earned 3,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points on each account anniversary, while the "Premier" cards earned 6,000 bonus anniversary points, in addition to a few other benefits – like bonus Tier Qualifying Points – that matter only if you make purchases with the cards, which you should never do.
The existence of 4 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards was important since it made it possible to earn a companion pass for four years per applicant by applying for Rapid Rewards credit cards during Chase's recurring 50,000 point signup bonus offers: 2 cards at a time, every 2 years.
I can no longer find a working link to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Business Credit Card.
Once I noticed the change, I did a little light searching and found this MileCards post from December 4, 2014, making the same observation, so the change took place no later than that, although I can't find any contemporaneous announcements, for example from bloggers who had the Plus Business card removed from their affiliate channels.
I don't fly Southwest, but appreciate the amazing value that folks are able to realize by easily and cheaply acquiring the Southwest Companion Pass for years at a time. The lesson I see here is that it's difficult to make predictions, especially about the future, so you should always be thinking about maximizing the opportunities that are currently available, not planning each move years ahead of time. Chase may allow Southwest cards to be churned today, but not tomorrow. And then they may change their minds yet again!
If you can use a Southwest Companion Pass, by all means get one. If another opportunity to acquire one cheaply is available when the first expires, go for it! But don't act with the expectation that every deal will be around forever; on the contrary, every deal's guaranteed to die eventually.