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The sign-up bonus for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card has changed since the article was published. See NerdWallet's review of the card for up-to-date information.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card comes with the biggest sign-up bonus of any of the Southwest cards: Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
In addition to going a long way toward earning you the coveted Southwest Companion Pass, those points will buy you a lot of award travel — including to some popular destinations during peak travel times.
Here are just a few ways you could use 70,000 Rapid Rewards points this year:
San Jose to Honolulu over the winter holidays
Always wanted to do the holidays in Hawaii? This year, you can get these high-demand flights with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card’s bonus. Nonstop flights from San Jose to Honolulu ranged from about 16,000 points to nearly 45,000 points in each direction during prime holiday travel days when we last checked, so obviously having flexibility will help. If you're in the Bay Area, try searching from Oakland, which also offers nonstop flights to Oahu.
» Learn more: 10 ways to save on an Oahu vacation
Baltimore to Costa Rica in November or December
Your sign-up bonus could easily fund an end-of-the-year trip to the rainforests, beaches and the pura vida lifestyle of this Central American country: Southwest’s lowest fares between BWI Airport and Liberia, Costa Rica, ranged from roughly 11,000 points to around 30,000 points each way when we last checked. You can expect to spend about $82 in taxes and fees roundtrip if redeeming points.
Kansas City to Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque’s annual hot air balloon festival, which runs Oct. 5 through Oct. 13 this year, is a massive event that attracts visitors from all over the world. A weekend trip from Kansas City to the festival’s Saturday and Sunday ascensions could run you about 40,000 points round-trip with the cheapest Wanna Get Away fares. That trip would have cost your entire sign-up bonus from one of the other Southwest cards.
Phoenix to Providence in fall
Fall in New England offers some of the best weather and prettiest foliage around. You could fly from Phoenix to Providence, Rhode Island, for 7,000 to 27,000 points each way on Wanna Get Away fares, depending on which dates you travel. If those prices hold, your round-trip flight will be completely covered by your sign-up bonus, with points to spare.
15 round-trips from Burbank to Vegas
You’ve got the points. Why not treat yourself to some time in Vegas? You can even skip the traffic at LAX and fly out of Burbank, Los Angeles’ less crowded airport. With Wanna Get Away fares often below 4,000 points each way during the week, you could easily get 15 one-way flights between the two cities. Weekends cost more, but your bonus would still be good for several trips.
The bottom line
Although these specific routes obviously won't work for everyone, they offer a snapshot of what's possible. No matter where you live, it pays to check Southwest's low-fare calendar to make sure you’re getting the best deal you can. You might even be able to fly out of smaller, less crowded airports that might be closer to you or fly at times that are in high demand. Keep in mind that you'll still have to pay some small fees when you’re redeeming your Rapid Rewards.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you Snag these hotel loyalty perks, even if you’re disloyal Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies