(Update 3/11/2013: This offer is no longer available.)
If you're interested in the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card, but missed out on the big 50,000 point sign-up bonus that quickly came and went last year, Southwest hasn't left you completely hanging. There's still a 25,000 point bonus to be had after making your first purchase on the card.
This is actually the same deal Southwest and Chase were offering new cardholders back in August of 2011, so it's nothing we haven't seen before. And as I said when I've previously reviewed this card offer, it certainly isn't a bad deal for a $99 annual fee, but it's not superb either. In addition, based on what we've seen in the past, I think it's fairly safe to say that we'll continue to see sign-up bonuses for the Rapid Rewards Card bounce back and forth between 25,000 and 50,000 points in the coming year. We may even see it bounce back up to 50,000 before the end of 2012, but that's just a guess on my part.
So, the point is my recommendation stays the same. If you really need to take advantage of a free Southwest flight now, go for it. The 25,000 bonus points you'll receive after your first purchase are worth over $400 in Wanna Get Away fares. Factor in the 3,000 point anniversary bonus, and the $99 is definitely worth it. However, if you can manage to hold off for now, you might as well wait and see what happens in late 2012. We're seeing a great deal of competition among credit issuers this year as brand new products are launching and competition for new cardholders is growing even more fierce. There's a good chance the bonus won't get any worse than 25,000 points too, so you're probably safe waiting if there's no hurry to snatch up some free miles before the end of the year.
Perhaps your patience will then be rewarded with something superb? If so, we'll be the first to let you know.