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It’s been almost exactly a year since I signed up for my very first credit card since I was 18.
This was a huge, groundbreaking decision for my husband and me. One that took months of conversations, consideration, nudging from me and compromise from him. Knowing that we would soon need to purchase expensive flights for our upcoming trip to Russia and that the purchase would help us meet the necessary $4,000 spending limit, he finally gave me the green light. On December 28, 2017, I filled out the application on my phone in my car while on lunch at work and was surprised when I was approved instantly.
The card I chose to start with was the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The signup bonus was 50,000 points and the $95 annual fee was waived the first year, so I thought it would be the perfect card to get my feet wet with. Read this post for more details about that card!
Being a credit card user required some adjustments on my part. I have a strict system of balancing our budget every weekday morning, and since I was now having to log into our credit card account in addition to our checking account, I found the process to be a little awkward.
I adjusted to that process relatively quickly, but I never adjusted to seeing more money in our checking account than we actually had available. I couldn’t stand knowing that we had spent some of that money already on our credit card and that the balance in our checking account wasn’t our true balance. Because of this, I neurotically paid off our credit card every single time there was a balance, which was sometimes every day. There is nothing wrong with this, but it did get a little exhausting.
Fortunately, I came across a free service/app called Debitize less than two months later, and it was my saving grace. This service deducts the amount of each credit card transaction from your checking account the next weekday morning, holds it in a reserve account and pays off your credit card every two weeks (check out this post for more details). Our checking account no longer shows more money than we actually had, I receive an app notification every two weeks letting me know my credit card is paid off, and all my problems were solved.
Which is good, because I applied for my second credit card in February, the Chase Ink Business Preferred. This card also had a $95 annual fee, but it is not waived the first year. However, the 80,000 bonus points more than made that fee a lot easier to swallow. We timed the opening of this account to align with booking hotels and trains in Russia; otherwise, it would have been impossible for us to meet the $5,000 spending limit in three months.
This card had a different application process due to it being designed for businesses, and I was a little anxious about using it for very many personal expenses. It’s been almost a year since signing up for that card, and we have used it for mostly personal expenses with no issue. For more details about the signup process and why I chose this card, click here.
After receiving the signup bonuses for both of these cards, I had over 130,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which comes out to over $1,300.00 in cash value or over $1,625 worth of travel rewards.
We have not touched our debit cards since signing up for that first card in December, and as of today, I have now
Okay, to be fair, let’s take out the $95 annual fee we paid. So, $3,108.83 in cash or about $3,909.79 in travel rewards.
Considering that our motive for opening these cards is to travel for as cheaply as possible, paying the annual fee in exchange for the travel value we received comes out to about the same as stepping over two pennies to pick up a $100 bill.
Not bad for my first year of having credit cards.
I post an update of how many Ultimate Rewards points we have every month on Instagram, and I receive comments from time to time asking which card we will open next. And finally, here we are.
So, let’s talk about credit card number three.
Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business
- Sign-up Bonus Points: 60,000
- Spending Limit to Receive Bonus: $3,000 in the first three months from account opening (This is important to remember. The clock starts on the date you’re approved, not on the date you receive or activate the card!)
- 6,000 anniversary bonus points
- $99 annual fee, not waived
- No foreign transaction fees
- Unlimited points that don’t expire as long as your account is open
- No fee for first and second checked bags
- No change fee
- Travel and purchase coverage
You can apply for this card as long as you have something you can consider a business. Or if you’re planning something that can be considered a business. Or if you’re thinking about planning something that can be considered a business.
Mine is the blog you’re reading right now.
In addition to the typical
- Legal name of business (I used my own name.)
- Business name on card (I used my own name.)
- Business mailing address (I listed my personal address.)
- Type of business (I chose sole proprietor.)
- Business phone number (I used my cell phone number.)
- Tax identification number (I used my social security number.)
- Number of employees (I entered 1, as I am my only employee.)
- Annual business revenue/sales (Don’t be intimidated by this question; just be honest. You can get approved for this card even if your revenue was less than $100.)
- Years in business (I chose 2.)
- Select a general industry (I chose Other Services (except Public Admin).)
- Select a category (I chose Other Personal Services.)
- Select a specific type (I chose All Other Personal Services.)
As with the Chase Ink Business Preferred card that I signed up for in February, I was not immediately approved for this card. However, I logged my account for this card the next day and saw that the new Southwest card was connected. I also received my Rapid Rewards® number in an email the following day from Southwest, so I am now just waiting to receive the card in the mail.
Why this card?
Seeing as this is an airline card and my first two cards were transferable points cards, we’re moving in a little different direction with this card. We plan to start using this card in January and will also apply soon for the personal version of this card, the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier. We made these plans with one intention in mind – earning the Companion Pass.
What is the Companion Pass?
The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass allows you to designate one person to fly with you for free (does not include taxes and fees) every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight for the duration of the pass.
How do you earn it?
There are two ways you can earn the Companion Pass:
- “Simply” (the adverb used on Southwest’s website) fly 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year.
- Earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. (Let me stress that again, calendar year.)
I don’t know about you, but flying 100 one-way flights isn’t happening for me. However, earning 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year is attainable. The signup bonus from the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card will take care of 60,000 of these, and the signup bonus from the personal version of the card that I previously mentioned will take care of 40,000. After that, just 10,000 more to go!
How long does the Companion Pass last?
After meeting one of the criteria above, you’ll earn the Companion Pass for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it.
Because of this, timing is critical. It is best to apply for these cards as late in the year or as early in the year as possible so that you can meet the spending limit early on and get the most benefit out of the pass that you possibly can. Again, keep in mind that the 110,000 points must be earned in a calendar year, not within a year of being approved for the card. Therefore, we are holding off on some larger purchases until January to try to hit the limit as soon as we can.
Where does Southwest fly?
As of December 2018, Southwest Airlines has scheduled flights to 99 destinations in 40 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, according to Wikipedia.
Why did I apply for the business card first?
I did it for the larger signup bonus. That way, if for some reason I don’t get approved for the personal version of the card, I at least get 60,000 bonus points instead of just 40,000 that the personal card would have given me.
This is only my third card in a 24 month period, two of which are business cards, so I am not concerned yet with Chase’s 5/24 rule. If you’re not familiar with that rule, Chase will automatically decline you if you have opened five or more personal credit cards issued by any bank in the last 24 months. If you are concerned with this rule, I suggest doing your research and deciding for yourself which to apply for first. From what I have seen, some suggest opening the personal card first, and some suggest opening the business card first.
Alright, I think I covered all the questions you guys may have, but please let me know if you have more!
I am excited to have a new card to nerd out over and track our very intentional spending with. As I mentioned, I will be applying for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier very soon, and I will let you guys know how it goes. Keep your fingers crossed for me! (Update: I applied the morning after receiving the business card and was approved! Check out the post here.)
- Credit Card #1: Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Credit Card #2: Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Credit Card #4: Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier
- Debitize: Signup Process
- Debitize: 3 Month Review