Frequent flyers of economy airlines AirTran and Southwest can now get a travel rewards card that lets them earn free Reward Dollars toward free flights and upgrades with every purchase they make.
The AirTran A+ Rewards Credit Card from Chase was announced last week and is now available for anyone who wants to get more value from the money they spend on air travel with Southwest and AirTran – and everywhere else, too.
Reward Dollars, Rapid Rewards, and A+ Rewards
Carriers of the new co-branded travel credit card from Chase, AirTran and Southwest will get two A+ Reward Dollars for each dollar they spend at either airline, plus two A+ Reward Dollars at partner hotels and rental car partners like Hertz. They will earn one Reward Dollar per one dollar spent on all other purchases, and an anniversary bonus each year. Reward Dollars can be used on either Southwest Airlines or AirTran flights, after being transferred to either airlines frequent flyer programs.
AirTran became a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines over a year ago, in May 2011, and the ability of customers to use their Reward Dollars with either their Rapid Rewards account (the Southwest Airlines loyalty program) or their A+ Rewards account (the AirTran customer loyalty program) is part of the continued integration of the two airlines.
Spokesperson Sound Bites
Jonathan Clarkson, director of the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program, said in a press release that “the new AirTran A+ Rewards Credit Card offers a fantastic, unique signup premium and exceptional ongoing benefits that will allow our new Cardholders to take full advantage of two of the top loyalty redemption platforms in the airline industry today.”
As for Chase, general manager Kian Conley, added that “cardholders also have the added benefit of redeeming their rewards on either AirTran Airways or Southwest Airlines, enabling [them] to access the entire combined network, be it for business or pleasure.”
Sign-On Bonus – Free Round Trip
The new travel credit card, which carries an annual fee of $69, is currently offering a sign-on bonus of 16 A+ Rewards credits when cardholders spend $1,000 in the first three months they have the card, which is enough for one roundtrip flight to destinations like Memphis, Key West, Dallas, San Diego, and Nashville. Customers will also get two business class upgrades when they make $1,000 worth of purchases in the first three months.
Every 1200 Reward Dollars can be redeemed for one credit, and it takes 16 credits to earn a roundtrip flight – meaning that a roundtrip flight takes 19,200 Reward Dollars. A cardholder would need to make either $9,600 of purchases from Southwest, AirTran and their partners, or $19,200 of purchases everywhere else. Of course, this excludes the generous sign-on bonus, and also the anniversary bonus of two credits (worth 2400 Reward Dollars) each year.
There is also a bonus offered for transferring a balance – up to eight credits (or 9600 Reward Dollars) when transferring a balance in the first three months, at a one dollar to one Reward Dollar ratio.
The APR for the AirTran A+ Rewards card from Chase is a variable 15.24 percent, for both purchases and balance transfers, and reward travel is subject to blackout dates and flight availability.