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Now that Southwest has launched its Companion Pass welcome bonus for certain cards, it's time for you to do some math.
Specifically, you need to figure out if this welcome bonus is worth your time. Part of that decision hinges on making sure you can meet and pay off the $4,000 required spend within three months of opening the account.
After all, a credit card welcome bonus is only worth it if you can hit the required spend without filleting your finances.
Even if you aren't interested in Southwest's offer, knowing how to hit a credit card's required spend is a good skill to possess. Here are some ways to make it happen with regular, in-budget expenses.
» Learn More: Southwest Rapid Rewards Program: The Complete Guide
Save the date
The first thing you want to do when trying to hit a required credit card spend is to mark the date your purchases must be paid on a calendar.
Burn that date into your brain so you don’t miss it. Set reminders of that date for every other week to make sure you're on target to hit the required spend.
Charge your bills — and everything else
Once you sign up for that new credit card with a required spend, start using that card for everything. Going out for a bagel and coffee? Charge it. Filling up at the gas station? Charge it. Use your new card on every single purchase during those first three months. You'll be surprised how quickly all those little payments add up. But again, remember to only adopt this strategy if you can pay off that $4,000 right away. Carrying a balance on your welcome offer minimum spend defeats the benefit.
» Learn more: Is the Southwest Companion Pass sign-up bonus worth it?
Additionally, charge bills and expenses already in your budget, so you won't have to worry about racking up interest charges by carrying a balance. If at all possible, prepay the bills with your card to ensure that you hit that $4,000 mark.
Pick up the tab
Going out to dinner with a large group of friends? Offer to pick up the bill using your Southwest card. Use your card to pay, then have your friends pay you back with cash or a payment app like Venmo.
Get a gift
Think about the places you shop most often. Once you have a list on hand, purchase gift cards for those retailers using your credit card. Then, the next time you visit Whole Foods or that same gas station on the way to work, use the gift card as payment. It's an easy way to bump up your credit card spending without overextending yourself.
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:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: 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: 6 nearly free trips you can take with the Southwest Companion Pass promotion As Southwest prepares service to Hawaii, the Companion Pass can get you there for less Southwest does newlyweds a favor with Companion Pass promotion