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Its $99 annual fee gets you all the perks of the $69-a-year Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, plus no foreign transaction fees. Folks who sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card by Feb. 11, 2019 can get 30,000 bonus points plus a coveted Southwest Companion Pass, good for unlimited travel through Dec. 31, 2019 for one designated person to fly with the primary traveler. To earn this reward, new cardholders will have to charge $4,000 in qualifying purchases in the first three months. And the sooner the better: The faster you earn the Companion Pass, the more time you’ll have to use it before it expires at the end of the year.
» Learn More: The best cities for the Southwest Companion Pass
Here’s what new cardholders should do as soon as their Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card arrives.
1. Activate and sign your card. Simply follow the instructions to make sure you can start working toward that minimum spend right away.
2. Add an authorized user. If you have a partner, family member or friend who will be allowed to use your card, add them as an authorized user. They’ll get their own physical card with your account number on it, which they’ll be authorized to use for any spending, and the points earned will be added to your account. But remember that you, not your authorized user, is responsible for paying the bill.
3. Move auto-pay accounts to your new card. If you have Netflix or Amazon Prime for streaming video, use auto-pay for utility bills, have news subscriptions or have accounts with rideshare or food delivery services, be sure to switch them to your new Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card to get to that $4,000 minimum faster.
4. Add your card to a dining rewards program. When you register a credit card with an airline dining rewards program, you automatically earn bonus miles every time you dine. Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Dining is the obvious choice if your goal is to earn Southwest points. But you can register the card with the dining program of a competing airline, too. American, United, Delta and others have programs that pay miles for spends on any card you register with them.
5. Check your Southwest points balance. You’ll earn 30,000 bonus Rapid Rewards Points with this card offer. Could those points help you get to the point balance required to get a free companion pass for next year, too? Are you willing to wait to use them? Brush up on the requirements of Southwest’s regular Companion Pass offer — which unlike this offer is ongoing — before you leap to redeem those bonus points.
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
7. Browse Southwest’s popular destinations. To make the most of this Companion Pass offer, you and your travel partner will want to squeeze in as many trips as possible before the end of the year. Start thinking now about all the flights you might take to maximize the value of this perk.
8. Curb your spending urge. Any card that gives you a big points bonus when you hit a spending minimum can inspire an urge to overspend. But if you’re in a mad rush to hit the $4,000 minimum, you could make some unwise purchases. Stay calm and keep your eye on your bottom line.
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: Southwest Rapid Rewards program: The complete guide Is the Southwest Companion Pass sign-up bonus worth it? Chase 5/24 rule explained