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If you're ready to get back into travel, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card can be your ticket to free or cheap flights, better service while flying Southwest (including a guaranteed A group boarding position four times per year), and a points bonus that could get you closer to earning that coveted Southwest Companion Pass.
Plus, the card currently has the following welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Chase, which issues this card, also offers two other Southwest cards but despite its $149 annual fee, we think this one is the best for Southwest loyalists, given its added benefits like a $75 Southwest travel credit per year, 7,500 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary and four upgraded boardings per year when available.
» Learn more: Find the best airline credit card for you
Here’s what new cardholders need to do as soon as their Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card arrives.
1. Start spending (responsibly)
Think about purchases you would have to make anyway — new tires, home repairs, school textbooks, a new mattress you already planned to buy — and, assuming you’re prepared to pay off the card balance when the bill arrives, get shopping. Just don’t fall into the trap of unnecessary spending, which defeats the purpose of getting something free.
2. Decide what to do with your bonus points
Normally a Southwest Companion Pass is tough to earn. Only travelers who accumulate 125,000 Southwest points or who fly 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year get this perk. The bonus points you’ll earn with your new Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card could help you make it to that points threshold for the following year, earning you a traditional Southwest Companion Pass good for an even longer period of time: The rest of the year in which you qualified and the following calendar year.
» Learn more: FAQs about the Southwest Companion Pass sign-up bonus
The Companion Pass lets you choose one person to accompany you on unlimited flights practically for free. They’ll pay fees, often as low as $5.60 each way, but no fares. The Southwest Companion Pass is good for the rest of the year in which it's earned, plus the following calendar year.
3. Browse the Southwest Low Fare Calendar
Southwest flies to over 101 destinations in the U.S. and 10 other countries. Spend some time browsing Southwest’s most popular destinations from your home airport and explore Southwest’s Low Fare Calendar feature. Then, pull out your bucket list and compare.
Also, start getting familiar with how Southwest prices its award tickets so you can start planning getaways with your companion pass guest in tow. The airline also has many sweet spots, allowing you to purchase flights for as little as 4,234 Rapid Rewards points.
4. Look at your availability
Do you know when you can get time off work to travel? Do you know when your companion can take vacation days? Do you know which holidays and long weekends could afford you chances to travel? Do you have a reunion, wedding or other scheduled event coming up that you and your companion will want to attend?
Start getting a handle now on what your upcoming travel will look like. Also, check in with friends and family who live in places where Southwest flies to see when it might be a good time to visit.
» Learn more: Southwest Airlines sweet spots
5. Understand the Southwest boarding upgrade perk
If you’re new to flying Southwest, you may not be familiar with its boarding procedures and no assigned seats. But Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Cardholders get up to four upgraded boardings per year for free. Finally, no more setting a timer on your phone to check in exactly 24 hours out — or worse — feeling pressured to pay extra for EarlyBird Check-In.
Use one of your four boarding passes and your boarding position will be moved up to the A group, meaning you’ll be one of the first on the plane to choose your seat. Think about whether you want to save your Southwest Premier Card upgraded boarding passes for longer flights or use them right away.
Final thoughts on what to do after getting the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is a solid choice for Southwest loyalists and offers a lot of useful perks. If you’re considering the card, check out our guide to getting the most out of it.
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 2022, 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