5 Things to Do After Getting the Southwest Priority Credit Card

Here's how to familiarize yourself with your new card's benefits so you can start getting the most out of it.
Elina Geller
June Casagrande
By June Casagrande and  Elina Geller 
Edited by Meg Lee

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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 and better service while flying Southwest (including a guaranteed A group boarding position four times per year).

Plus, the card currently has the following welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

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.

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. Pick your travel companion

The Southwest Companion Pass is tough to earn. Only travelers who accumulate 135,000 Southwest points or who fly 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year get this perk. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card will help you earn one faster thanks to the chunk of points you can via the 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.

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. Upgrades can be made online via Southwest's upgraded boarding page.

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 2024, including those best for:

Travel Cards from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

Up to $300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

See more Travel cards
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