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With a $69 annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is the least expensive of three cards offering an amazing perk: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
To make the most of this card, you’ll have to leap into action as soon as you get it. Here are five things to do after getting your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.
1. Plot your way to the $4,000 spend minimum
The clock is ticking on your Companion Pass: It’s good only for travel through Dec. 31, 2019 regardless of when you get it. The sooner you earn it by meeting your $4,000 minimum spend, the more free companion trips you can squeeze in.
If you need a new water heater but weren’t going to buy one until April — or are thinking of making another big, one-time spend — ask yourself whether you can buy it now without incurring interest charges on your card. Change online accounts like Amazon and Netflix to your new card.
» Learn more: Is the Southwest Companion Pass sign-up bonus worth It?
2. Designate a different card for foreign transactions
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has a 3% foreign transaction fee. That can add up fast. If you plan to travel outside the U.S., check the terms on your other credit cards and designate one with no transaction fees that you will bring along if your Southwest travels take you to exciting international destinations like Costa Rica or Cuba.
3. Check yourself
It would be counterproductive if, in your mad dash to reach $4,000 in charges, you overspend. Ditto that for any interest charges you would accrue if you couldn’t pay off your bill in full at the end of the month.
Think of it as a game: You’re trying to get the most possible value in free travel, while keeping it truly free by avoiding unnecessary costs.
4. Pick your companion and put in vacation requests
Can your travel buddy get time off work to take as many trips as you want to take? Can you? Talk to your bosses about taking as much time off as you can to enjoy your companion pass perk. If kids will come along, check school schedules, too.
5. Remember booking fees and taxes
The free travel that your companion will enjoy isn’t 100% free. There are always fees you’ll pay, often starting as low as $5.60 each way. Don’t be surprised when you’re booking and Southwest’s website asks you to pay up.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Southwest Rapid Rewards program: The complete guide
The Southwest Companion Pass: Why you want it and how to get it
Which Southwest credit card should I choose?