My New Chase Southwest Credit Card Arrived – Here’s What’s Next to Unlock the Companion Pass and Free Travel

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.

Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

Isn’t it a lovely feeling when you go to the mailbox and find a nice, fat bank envelope with the unmistakable weight of a new credit card inside?

My Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card arrived yesterday, and the kids and I are already chomping at the bit to meet the minimum spending requirements and start travel planning.  With any of the incredible limited-time Southwest personal credit card offers, you’ll earn the Southwest Companion Pass AND 30,000 Southwest points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

There’s less than a week to get in on the best travel credit card deal so far this year, because these offers expire February 11, 2019.

I Let This Kiddo Put the First Charge on My New Chase Southwest Priority Credit Card – Buying Groceries and Subs at Wegmans (Only the Best Supermarket Ever) 🙂

Here’s my plan of attack to earn the Southwest Companion Pass and bonus points from the Chase Southwest Priority card as quickly as possible, and what’s up next for our family’s travel.

The Next Steps After Receiving the Chase Southwest Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is actually the first personal Chase credit card I’ve applied for in nearly 3 years.  The Southwest Companion Pass offer was far too good to pass up, because it’ll get my family a nearly free ticket through the end of 2019 every time we fly Southwest (on paid AND award flights).

We’re planning a trip to Hawaii later this year, and I can’t wait for Southwest to finally start selling seats there.  Getting an essentially free ticket to paradise will translate into a huge savings for me and the kids.  But first, I’ve gotta actually unlock the Companion Pass (and bonus points) by spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months of opening the card.

1.   Spend a LOT and Fast!

Keith wrote a good post about why it’s wise to meet the minimum spending requirements on any of the Southwest personal cards as quickly as possible.  The faster you hit the spending, the sooner you can get to traveling with your newly-minted Southwest Companion Pass.  Remember, this pass is promotional and only valid until December 31, 2019, so packing in as much travel this year is key to making the most of the deal.

Once Southwest Finally Starts Flying to Hawaii, We’ll Book Our Family Vacation There

We’ve got a good guide to meeting credit card minimum spending requirements without breaking the bank.  I plan on spending the $4,000 required before my first billing statement closes in March, so only have a few weeks to hit that mark.  Honestly, I wouldn’t normally spend $4,000 in a month on household expenses, so here’s my strategy to make it happen:

  • I’ll put every dime of spending on the new card – that means groceries (no small amount for a family of 4), gas, utilities, entertainment, restaurants, new gear for the kids’ spring sports, etc.
  • I got my boyfriend an authorized user card, and he’s got strict instructions to use it for all purchases – he is NOT to consult the sticky note with bullet points on which card to use for what that I put in his wallet 🙂
  • Any federal taxes I owe (and accountant fees) will go on the card
  • The kids’ summer camp payments aren’t due until June, but I’ll pay those early
  • The same goes for other summer expenses, like lawn care and pool supplies
  • If there’s any shortfall, I’ll pre-pay my natural gas, cable, and electric bills for a couple of months

I’m confident I’ll be able to make the spending requirement with the expenses above.  That way, the sign-up bonus points and Companion Pass should post to my account by the end of March at the latest (it usually shows up a few days after the statement in which you met the minimum spending closes).

Please do not use this strategy if you can’t pay your bill in full by the due date.  The interest you’ll pay will chip away at the value of the rewards and bonus you’ll earn.

2.   Travel Planning – Before Even Earning the Companion Pass

Like just about everyone, the kids and I are waiting patiently for Southwest to start selling flights to Hawaii.  The partial government shutdown delayed the approval of these routes by the FAA, but things have started moving along so … ANY day now we should hopefully see flights available on the Southwest website.

I suspect the cheapest seats will sell out quickly – possibly before even getting the Southwest Companion Pass in hand.  So I’ll go ahead and book 4 award tickets for me and the kids because I have a nice chunk of points already sitting in my Southwest account.  Worst case, I can always transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest from my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card if I need a few more points for our trip.

Then, once my Companion Pass kicks in, I’ll designate one of the kids as my companion, add them to my ticket, and at the same time cancel their award ticket (the points will be refunded to my account).

We Can’t Wait to Get Back on a Southwest Plane Again – Probably a Few Times Before the End of the Year

That’s the cool thing about Southwest – you can change or cancel a flight without any fees, and if it’s an award ticket, you’ll just get the points back after you cancel.  So booking now and tweaking the reservation later once you earn a Companion Pass is straightforward.

The other way Southwest is a sweet deal?  Everyone gets 2 free checked bags – which is a huge cost savings, especially if you’re traveling with group.  Most airlines charge $30 each way for your first checked bag.

Between now and our Hawaiian adventure, I’d like to book a trip or 2 to escape the nasty winter in the Northeast.  Maybe we’ll zip down to Orlando for a long weekend, or visit Puerto Rico or the Bahamas during April break.  We’re going to make the most of it!

If you’re new to miles and points, check out our complete guide to the Southwest Companion Pass to find out how you can get nearly 2-for-1 travel, too.

Bottom Line

It’s fun to imagine all the travel possibilities that open up when you receive your new credit card in the mail.  My Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card just arrived, and I can’t wait to complete the minimum spending required to unlock the welcome bonus of 30,000 Southwest points AND the Southwest Companion Pass.

To earn the bonus, you’ll need to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening any of the Chase Southwest personal cards (these offers are only valid until February 11, 2019):

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

It makes the most sense to complete the spending as quickly as possible, because the sooner you hit the spend, the faster you’ll get to travel with your Companion Pass.  So I’ll put all my spending on the card in the coming weeks, and pre-pay expenses that aren’t due for a while to get to $4,000 in purchases.

Meanwhile, the kids and I are busy planning a trip to Hawaii and other short hops up and down the East Coast.  With the Southwest Companion Pass, your designated companion flies with you for just the cost of taxes and fees on paid and award tickets, so this is a fantastic opportunity to travel for extra cheap as a family.

Remember, there’s less than a week left to jump on this deal – let me know if you’re getting in on it, too, and where you plan on going!

Jasmin Baron was an editor at Million Mile Secrets. She covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel. Her work has appeared in The Points Guy and Business Insider.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Join the Discussion!

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments