How to Make the Most of Southwest’s New Business Credit Card

Sam KemmisJun 21, 2019
How to Make the Most of the New Southwest Business Card

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The sign-up bonus for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card has changed since the article was published. See NerdWallet's for up-to-date information. 

The Southwest credit card family got an exciting addition recently: the .

With its annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is now the airline’s highest-end business card and includes some fantastic perks, such as 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines purchases, four upgraded boardings per year (when available) and in-flight Wi-Fi credits.

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But the feature that caught the attention of many Southwest frequent flyers was the card’s sign-up bonus: You’ll also get 9,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary.  Southwest points at  each.

So this sign-up bonus is no joke from a pure redemption value perspective.

Plus, points earned through count toward the 125,000 qualifying points needed to earn the coveted , which lets a companion fly on the same itinerary as you at no cost besides the taxes and fees. So this card’s sign-up bonus offers an especially compelling avenue for earning the pass quickly.

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However, some thought should go into how to use the card to maximize these benefits, starting with when to sign up.

The Companion Pass is earned after accruing 125,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards qualifying points in the year you first earn it, plus the following year. In terms of using this new card’s sign-up bonus to help you get toward those 125,000 points, this means two things:

We can’t stress this enough: With a sign-up bonus of this size, you have to plan your expenses responsibility. (That sign-up bonus, remember, is: )

Depending on your business, this might not seem like much, but remember: Many expenses like rent and payroll can't be paid with a credit card. So make sure to double-check your credit card spending and anticipated expenses before you sign up.

Thankfully, the advice to sign up for the card late in the year lines up with many businesses’ heavy end-of-the-year spending — you might wish you were only putting $5,000 on the card.

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Don’t rule out the idea of getting one of to supplement the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card. The points earned from these cards, including the sign-up bonuses, also count toward the Companion Pass so long as they’re attached to the same account.

You’ll need to hit the minimum spend for both cards, so if you run a sole proprietorship or other very small business, make sure you can simultaneously hit those requirements if you’re aiming to trigger the sign-up bonuses in January. Otherwise you can stagger the sign-ups, which will mean getting less value from the Companion Pass, but this strategy reduces the minimum spend pressure.

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We’ve mostly focused on the sign-up bonus and the Companion Pass, but this card offers loads of other benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card offers a lot of great value for small business owners, especially those looking to earn Southwest’s Companion Pass. Just make sure to plan ahead, and don’t forget to take advantage of the card’s other perks.

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the , including those best for:

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