Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card Worth the Annual Fee?

Lee HuffmanJanuary 31, 2020
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If you’re flying Southwest Airlines regularly, you should consider getting one of its cards. You'll earn additional Rapid Rewards points on every ticket you buy and gain some extra perks.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card has great benefits, like four upgraded boardings every year and in-flight Wi-Fi credits. The card does have a higher annual fee than the other Southwest credit cards, so we'll help you determine if this card is right for you.

The welcome bonus

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card comes with the following welcome bonus: Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.

The card has an annual fee of $199, and employee cards can be added at no extra charge.

The Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest's Companion Pass is one of the best benefits offered by any airline. This perk is yours once you've flown 100 one-way qualifying flights or earned 125,000 points. For the remainder of the current year and all of the following year, your designated companion can fly with you for just the cost of taxes and fees. Points earned from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card, including the welcome bonus, count towards the Companion Pass.

If you think you'll earn and use the Companion Pass, this card can certainly be worth its fee.

Travel rewards

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card comes with great benefits that frequent business travelers will appreciate. Each year, cardholders receive 9,000 points upon renewal of the card. That's worth about $140 in flights. Cardholders also receive four upgraded boardings each year, a Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursement every four years and 365 in-flight Wi-Fi credits of $8 each year (yes, that's one for every day).

The card also earns 3 points per $1 spent with Southwest, as well as with the airline's hotel and rental car partners. You'll earn 2 points per $1 on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable and phone services. All other purchases receive one 1 per $1 spent.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

This chart compares the features and fees of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card against the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, so you can see for yourself how they stack up.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Welcome bonus

Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.

Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Annual fee

$199

$99

Anniversary points

9,000

6,000

Points earned

  • 3x on Southwest and at partner hotel and car-rental companies.

  • 2x on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable and phone services.

  • 1x on everything else.

  • 2x on Southwest.

  • 1x on everything else.

Earn A-List points

Yes

Yes

Foreign transaction fees

None

None

In-flight WiFi credits

Yes

No

Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit

Yes

No

Upgraded boardings

4 per year

None

Employee cards

No charge

No charge

When deciding between these two Southwest business cards, you'll want to compare the benefits you receive against the annual fees of the card. Keep in mind that benefits you won't use don't have any real value, since they will go to waste.

Who is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card for?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is for business travelers who want to maximize the number of points they earn while reducing the cost of perks.

Although the card has a higher annual fee, your priority boarding passes and Wi-Fi credits can be valued at up to $3,120. Even if you only use 10% of these credits, that would easily justify the higher annual fee of $199 versus $99.

Alternative to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

If you want to earn points on your flights but aren't sold on Southwest Airlines, an alternative travel credit card to consider is the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, which earns Ultimate Rewards® that can be transferred to Southwest.

This card earns 3 points per $1 spent on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and online advertising (on up to $150,000 spent each year). The current welcome bonus is as follows: New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

In addition to transferring points to Southwest, you have the flexibility to use the points on different airlines, pay for other travel reservations or redeem for cash back via Ultimate Rewards®.

The card has no foreign transaction fees and the annual fee is just $95. Employee cards are available at no additional charge.

The bottom line

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is designed for the frequent business traveler. It offers enhanced earning capabilities and travel perks that make the card worthwhile if you travel on Southwest on a regular basis. But if you don't fly with Southwest, there are some great business card alternatives to consider.

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 2020, including those best for:

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