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Chase, Southwest Airlines Debut New Business Credit Card

Sept. 10, 2019
Airline Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Promos
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Chase and Southwest Airlines have introduced a new business credit card with better features and perks than its other cards, but also a higher annual fee. 

Here’s what to expect from the New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card:

Card details

Annual fee: $199

Sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Rewards: 

  • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines purchases.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Other perks:

  • 9,000 bonus points each cardmember anniversary.
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year when available.
  • Inflight Wi-Fi credits.
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost. (You’ll earn points on employee spending.)

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best business credit cards

Companion Pass jump-start

The huge sign-up bonus for the new card gets you nearly three-quarters of the way to a highly coveted Southwest Companion Pass, which is like a buy-one-get-one deal on your Southwest flights. After you earn one of these passes, you can choose a companion to fly with you for free (minus taxes and fees) when you buy a flight or redeem points for a free flight.

You earn a Companion Pass by amassing 110,000 Rapid Rewards qualifying points in a calendar year (or by flying 100 one-way flights.) A Companion Pass is good for the rest of the year in which you earned it, as well as the following calendar year.

» MORE: Southwest Companion Pass: Why you want it and how to get it

Is the annual fee worth it?

Chase and Southwest already offer a different business card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card. That card has a lower annual fee of $99, but also poorer rewards rates and fewer perks than the New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card.

The new card’s annual fee puts it into the semi-luxury category, although the perks alone seem to justify the price, even after the sign-up bonus. The 9,000 bonus points are worth about $144 when used for a domestic flight, according to NerdWallet valuations. And if a $100 Global Entry application fee credit is used, that’s a value of $20 per year because enrollment lasts five years.

The value of upgraded boardings and Wi-Fi credits get you the rest of the way toward making up for the annual fee. Upgraded boarding — meaning early boarding — usually costs $30, $40 or $50 per flight, depending on your itinerary. A day of Wi-Fi normally costs $8 per device. The credit card gives you 365 credits, enough for one device every day of the year. The perk comes in the form of reimbursement — a statement credit when you use the credit card to pay for onboard Wi-Fi.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best airline credit cards

New bonus categories

Until now, all Southwest credit cards — for business owners and consumers — had the same rewards structure for spending:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on purchases from Southwest Airlines and its hotel and car rental partners.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

The new New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers triple points for Southwest purchases and double points for spending categories useful to small-business owners.

If you’re not a business owner, you have three choices of consumer cards for Southwest Airlines.

It’s worth noting, however, that qualifying for a business credit card might not be as difficult as you think.

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