Southwest Performance Business Card Review: Semi-Premium Perks for $199

The airline's most expensive credit card is also its most lucrative for cardholders, offering valuable ongoing rewards on more than just spending with Southwest, not to mention plenty of useful perks.

Melissa LambarenaOctober 7, 2020

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This page includes information about one or more products not currently available on NerdWallet:

  • Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card

As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date. See our NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards page for updated offers.

Our Take

4.9

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Somewhere between a regular travel product and a premium one, this card offers benefits that can easily offset the cost of ownership.

New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$199

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Alternate Pick: No annual fee

Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card

A standout travel rewards card without an annual fee

Earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel purchases booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center and a decent 1.5 points for every $1 spent on everything else.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$199

Annual Fee

$149

Annual Fee

$99

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

For business owners who frequently fly Southwest, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is a valuable travel buddy indeed.

With an annual fee of $199, it's the most expensive Southwest card to carry, but also the most lucrative in terms of rewards-earning ability. Beyond that, you'll also get useful perks that can help defray that annual fee, including annual anniversary points, a path to airline status, upgraded boardings, a Wi-Fi credit and a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck programs

It's not the complete luxury experience that some premium credit cards offer, but the annual fee isn't quite as steep as you'll find on those cards, either.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card: Basics

Card type: Small business.

Annual fee: $199.

Sign-up 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.

Rewards:

  • 3 points per $1 spent on qualifying Southwest Airlines purchases.

  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable and phone services.

  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

This rewards structure is unique among Southwest's portfolio of credit cards, in that it's richer and more varied. All other co-branded Southwest cards — including consumer and business products — earn only 2 points per $1 spent on eligible Southwest purchases, plus 1 point per $1 on other purchases.

NerdWallet values Southwest points at 1.6 cents each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1.6 cents cents or more in value from your Southwest points.

APR: The ongoing APR is 15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other perks:

  • 9,000 bonus points each account anniversary year.

  • 1,500 tier qualifying points for each $10,000 spent on qualifying purchases (on up to $100,000 in purchases annually).

  • Reimbursement of up to four upgraded boardings upon each anniversary year (when available).

  • In-flight Wi-Fi credits.

  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee statement credit.

  • Visa Signature benefits like an auto rental collision damage waiver (which offers primary coverage), baggage delay insurance, lost luggage insurance and travel accident insurance, to name a few.

  • Employee cards earn rewards.

Why you might want the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

A jet-setting sign-up bonus

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card has a sky-high introductory offer: 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. That’s enough to catapult you to within striking distance of the 125,000 points required for a coveted Southwest Companion Pass. This pass lets you choose a companion to fly with you for free (excluding taxes and fees) when you buy a flight or redeem points for a free flight. Once earned, the Companion Pass is valid for the remainder of the year and the following calendar year, too.

Plenty of opportunities to earn points, plus a path to status

Aside from a rewards structure that's more generous than any other Southwest Airlines card, this card gives you 9,000 bonus points after every cardmember anniversary. You can also earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List and A-List Preferred status for every $10,000 spent on up to $100,000 in qualifying Southwest purchases annually. Either status can offer benefits such as more bonus points, priority check-in and free same-day standby, to name a few.

IDEAL FEATURES FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL, PLUS PERKS

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is well-equipped to travel anywhere as part of the Visa network, which is widely accepted by merchants abroad. Plus, since it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, you’ll also save money on purchases abroad. And thanks to its Visa Signature benefits, the card is packed with many travel protections, including lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance and travel accident insurance, among others.

The card's Global Entry or TSA Precheck perk can also help you speed through airport security. Every four years, you’re reimbursed up to $100 when you use the card to pay the application fee for one of these programs. Your four upgraded boardings, when available, will also allow you to grab a seat early. You’re reimbursed when you use the card to buy them, a value of $30 to $50 per flight. And the card’s daily $8 Wi-Fi credit will help you plug into the office. (You'll get 365 credits, one for each day of the year.)

How it compares to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Southwest and Chase offer two different small-business credit cards. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card has the lower annual fee and is better suited for less frequent travelers. Frequent flyers can get more value in the form of higher rewards and reimbursements with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two cards:

Annual fee

$99

$199

Rewards

2 points per $1 spent on qualifying Southwest Airlines purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

3 points per $1 spent on qualifying 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.

Sign-up bonus

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

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.

Anniversary points

6,000 bonus points.

9,000 bonus points.

Foreign transaction fees

None.

None.

APR

The ongoing APR is 15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.

The ongoing APR is 15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.

Tier qualifying points

Up to 1,500 tier qualifying points for each $10,000 spent on qualifying purchases (on up to $100,000 in purchases annually).

Up to 1,500 tier qualifying points for each $10,000 spent on qualifying purchases (on up to $100,000 in purchases annually).

Credits/reimbursements

N/A

Reimbursement of up to four upgraded boardings upon each anniversary year (when available), in-flight Wi-Fi credits and Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee statement credit.

Why you might want a different card

A LOWER annual fee

If the $199 annual fee doesn’t fly with you, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is another option, with a lower annual fee of $99. The perks are fewer, but it can still offer value on Southwest purchases.

For a $0 annual fee, consider the Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card. It earns 3 points per $1 spent on travel purchases booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center, which has Southwest flights as an option. Everything else earns a decent 1.5 points for every $1 spent.

more redemption flexibility

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card lets you redeem points for cash, gift cards, travel and qualifying products or services. Points are more valuable when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, and through that portal you can move your points to several other travel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio, including to Southwest. The card earns 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent. It has a $95 annual fee.

Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card right for you?

Southwest loyalists with business expenses that match this card's rewards categories can get a lot out of this card, especially considering the perks that come with it. But if your business spending doesn't align with its rewards categories, you can likely get more value from a general travel credit card with broader rewards categories or flat-rate rewards.

To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.

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