Editorial Review

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

The airline's most expensive credit card is also its most lucrative for cardholders, with useful perks and a bonus that gets you tantalizingly close to a Companion Pass.

Melissa LambarenaJuly 8, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.8

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

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$199

Regular APR

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons
  • Has annual fee

  • Needs excellent credit

  • High APR

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

$95

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

18.24% - 23.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

14.49% - 21.49% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 15 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

The New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers business owners a glimpse into the premium travel experience, featuring 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 then again, the annual fee isn't as steep as you'll find on those cards, either.

If you're a dedicated Southwest Airlines flyer who can take advantage of the card's perks, it can save you time and money.

New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card: Basics

Card type: Small business.

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 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 all other purchases.

Southwest points are valued at an average of 1.7 cents each when redeemed for Southwest flights, according to NerdWallet’s valuations. Unlike other airlines that limit availability when booking with rewards, Southwest allows you to redeem Rapid Rewards points easily for any available seat on a flight. Other redemption options include gift cards, hotel stays, car rentals and merchandise.

APR: The ongoing APR is 18.24% - 25.24% 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.

  • Free employee cards.

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

A jet-setting sign-up bonus: The New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card has a sky-high introductory offer: Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. That’s enough to catapult you to within striking distance of the 110,000 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: Aside from a rewards structure that's more generous than any other Southwest Airlines card, this product offers you 9,000 bonus points after every cardmember anniversary. If you're using these to book a domestic flight, that's a value of about $144. And 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. Either status can offer benefits such as more bonus points, priority check-in and free same-day standby, to name a few.

Useful travel perks: The card's Global Entry or TSA Precheck perk can 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.)

Ideal features for international travel: The New! 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.

Why you might want a different card

You don't like the 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 if you frequently fly Southwest. 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 and a decent 1.5 points for every $1 spent on everything else. And if you’re a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member, rewards can be even richer.

You're looking for true "luxury" travel perks: This card offers travel perks that are helpful, but not necessarily "premium." If that's what you're after, consider The Business Platinum® Card from American Express. You'll pay an eye-popping $595 annual fee, but you'll also get perks such as a $200 airline fee credit, up to $200 annually in statement credit for Dell purchases, and access to the Global Lounge Collection, plus a generous welcome offer that can help offset the cost: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. This card earns 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on flights and prepaid travel booked through amextravel.com, 1.5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more, and 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on everything else. Terms apply.

You want 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. 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 New! 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.