The bottom line: Frequent flyers can likely get better value out of a general rewards credit card or even another business card within the Southwest family of products.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
17.49% - 24.49% Variable APR
Recommended Credit Score
- Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
- 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
- 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
Pros & Cons
No foreign transaction fees
No blackout dates or seat restrictions
Has annual fee
Alternate Pick: 2X back on everything
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Earn cash back, the most flexible reward of all
This card doesn't come with flashy travel perks, but it earns the same flat rate of 2% cash back on everything you buy — not just on flights with a specific airline. There's also a lucrative sign-up bonus: Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. The annual fee is $0 intro for the first year, then $95.Read our review
For small-business owners loyal to Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is a decent and frugal pick.
The card, issued by Chase, offers an automatic pile of anniversary points every year you have the card, which can help significantly defray its $99 annual fee. It also comes with a substantial sign-up bonus that gives you a leg up toward a coveted Southwest Companion Pass.
But its ongoing rewards on daily spending are underwhelming, and it offers little in the way of travel perks. Those who fly Southwest quite frequently may be able to get more value out of this card's more expensive older brother, the $199-annual-fee Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card.
Nerd tip: Southwest and Chase also offer three other co-branded credit cards aimed at general consumers. Read more about those cards here.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card: Basics
Card type: Small business.
Annual fee: $99.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
2 points per $1 spent on qualifying Southwest Airlines purchases (including flights, in-flight purchases, Southwest gift cards, and at participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and rental car partners).
1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
6,000 bonus points each account anniversary year.
NerdWallet values Southwest points at 1.4 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 1.4 cents or more in value from your Southwest points.
APR: The ongoing APR is 17.49% - 24.49% Variable APR.
Foreign transaction fee: None.
Why you might want the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
GENEROUS WELCOME OFFER
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card starts with a generous sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. That's enough to get you nearly halfway to earning a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, which allows you to choose a companion to fly with you for free (you pay taxes and fees) for the rest of the calendar year in which you've earned it plus the entire following calendar year. Snagging a Companion Pass requires earning 125,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year, and this card's sign-up bonus counts toward that total. (You can also earn a pass by flying 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year.)
VALUABLE ANNIVERSARY POINTS
Even if you never set foot on a plane, you'll earn 6,000 bonus points after every cardmember anniversary, worth roughly $84, based on NerdWallet's valuations. That's nearly enough on its own to make up for the annual fee of $99. And that's on top of the card's rewards for ongoing spending.
IDEAL FEATURES and PROTECTIONS FOR TRAVELERS
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card makes for a good travel companion, thanks to its lack of foreign transaction fees and the fact that it runs on the widely accepted Visa payment network. Using the card to book your travel also means you'll get lost luggage reimbursement for you or your immediate family members traveling with you, up to $3,000 per passenger. In addition, you'll get baggage delay insurance, which will reimburse you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing, up to $100 a day for three days for delays of more than six hours.
Nerd tip: Often, a big perk of a co-branded airline credit card is that it offers free checked bags, a benefit that can help cover an annual fee. Southwest credit cards don't offer such a perk, but the airline doesn't charge for your first two checked bags anyway.
Why you might want a different card
Another Southwest card can offer more
Southwest and Chase offer two different small-business credit cards. And while the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card has the lower annual fee of the two, its rewards and perks aren't nearly as robust as those found on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card.
In fact, frequent Southwest flyers will likely come out ahead with the more expensive card, given the value it can return in the form of higher rewards, as well as reimbursements, credits and tier qualifying points (which help you earn status with the airline, including benefits such as priority boarding).
Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two cards:
You don't want to pay any kind of annual fee
Some people are dead-set against paying an annual fee for a credit card. But if you fall into that group, you're out of luck when it comes to Southwest co-branded credit cards. All of them — the two business cards and the three consumer cards — charge annual fees. Instead of a co-branded airline card, you might do better with a general travel card that earns rewards you can use anywhere, not just with one airline. One example is the Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card. It offers 1.5 points per dollar spent on purchases, and 3 points per dollar on bookings through the issuer's Travel Center. You can redeem points for credit against any travel purchase. The card's annual fee is $0, and it offers a nice sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus points when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening which can be redeemed for a $300 statement credit towards travel purchases. Or you could consider a business card that earns cash back instead of points or miles. Consider the $0-annual-fee Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card. It earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, which you can redeem for cash back, gift cards or travel booked through the Chase portal. It, too, offers a solid sign-up bonus: Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
it lacks premium perks
Maybe you don't mind shelling out a yearly fee as long as you get a slew of worthwhile benefits in exchange. But the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card doesn't provide the razzle-dazzle of a premium travel card. You could opt for the aforementioned Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card, which offers a little more in return. Or you could consider a true luxury card that offers general, flexible travel rewards, like The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Yes, there's a steep annual fee of $595. But in exchange you get a treasure trove of perks, including hundreds of dollars worth of annual travel credits, widespread airport lounge access, elite status with certain hotel chains, Membership Rewards points that are transferrable to multiple travel partners, and much more. Terms apply. There's also a massive welcome offer: Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms apply.
Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card right for you?
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card can offer you decent value, especially when you take into consideration the annual anniversary points you'll receive. But if you're a very frequent flyer looking for a card that can make your travel routine easier, you'll want to look elsewhere.
To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.
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