Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Review: For Frugal Loyalists

It offers double points on Southwest spending, plus a rich sign-up bonus, valuable anniversary points and a path to status. But super-frequent Southwest flyers may do better with another card.

Robin Saks Frankel, Kenley YoungSeptember 18, 2020

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  • Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

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Our Take

4.1

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: For small-business owners loyal to Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is a cost-effective way to earn points and perks on their favorite airline.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card"

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$99

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Anniversary bonus

  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions

Cons

  • 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

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$99

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full 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 if you fly Southwest quite frequently, this card's more expensive brother — the $199-annual-fee Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card — might offer you more value for your loyalty and common business expenses.

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.

Rewards:

  • 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, aim for award redemptions that offer 1.4 cents or more in value to get the most from your Southwest points.

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

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other perks:

  • 6,000 bonus points after every cardmember anniversary year.

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

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (which offers primary coverage), baggage delay insurance, lost luggage insurance, travel accident insurance and others.

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

A 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.

A PATH TOWARD A-LIST STATUS

A-List status can offer benefits like bonus points, priority check-in and free same-day standby, among other benefits. With this card, you’ll have the opportunity to snag up to 15,000 tier qualifying points annually toward this status. You earn 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $10,000 spent on up to $100,000 in qualifying Southwest purchases each year. To earn A-List status, you need 35,000 tier qualifying points or 25 one-way flights per calendar year.

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 travel also means you'll get travel benefits like lost luggage reimbursement and travel accident insurance, which can save you money.

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. 

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

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:

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

While the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card has a lot to offer for business owners who occasionally fly Southwest, the consumer version of this card can provide similar benefits at a lower annual fee of $69. It's called the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, and it also earns 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) and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. New applicants are eligible for the following sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

NO ANNUAL FEE AT ALL

If you’re opposed to an annual fee, consider the $0-annual-fee 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 includes Southwest flights as an option. All other purchases earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent. And if you’re a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member, rewards can be even richer. Aside from using rewards to book via the Bank of America® Travel Center, you can also redeem them for a statement credit toward any eligible travel-related purchase, again including Southwest flights but also many other options.

MORE REDEMPTION FLEXIBILITY

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card doesn’t offer cash redemptions. 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 transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to several other travel loyalty programs, including Southwest. (Points transferred won’t count toward the Companion Pass, though.) The card rewards common business expenses, offering 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® Premier Business Credit Card right for you?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card can offer decent value, especially when you take into consideration the annual anniversary points you'll receive. But if you're a very frequent Southwest flyer, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card can take your travel further.

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