The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, July 18, 2024

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card Review

Eric Bank

By: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Editor: Jon McDonald

Jon McDonald
Jon McDonald

Jon leverages 15-plus years of journalism expertise to inform financial consumers about emerging trends and companies making an impact in the industry. He is most knowledgeable in the areas of budgeting, credit card rewards, and responsible credit use. Jon has a passion for writing and editing, and his articles have appeared in publications produced by The New York Times.

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Reviewer: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card Review

Our Rating 4.5 /5.0 ★★★★★

Using business travel credit cards strategically can help you manage your small company better. These cards let you streamline expense payments and provide access to many benefits for business travelers.

You can get travel cards co-branded with a specific airline or general-purpose ones offering generic rewards you can use on any carrier. Or you can get both to optimize your benefits.

In this article, we review one of the top co-branded travel cards, the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card from Chase Bank. We also sneak a peek at its three top competitors, each one offering superior value at a reasonable cost.

A Business Travel Card For Southwest Flyers

In return for the $199 annual fee, the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers bonus points for Southwest Airlines purchases, plus inflight wifi credits and upgraded boarding.

The card reimburses you for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry fees. You can also check your first two bags, and it insures you against luggage delay or loss.

Business owners can order complimentary employee cards and personally collect the rewards staff members earn. The card provides travel accident insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, auto rental insurance, roadside dispatch, extended warranty protection, and purchase protection.

How to Qualify & Apply For the Card

Business owners (and their authorized users) can use the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card to save money on travel expenses. You can apply for the business card below and should receive an approval decision in minutes.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening and an additional 40,000 points when you spend $15,000 in 9 months.
  • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earn 4X pts on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.
  • Earn 2X points on rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • Member FDIC
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
$199
Good/Excellent

Qualifying for this Southwest credit card means providing information reflecting your fiscal responsibility and net income. Here’s what you need to know to qualify:

  • Business eligibility: Your business must be a legitimate entity with a valid tax identification number.
  • Credit score: You need a good to excellent credit score, typically above 670.
  • Revenue: You should have a steady business income to show financial stability and that you can afford credit card payments.
  • Credit history: A clean credit history with minimal delinquent payments or defaults is essential.
  • US residency: You must be a legal resident of the United States.
  • Age requirement: You need to be at least 18 years old (19 in Alabama and Nebraska).
  • Personal responsibility: You must pledge to make the monthly card payments as an individual, even if the company can’t pay it.

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is subject to the Chase 5/24 Rule, which limits the number of new credit cards you obtain (from any credit card issuer) to five in the last 24 months.

Benefits & Drawbacks to Consider

For business owners, deciding on the right credit card extends beyond mere convenience; it’s about responsible fiscal management and maximizing value from every business expense.

Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of competing credit cards is crucial because each card offers a unique mix of rewards, fees, and features. A card that matches your purchasing needs can provide valuable savings through rewards and perks.

The card offers a robust suite of benefits that can enhance your business travel experience and reward your spending.

Benefits

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn a generous bonus of Rapid Rewards points after meeting the initial spending requirement within the first few months of account opening.
  • Reward points: Earn Rapid Rewards points on every purchase, with increased points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines purchases and additional points on spending in specific categories. These include internet, cable, phone services, and social media and search engine advertising.
  • Upgraded boardings: You receive four upgraded boardings per year when available. In addition, your bags fly for free, you can obtain unlimited reward seats with no blackout dates or seat restrictions, and you can change your reservation without a fee.
  • Tier Qualifying Points: You’ll earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) for each $10,000 you spend on Southwest purchases annually. You can use TQPs toward qualification for Rapid Rewards A-List or A-List Preferred status, with benefits such as priority boarding, expedited security, and bonus points on flights.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit: You’ll receive application fee reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years.
  • Inflight wifi credits: Enjoy up to 365 inflight wifi credits per year on Southwest flights.
  • Annual travel credit: Receive an annual travel credit for Southwest purchases, including flights and in-flight amenities. You also receive a yearly fee credit of $500 for Southwest Rapid Rewards point transfers.
  • No foreign transaction fees: Make purchases abroad without worrying about extra fees on transactions outside the US.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost: Add employee cards to your account with no additional annual fee and earn points on their spending.

These benefits make the card a compelling choice for business owners and employees who frequently fly on Southwest. While the card offers appealing benefits, you should also consider its drawbacks.

Drawbacks

  • Annual fee: The card comes with a $199 annual fee, which may outweigh the benefits if you don’t spend enough to earn enough rewards to offset this cost.
  • Limited airline use: The card ties rewards and benefits to Southwest Airlines, which may not be ideal for travelers who require flexibility in choosing airlines or frequently fly on routes that Southwest doesn’t serve.
  • Reward redemption restrictions: While Southwest’s reward program is generous, it limits redemption options to Southwest flights, services, and partners, which may not suit your needs. You cannot redeem your points for cash.
  • Tier Qualifying Points cap: There’s a limit on the number of TQPs you can earn toward A-List status, potentially limiting the card’s value.
  • High spending requirement for signup bonus: The initial spending requirement to earn the signup bonus may be too high for some businesses.

Understanding these drawbacks is essential to know whether the card’s benefits match your business spending habits and needs. Compare them to your travel needs and calculate the potential rewards for your business before applying.

Best Alternative Credit Cards

Perhaps you don’t fly Southwest all that much or want to collect general-purpose miles or points you can use on any airline. If that applies to your business, you may want to consider the following trio of top-rated business cards.

Ink Business Premier® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn $1,000 bonus cash back after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 2.5% total cash back on purchases of $5,000 or more and unlimited 2% cash back on all other business purchases.
  • Travel Benefits: Unlimited 5% total cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, No Foreign Transaction Fees and Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance.
  • The only business credit card with 2.5% cash back on every purchase of $5,000 or more.
  • Get the buying power you need to make large purchases, cover monthly expenses and help your business grow. While you must pay your Pay In Full balance each month, this card has built-in flexibility. The Flex for Business feature allows for qualifying purchases to be paid over time with interest.
  • Purchase with confidence with built-in protections like Fraud Protection, Zero Liability Protection, Purchase Protection, Cell Phone Protection, and Extended Warranty Protection.
  • There's no additional cost for employee cards. Monitor spend with digital tools like purchase alerts, set spending limits, reporting, and more.
  • Member FDIC
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
Flex for Business variable APR: 19.49% - 27.49%
$195
Good/Excellent

The annual fee for the Ink Business Premier® Credit Card card is the highest among the Ink offerings from Chase Bank. In return, the card provides the best cash back in the group. Its top bonus rate applies to Lyft rides and travel purchases through the Chase Travel portal.

The card is an excellent choice for large purchases, as it provides a higher cash back rate on items costing $5,000 or more. It offers Flex for Business, which lets you pay for eligible purchases over time with interest. Other benefits include various forms of protection on your purchases.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Unlimited 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Skip the lines with up to a $100 statement credit on TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Free employee cards which also earn unlimited 2X miles from their purchases
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business card lets you earn general-purpose miles on every purchase and offers a one-time welcome bonus when you spend a specified amount during the first three months. The card accepts automatic payments and provides detailed year-end summaries.

The card’s rewards program pays its top-tier rate on car rentals and hotels you book through Capital One Travel. Benefits include mile transfers to more than a dozen travel partners, a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and virtual card numbers. You can assign account managers to review transactions, make payments and purchases, and resolve problems.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 120k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 cash back or $1,500 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel℠
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Round-the-clock monitoring for unusual credit card purchases
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Travel℠
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Member FDIC
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
21.24%-26.24% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers good value for its middle-of-the-road annual fee. You get a large signup bonus, a bonus rewards rate on travel and other business combined purchases, and a 25% increase in rewards value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel.

The card’s elevated bonus reward rate extends to purchases for online advertising, shipping, and connectivity (i.e., cable, internet, and phone services). This Visa card doesn’t impose a foreign transaction fee on international purchases, and it offers 1:1 point transfers to participating travel and hotel loyalty programs.

Cardholder Reviews on Reddit

Here are some reviews from actual cardholders that may help you decide whether this card is right for you.

nadogm1 likes the card’s wifi credits:

“Possibly best feature (after the signup bonus): Inflight wifi credits on Southwest Airlines flights: You receive Inflight wifi credits in the form of credit card statement credits for purchases of wifi access made on wifi-enabled Southwest® aircraft with your Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card.”

mwwalk laments the absence of an annual credit:

“Great signup bonus. I wish it had the annual Southwest credit the way the $150 annual fee, personal Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card does instead of the TSA PreCheck credit. But then again, it has basically unlimited internet on Southwest flights, which is amazing.”

Generally, commentators split their preferences between the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card. It’s fair to say most remarks about both cards were positive.

FAQs: What is the Card’s Credit Limit?

The credit limit for the Southwest card, as with most business credit cards, hinges on specific factors. These include revenue, personal and company creditworthiness and credit score, and the overall financial health of the business.

The Southwest card carries the Visa Signature logo, denoting a minimum credit limit of $5,000. Forum remarks point to credit limits of $35,000 or more.

Upon approval, Chase will notify you of your credit limit, which can vary widely among cardholders. If you find the initial credit limit too low for your business needs, you may request an increase after demonstrating responsible credit use. Factors include timely payments and a low credit utilization ratio.

How Do the Card’s Rewards Work?

The card offers a comprehensive rewards program designed to benefit Southwest Airlines business travelers. Let’s see how the card’s rewards work.

Earning Rewards

You can earn Rapid Rewards points in several ways. To start, it offers a significant signup bonus after reaching a specified spending threshold within the first few months of opening the account.

The card provides points on every eligible purchase. You earn the highest reward tier on Southwest Airlines purchases. The second tier bonus points are for spending at hotel and car rental partners.

Rapid Rewards Points Explainer
Source: Southwest.com

The next tier covers select business categories, including internet, cable, phone services, local transit, commuting (including rideshares), and social media and search engine advertising. The card provides the standard rewards rate on all other eligible purchases.

The card also provides bonus points on each anniversary of account membership.

Redeeming Rewards

The airline, not the credit card issuer, sets the redemption rules for Rapid Rewards points. You must enroll in the Rapid Rewards program to earn points.

You can redeem points for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and other travel expenses through Southwest and its partners. You may also redeem points for merchandise, statement credits, gift cards, and exclusive events, among other offerings.

How to book with Rapid Rewards graphic
Source: Southwest.com

The value of points depends on the redemption option you choose. The number of points required for reward flights varies based on destination, time, day of travel, demand, fare class, and Southwest Rapid Rewards point redemption rate.

Alternatively, you can transfer points to another cardmember or donate them to a Southwest-approved charity.

Rapid Rewards points do not expire. You forfeit unredeemed points if you close your account. There are no blackout dates when redeeming points for flights on Southwest Airlines and its partners.

Reward Statuses

Southwest offers a somewhat complex and confusing reward status program. You earn Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) toward A-List status with Southwest for every dollar you spend.

You earn 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $5,000 in eligible net purchases on your card. A member who flies 20 qualifying one-way flight segments booked through Southwest or earns 35,000 tier qualifying points per calendar year will qualify for A-List status.

How to earn A-List status graphic
Source: Southwest.com

Once achieved, A-List status provides a 25% earning bonus on Southwest flights, priority check-in and boarding, a dedicated customer service line, and free same-day standby.

Southwest also offers A-List Preferred Status. A member who flies 40 qualifying one-way flight segments or earns 70,000 TQPs per calendar year will qualify.

A-List Preferred status includes all the benefits of A-List status plus double points on qualifying flights, a dedicated customer service phone line, free in-flight internet, and two complimentary premium drinks.

Once you qualify for A-List or A-List Preferred status, Southwest will automatically reserve a boarding position 36 hours prior to your flight for you and all passengers you include on your reservation, subject to certain exceptions.

How to earn A-List Preferred status graphic
Source: Southwest.com

You maintain your A-List or A-List Preferred status for the remainder of the current and next calendar year. You must re-qualify each calendar year to continue receiving A-List or A-List Preferred benefits.

Making things even more rewarding, you can earn a Southwest Companion Pass through completed air travel. This benefit allows you to choose one person to fly with you, free of airline charges, an unlimited amount of times whenever you purchase or redeem points for a flight.

You must earn a set number of qualifying points or fly a specified number of one-way flight segments annually to qualify for a free Southwest Companion Pass. As a Southwest Rapid Rewards cardmember, you earn one boost of 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points each calendar year.

How Does the Card Make Travel Easier?

Many company owners live busy lives, so they likely want their business travel to go as smoothly and comfortably as possible. The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card provides just enough pampering to conserve your energy and preserve your good mood when you travel on Southwest, as the following chart describes:

BENEFIT DESCRIPTION
Priority Boarding You get four upgraded boardings per year, allowing you to pick the best seats and secure overhead bin space easily. It’s a real pain when your overhead compartment is already full when you get to your seat.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit Skip long security and immigration lines with a credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees, making airport check-ins smoother. Keep those shoes on and your computer in its case as you pass through security.
Inflight Wifi Credits Enjoy complimentary wifi credits on Southwest flights to stay connected and entertained or productive in the air.
No Foreign Transaction Fees Make international purchases without extra charges, simplifying business expenses abroad. Why pay 3% more than the local residents?
Annual Travel Credit Use the annual travel credit for Southwest purchases such as seat upgrades and inflight services, enhancing your flight experience with extra comforts. You can even use points to get a Business or First Class seat.
A-List Extras A-list status provides access to a special phone line for quicker customer service. It also allows for same-day changes to your itinerary based on availability without additional fees. Earn A-List Preferred status and enjoy a couple of drinks on the house.
Bags Fly Free Saves money and improves your experience

No credit card can totally insulate you from the indignities of air flight (unless you use it to hire a private jet). But the Southwest card provides enough comfort to justify its annual fee, plus you get money-saving points from Southwest Rapid Rewards.

What is the Best Business Card For Earning Travel Rewards?

“Best” is a subjective term, so reviewers can disagree about the best business card for travel rewards. I own the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, and I love it. It has a huge signup bonus that I had no trouble securing, and the 3X points on the first $150,000 of select spending per year generates big savings.

The card’s rewards gain 25% in value when you use them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. I also own the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, so when I transfer my Preferred points, I get a 50% value increase.

By owning both cards, I easily separate my business and personal expenses, and Chase allows the transfer of Ultimate Reward points between the two. That’s having your cake and eating it, too.

How Does the Card Compare to the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card?

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card has a less-expensive counterpart, the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card. Although it charges half the yearly fee, it delivers many of the same benefits as the more expensive card.

The Premier card’s rewards are less generous, and it lacks certain perks. But as the following chart shows, the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card offers a few goodies that its stablemate doesn’t.

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Annual Fee $199 $99
Sign-Up Bonus Offers a higher bonus point amount after meeting initial spending requirements Provides a bonus, but typically lower
Reward Points Earns more points on Southwest purchases and select business spending categories Earns fewer points on all purchases
Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) Provides TQPs towards A-List status Offers TQPs at the same rate
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck® Fee Credit Covers the application fee once every four years Not available
Inflight Wifi Credits Includes credits for inflight wifi Not offered
Annual Travel Credit It comes with an annual travel credit for Southwest purchases No yearly travel credit
Employee Cards Employee cards at no additional cost, and the cards earn points Employee cards at no extra cost and also earn points
Foreign Transaction Fees None None
Early-Bird Check-Ins Not standard; depends on A-List status benefits Two per year
Upgraded Boardings Four per year Available for purchase; no specific credits related to the card
Fee Credit for Points Transfers $500/year fee credit for transferring points $500/year fee credit for transferring points
In-Flight Southwest Purchase Discount None unless you achieve A-List status 25%

Unless you run your business on a shoestring, you’re better off spending the extra $100 on the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card than getting the cheaper Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card. For the additional cost, you’ll get TSA PreCheck reimbursement, better rewards, a higher signup bonus, and other benefits that justify the expenditure.

This Southwest Credit Card May Be For You If…

  • You’re a moderate business traveler: This includes those who fly with Southwest frequently enough to justify the higher annual fee of the card.
  • You run a cost-conscious company: You need valuable rewards and benefits with an affordable annual fee to keep expenses in check.
  • You own a small business: Suitable for owners who want to earn rewards on their travel and business spending.
  • Your company seeks employee cards: Businesses that wish to issue cards to employees without an additional cost, earning points on their spending may choose this card.
  • You are an entrepreneur with varied spending: Individuals who appreciate earning points on every purchase, not just on travel, and who value the flexibility this card offers will enjoy this card.
  • You seek A-List status: You or your business aims to gain A-List status through tier-qualifying points.
  • International travel is important: Businesses or individuals who travel internationally will benefit from no foreign transaction fees.

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is an easy decision for business owners who regularly fly Southwest Airlines. Its annual fee is affordable, and you get a boatload of perks, especially if you achieve A-List Preferred status. If you don’t often fly Southwest, check out the other cards we’ve reviewed — all are excellent options for the businessperson on the go.

About the Author

Eric Bank
Eric Bank Finance Expert

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Eric Bank