The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier 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.

See full bio »

Editor: 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.

See full bio »

Reviewer: Danielle Spurlin

Danielle Spurlin
Danielle Spurlin

With more than 10 years of accounting experience, Danielle Marshall has a deep understanding of many financial disciplines, including personal and commercial lending, retirement annuities, financial forecasting, and general bookkeeping. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida's Fisher School of Accounting and currently manages all accounts receivable and payable for the parent company of CardRates.com. She works directly with credit card issuers and advertising partners to ensure our content meets compliance expectations and regulatory standards.

See full bio »
Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card Review

Rated 4.3 /5.0 ★★★★

Using your business travel credit cards intelligently can help you manage your small business more effectively. These cards are great for making expense payments simpler and unlocking a bunch of perks for anyone traveling on business.

You can choose from among many travel cards that team up with a specific airline or those all-purpose ones that offer rewards you can use with any airline. Or you can get both to max out your benefits.

In this article, we’re diving into one of the best co-branded travel cards out there, the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card from Chase Bank. Plus, we’ll give you a quick gander at three other top contenders for you to consider.

Main Things to Know

    • The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card caters to small business owners with good to excellent credit who fly on Southwest Airlines and want to earn cash back rewards.

    • The unsecured card has a $99 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

    • It offers a signup bonus and anniversary Southwest points but lacks introductory 0% APR promotions.
    • The card has a 21.49% - 28.49% Variable APR based on your creditworthiness.

    How to Qualify & Apply For the Card

    Business owners, along with their authorized employees, have the opportunity to cut down on travel costs by using this card. If you’re interested in the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, you can easily apply by hitting the ‘APPLY NOW’ button in the card details below.

    This simple action may be your first step toward more savings and benefits on your business travels.

    Disclosure: When you apply through links on our site, we often earn referral fees from partners. For more information, see our ad disclosure and review policy.

    Advertiser Disclosure

    CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

    BEST OVERALL RATING

    ★★★★

    4.3

    OVERALL RATING

    • 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.
    • Earn 3X points on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
    • Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.
    • Earn 2X points on rideshare.
    • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
    • Member FDIC
    Intro (Purchases)
    Intro (Transfers)
    Regular APR
    Annual Fee
    Credit Needed
    N/A
    N/A
    21.49% - 28.49% Variable
    $99
    Good/Excellent

    There are specific qualifications you’ll need to meet to be eligible for the card. Firstly, a solid credit history is essential; this card requires a good to excellent credit score, reflecting responsible credit management over time. This criterion ensures that you have a record of timely payments and sound financial behavior.

    Additionally, demonstrating a steady source of income is crucial. as it indicates your capability to pay your bills on time.

    You must be a US resident, 18 years old (19 in Alabama and Nebraska), and run a business. In addition, you must pledge to personally pay the monthly credit card bill in case your company can’t.

    Benefits & Drawbacks to Consider

    For entrepreneurs, choosing the correct credit card is not just about convenience; it’s a matter of sensible financial management and obtaining the maximum value from each business expenditure.

    Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of business credit cards is vital since each one presents a distinct combination of rewards, costs, and benefits. Selecting a card that matches your spending practices can help you operate your small business more efficiently.

    Benefits

      • Signup Bonus: Earn a welcome bonus of Rapid Rewards points when you satisfy the initial spending requirement within the specified timeframe after account opening.

      • Earn Rapid Rewards points on purchases: You earn 3x points on Southwest Airlines purchases. Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases and rideshares earn 2x points. All other eligible purchases earn one Rapid Rewards point per dollar.

      • Anniversary points: Each year, cardholders receive bonus Southwest points on their cardmember anniversary, helping to offset the annual fee. In addition, you obtain a $500 fee credit per year for Rapid Rewards point transfers and 25% back on inflight purchases.

      • Employee cards at no extra cost: Business owners can add employee cards to their accounts without any additional fees, allowing them to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points on employee spending.

      • No foreign transaction fees: There are no foreign transaction fees when you use the card for purchases abroad, making it an excellent option for international travel.

      • Southwest Rapid Rewards points don’t expire: Your points do not expire as long as your card account remains open. You can redeem your points at any time.

      • Tier qualifying points: Cardholders can earn tier qualifying points (TQPs) up to the yearly limit. These points help you earn A-List or A-List Preferred status, which offers additional benefits such as priority boarding and bonus points on Southwest flights.

      • Miscellaneous perks: These include free baggage check, no change fee, two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year, and unlimited reward seats with no blackout dates or seat restrictions.

    Drawbacks

      • Annual fee: The card comes with a $99 annual fee, which may be a significant factor for your business, especially if you aren’t a frequent flyer with Southwest or do not spend enough to offset the fee with rewards.

      • No introductory APR: The card doesn’t offer an intro 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers.

      • Tickets limited to Southwest: Your rewards provide free flights only on Southwest Airlines and its partners, limiting your flexibility to use other airlines for business travel.

      • Missing some luxury travel perks: This card lacks several luxury travel benefits, including airport lounge access, travel insurance, and reimbursement for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.

      • Spending required for bonus points: You must spend a significant amount on eligible purchases to earn the sign-up bonus and tier qualifying points, which may not be feasible for your business.

    Other Cards Worth a Look

    The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card may not be your best choice if you don’t fly Southwest much or you prefer general-purpose points that you can use on any airline. If so, here are three top-rated business cards for you to consider.

    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 $195 annual fee on the Ink Business Premier® Credit Card is double that of the Southwest card, but it offers better rewards and benefits. It has a much larger signup bonus, a broader top bonus rate tier on purchases of $5,000+, and a higher regular cash back rate on all other purchases.

    The card provides perks missing from the Southwest card, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, cellphone protection, purchase protection, rental car insurance, and extended warranties. You can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for cash, gift cards, and travel.

    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 offers general-purpose miles on every eligible purchase that you can use on any carrier. The card pays a high flat rate on eligible purchases and a bonus rate on hotels and rental cars you book through Capital One Travel.

    Unlike Southwest business cards, the Spark card lets you cash out your miles or transfer them to more than a dozen travel loyalty programs for free. The card’s APR falls into the middle of the Southwest card’s range, and it waives the first-year annual fee. The Spark card provides TSA PreCheck credits, whereas the Southwest card does not.

    BEST OVERALL RATING

    ★★★★★
    4.7

    OVERALL RATING

    • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 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 charges about the same annual fee as the Southwest card but has a lower APR and a larger signup bonus. You can redeem the general-purpose points in several ways, and they’re worth 25% more when you use them to book travel through Chase Travel℠.

    The card offers the same top-tier rewards rate as Southwest but more purchase categories and benefits. These include extended warranties, auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside dispatch, purchase protection, and 1:1 point transfers to participating frequent travel programs.

    Cardholder Reviews Around Reddit

    Here are some reviews from Redditors around the country who carry the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card and can share their experiences with it.

    whatacharacter offers important advice regarding Companion Passes:

    “You can get one for close to two years. You get the Companion Pass by earning 135k points in a single calendar year. The way to game this is to time your signup bonus to hit on your January statement and then immediately spend/fly/offer to get the remaining points ASAP. Once you hit 135k, you will have a Companion Pass for the remainder of the current year plus the entirety of the next.”

    And here is more cogent advice from LadyGreyIcedTea:

    You should always pay any credit card in full every month (with the exception of one that has a 0% APR promo). Especially with cards like the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card — they have such a high APR that paying interest would negate the rewards.”

    Much of the online chatter centers around Southwest Airlines Companion Passes. Apparently, the carrier has a real winning concept that attracts personal and business cardholders alike.

    FAQs: What Is the Card’s Credit Limit?

    The credit limit for the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card depends on several factors, including your and your company’s creditworthiness, your business’s revenue, and its overall financial condition. Because the Southwest card carries the Visa® Signature logo, you should expect a minimum credit limit of $5,000.

    But forum remarks point to credit limits of $30,000 or more. Chase will reveal your specific credit limit when it approves your application. These limits can vary widely.

    You can request a credit limit increase if the initial credit limit is too small for your requirements. You’ll increase your odds if you wait at least six months before requesting a higher credit limit.

    How Do the Card’s Rewards Work?

    The card’s rewards program delivers substantial value to Southwest Airlines business travelers, emphasizing how users can actively accumulate Rapid Rewards points. Let’s see how it works.

    Earning Rewards

    You can start by earning a generous signup bonus if you meet a specific spending target within the first few months of opening your account.

    Every purchase earns you Rapid Reward points, with the highest rewards for spending directly on Southwest Airlines. You earn 2x bonus points for transactions with Southwest’s hotel and car rental partners, as well as expenses for local transit and commuting, including rideshare.

    For all other qualifying purchases, you accumulate points at the standard 1X rate. The card celebrates your account anniversary each year with bonus points, an ongoing benefit of long-term membership.

    Redeeming Rewards

    Southwest Airlines, not the credit card issuer, determines how you can use your Rapid Rewards points. To start earning points, you need to join the Rapid Rewards program.

    You have the flexibility to use your points for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and other travel-related expenses with Southwest and its partners. Beyond travel, you can also exchange points for merchandise, cash back on your statement, gift cards, unique experiences, and more.

    The value you get from your points varies depending on what you redeem them for. When booking flights, the points needed change based on your destination, the timing and day of your travel, how many people want to fly, the type of ticket you buy, and Southwest’s current points pricing, among other things.

    If you’d like, you can share your points with another cardmember or donate them to a charity that Southwest supports.

    Your Rapid Rewards points are yours to keep as long as your account stays open, with no worry about them expiring. However, closing your account means you lose any points you haven’t used. When it comes to flights, you’re free to book any available seat on Southwest Airlines and its partner flights without worrying about blackout dates.

    Reward Statuses

    Southwest offers a reward status system that, while satisfying, can seem a bit intricate at first glance. As you spend on your card, you’ll accumulate Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) that edge you closer to A-List status.

    For every $5,000 you spend on eligible purchases with your card, you’ll bag 1,500 TQPs. To hit A-List status within a calendar year, you either need to take 20 qualifying one-way flights booked through Southwest or rack up 35,000 TQPs.

    Achieving A-List status unlocks several perks: a 25% bonus on the points you earn from Southwest flights, priority check-in and boarding, access to a dedicated customer service line, and the option for free same-day standby.

    If you’re aiming higher, Southwest has A-List Preferred Status. This level is for members who complete 40 one-way flight segments or earn 70,000 TQPs in a year.

    A-List Preferred status amps up the rewards with all the A-List benefits plus earning double points on flights, a dedicated customer service line, complimentary in-flight internet, and two free premium drinks to enjoy while you fly.

    A-list status screenshot
    A-list members receive benefits such as boarding privileges.

    Once you’ve secured A-List or A-List Preferred status, Southwest ensures you and everyone on your booking get an automatic boarding position 36 hours before your flight, though some exceptions apply.

    Your status is valid for the rest of the year you earn it and the entire following calendar year. But remember, you’ll need to meet the qualifications each year to maintain your A-List or A-List Preferred perks.

    And there’s more: You can earn the Southwest Companion Pass, a jackpot for frequent flyers. This pass lets you choose a companion to fly with you free of airline charges as many times as you like, provided you buy or redeem points for your flight.

    To snag a Companion Pass, you must earn a specific number of points or fly a certain number of one-way segments annually. Plus, as a Rapid Rewards member, you get an extra 10,000 Companion Pass points each year.

    How Hard Is It to Get Approved?

    Getting approved for the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card typically hinges on having a good to excellent credit score, usually a minimum FICO score of 670 to 700. However, approval involves more than just your credit score.

    Chase, as with other credit card issuers, takes a thorough look at several factors. Your credit history plays a crucial role: You’ll have better approval odds with a solid record of responsible credit use, including consistent on-time payments, low credit utilization ratios, and a broad mix of credit types.

    Moreover, you and your business must demonstrate a stable income that can comfortably cover your credit card payments alongside your existing debts.

    A high debt-to-income (DTI) ratio may harm your approval chances. Sometimes, having a pre-existing banking relationship with the issuer through other accounts or credit products can work in your favor.

    DTI ratio example

    Additionally, issuers look at how many credit applications you’ve recently filed. A flurry of recent applications can signal financial desperation, which is a red flag for lenders.

    While a high credit score certainly boosts your chances, meeting these criteria doesn’t automatically guarantee approval. If your application is on the fence, providing additional documentation about your financial stability and the nature of your business may tip the scales in your favor.

    Remember, you must provide a personal guarantee to pay the credit card bill when the company isn’t able to. That’s why business card issuers look to evaluate the company owner as well as the enterprise.

    One last consideration: The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is subject to the Chase 5/24 Rule, which limits you to five new credit cards (from any issuer) in the most recent 24 months.

    How Does the Card Make Travel Easier?

    Many business owners lead busy, demanding lives and naturally desire their business travel to be as seamless and comfortable as possible. The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card offers a level of comfort and convenience that aims to keep your energy up and maintain your spirits during your travels with Southwest.

    To start with, you get two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year. Southwest will reimburse you each anniversary year for the purchase of up to two EarlyBird Check-Ins that provide automatic check-in before the traditional 24-hour window. While this perk doesn’t guarantee an “A” boarding position, it improves your seat selection options to help you get your favorite seat and earlier access to overhead bins. EarlyBird Check-Ins are subject to availability.

    You also get 25% back on inflight purchases of drinks and wifi in the form of a credit card statement credit. Statement credits will be posted to your credit card account the same day as your purchases and will appear on your monthly credit card billing statement within one to two billing cycles.

    The employees on your card account will also receive 25% back on inflight purchases. To qualify for the 25% back, you must use your Premier credit card for purchases, and your account must be open and not in default at the time of fulfillment.

    Additional perks include unlimited reward seats with no blackout dates, free checking of first and second bags (weight and size limits apply), fee-free flight changes, and no foreign transaction fee.

    As described above, you obtain even greater benefits by achieving A-List or A-List Preferred status, which 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. Most importantly, you can enjoy a couple of martinis on the house.

    You can acquire status qualifying points quicker when you authorize multiple employees to use the company’s Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card account.

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

    The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card has a more expensive sibling, the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card. Although it charges twice the yearly fee, it delivers several more benefits than the Premier card does. But as the following chart shows, the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card offers a few goodies that its stablemate doesn’t.

    Feature Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
    Annual Fee $99 $199
    Signup Bonus Yes Yes
    Reward Points 3x-1x points 4x-1x points
    Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) Offers TQPs at the same rate Provides TQPs towards A-List status
    Global Entry/TSA Pre® Fee Credit Not available Yes, it covers the application fee once every four years
    Inflight WiFi Credits Not offered Includes credits for inflight wifi
    Annual Travel Credit None Yes
    Employee Cards Employee cards at no extra cost and also earn points Employee cards at no additional cost, earning points on their spending
    Foreign Transaction Fee None None
    Early-Bird Check-Ins Two per year Not standard; depends on A-List status benefits
    Upgraded Boardings Available for purchase; no specific credits related to the card Four per year
    Fee Credit for Points Transfers $500/year fee credit for transferring points $500/year fee credit for transferring points
    In-Flight Southwest Purchase Discount 25% None unless you achieve A-List status

    Unless your cash flow is tight, you’ll do better by spending the extra $100 on the Southwest Performance Business Card. For the additional fee, you’ll get better rewards, TSA PreCheck reimbursement, a higher signup bonus, and other benefits that justify the expenditure.

    This Card May Be For You If…

      • You frequently fly with Southwest Airlines and want to earn rewards that directly enhance your travel experience with them.

      • You’re looking for a card that offers valuable perks like anniversary points, tier qualifying points toward elite status, and no foreign transaction fees to save on international purchases.

      • You appreciate having a range of redemption options, including flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and more, to maximize the utility and flexibility of your earned points.

    For business owners frequently flying with Southwest Airlines, choosing the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is a no-brainer. The card’s annual fee won’t break the bank, and it comes packed with benefits, particularly for those who reach A-List Preferred status. However, if Southwest isn’t your usual airline, take a look at the other cards we’ve reviewed above — they’re all top-notch choices for the busy business traveler.

    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.

    Share the Knowledge!

    Eric Bank