The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card is not one of our top-rated business credit cards. You can review our list of the best business credit cards for what we think are better options.
Full Review of Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
Multiple points bonuses
Respectable rewards, even on some non-Southwest spending
Annual fee and bonus-spending threshold are on the high side
No points transfer to other loyalty programs
Subpar customer service to businesses from card issuer
- Multiple Points Bonus: The points bonus with this card comes with fairly hefty spending requirements. Spending $5,000 in your first three months after opening an account earns you 80,000 points, worth an estimated $1,160 when used for Southwest flights (using Investopedia’s valuation of these points at 1.45 cents each). In addition to the one-time offer, your account receives 9,000 points on each card anniversary. Worth about $130, the value of the annual bonus justifies a portion of the card’s $199 annual fee. The good news: These bonus points count towards reaching the 125,000 annually that are required to earn a free Companion Pass. The bad: They’re not “tier points,” the ones that help you achieve Southwest’s A-List and A-List Preferred tiers, which you can reach only through points earned through spending.
- Respectable Rewards, Even on Some Non-Southwest Spending: At 3 points per dollar spent (for an average total average value of 4.35 cents per dollar), the rewards the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business provides for Southwest spending is more than decent. That’s to be expected for a card that’s co-branded with an airline. Less common from such a card are the 2-points-per-dollar-spent rewards for some common business expenses. With their collective value of almost 3 cents per dollar spent, those earnings compete well with—if not exceed—what you might make on purchases of advertising or telecom services with many other small-business cards. You can also earn points through spending with a number of Southwest car-rental, hotel, and retail partners.
- Annual Fee and Bonus Spending Threshold Are on the High Side: While there are premium co-branded cards with annual fees of $500 or more, the majority of such cards cost $100 or so. That makes the $199 fee for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business on the high side, and it lacks the luxury benefits such as lounge access that are common to the premium cards. Similarly, this card’s one-time offer compares with those of many of the co-branded airline cards costing $100 or so, in both number of points and the bonus’s total value. As a general rule of thumb, the more perks and rewards a business travel credit card offers the higher the annual fee. This card is no exception, with an annual fee of $199. Compared to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit card or the Chase Ink Business Preferred card, it's about twice as expensive.
- No Points Transfer to Other Loyalty Programs: You can't transfer points earned with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business to any other loyalty program. You can, however, use Rapid Rewards points to redeem for international flights with a number of airlines, as well as for hotel stays, car rentals and merchandise with a number of Southwest partners. The caveat is that the value you’ll get from points is likely to be a third to a half lower for these uses than when points are redeemed for Southwest flights.
Subpar Customer Service to Businesses from Card Issuer: Businesses don’t necessarily interact with their credit card issuer very often. But when that’s necessary, it’s often a matter of some urgency and even stress, and you want a satisfying experience. Unfortunately, that’s less likely to be the case for businesses who deal with Chase, which issues Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business, than with most other card issuers. In the 2020 J.D. Power Small-Business Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study, Chase ranks eight points below the average, among eight credit card issuers that are scored. Chase’s score was 832 out of 1,000.
This Card is Best For
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
Flies often for business or leisure
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business could be well suited even to business travelers who fly with Southwest Airlines only a few times a year. In part, that’s because the card’s annual 9,000-point anniversary bonus is (at 1.45 cents per point) worth about $130 when used for Southwest flights. The value of rewards from buying tickets and other benefits of the card, from rebates on the $8 WiFi fee (limited to 365 $8 credits per year for all Wi-Fi transactions on the overall business account per year) to the credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, could easily provide more than $200 in annual value.
As far as rewards go, this card is also especially well-suited to businesses who are seeking better rewards on advertising and telecom expenses than the single point or cent most cards provide. Provided you’re fine with earnings that are best redeemed for Southwest flights, the 2 points per dollar the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business provides on this spending may be a fine option.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card One-Time Offer
This card has a one-time offer that’s generous, if a bit onerous in terms of spending. It comprises two parts. You can earn 80,000 points if you spend $5,000 within the first three months after opening the card’s account--in other words, an average of $1,667 monthly. Those 80,000 points would be worth $1,160 in reward travel, based on our valuation of 1.45 cents for Southwest points when used for flights on the carrier.
Rewards Earning Details
This card features three rewards tiers, which together afford plenty of opportunities to accrue points toward free flights.
First, you can earn 3 points per dollar on purchases made directly with Southwest Airlines. That includes:
- In-flight purchases
- Southwest gift cards
- Southwest Vacations package purchases
- Purchases made at participating Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners
Points are unlimited so the more you spend, the more you can earn. At the second tier, you can earn 2 points per dollar on:
- Internet, cable, and cell-phone services
- Social media and search engine advertising
Lastly, you can earn 1 point per dollar for all other purchases. That means you can get rewarded on everything from office supplies to dinner with clients, again with no limits or spending caps.
In addition, each year on your card anniversary, you receive 9,000 bonus points. This recurring bonus is worth about $130 a year.
Rewards Redemption Details
Points earned with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card can be redeemed in a number of ways. You can use them for:
- Southwest Airlines flights
- International flights with 50+ global carriers
- Gift cards from more than 70 merchants
- Hotel stays
- Car rentals
In terms of stretching the value of your points, the best option is to book flights with Southwest. Redemptions with other air carriers typically offer less value, and those for gift cards and merchandise typically offer the least return of all for your points.
Southwest makes it a little tougher than some carriers to determine how far your points will take you, since the airline doesn't publish an awards chart. But doing a few sample bookings can give you at least a rough idea of the points required to award seats to destinations that interest you. There are three fare classes: Business Select, Anytime and Wanna Get Away. Business Select fares require the most points, while Wanna Get Away fares require the least.
Here's an example to illustrate how the points minimum to redeem can vary. Say you're booking a one-way flight from Chicago to New York. For that, you'd need:
- 35,451 points for a Business Select ticket
- 33,855 points for an Anytime ticket
- 13,424 points for a Wanna Get Away ticket
Price aside, a key difference with Business Select and Anytime fares is that the points required to book them are refundable, where those for Wanna Get Away fares are not. So while you could save some points by going for the lower fare, you would lose the entire amount in the event you need to cancel your trip. Making changes to your itinerary would trigger a points penalty, much like the change fees you pay on a ticket you buy with money.
Some business travel cards have restrictions on when and how you can redeem rewards for award travel. This card makes booking business trips as simple as possible by allowing you to redeem points for flights on Southwest or international airlines with no blackout dates or restrictions.
Points earned with this card don't transfer to other frequent-flyer programs. However, you can use them to redeem points for international flights with more than 50 carriers.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Any time you're earning travel rewards, it's helpful to look at how you can maximize your earnings. Here are two examples of different spending scenarios and the points you could earn.
Let's say you have a small business and you're the sole proprietor. You spend $12,000 a year on business travel with Southwest, $12,000 on advertising and telecom bills, and $12,000 on other business purchases.
Altogether, that spending would earn you 72,000 points annually ($12,000 x 3 points per dollar spent on Southwest flights = 36,000 points. Then $12,000 x 2 points per dollar on the ads and telecom spending = 24,000 points. Finally, $12,000 x 1 point per dollar on the miscellaneous spending = 12,000 points). Add in the 9,000-point anniversary bonus and you'd have 81,000 points to work with. If you always redeem for Southwest flights, those points would be worth $1,175 in travel value, assuming you indeed earn our estimated average value of 1.45 cents per point.
Now, let’s say you have five employees, all of whom have cards on the account. And that your total business spending comes to triple the average amounts above: $36,000 for Southwest purchases, $36,000 for advertising and telecom bills, and $36,000 for other purchases.
In that case, you'd earn 216,000 points annually ($36,000 x 3 points per dollar spent on Southwest flights = 108,000 points. Then $36,000 x 2 points per dollar on the ads and telecom spending = 72,000 points. Finally, $36,000 x 1 point per dollar on the miscellaneous spending = 36,000 points). With the anniversary bonus, you'd have 225,000 points to work with. That could be worth $3,262 in travel value if you're booking Southwest flights.
You can also earn up to 50,000 points annually when you refer friends who qualify for and open a Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business account.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card’s Outstanding Benefits
This card comes with several added travel benefits that make it an exceptional choice.
- Earn the Companion Pass faster: The Southwest Companion Pass allows someone to fly with you free of airline charges when a seat is available. Normally, to qualify you need to book 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 125,000 qualifying points. Points earned with this card, including from bonuses, count toward your Companion Pass qualifying points total.
- Upgraded boardings: Cardmembers can also enjoy up to four upgraded boardings per year, when they're available. Upgraded boardings are reimbursed to you as a statement credit.
- TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit: When you charge TSA PreCheck or Global Entry to your card, you can get up to a $100 statement credit toward the application fee. This benefit is available every four years.
- In-flight W-Fi credits: If you purchase inflight WiFi when traveling, you can get a credit for that as well. Cardmembers are eligible to receive 365 $8 credits per year.
You also get these benefits as a cardmember:
- Auto-rental collision damage waiver
- Purchase protection and extended warranty protection
- Baggage-delay insurance
- Travel-accident insurance
- Travel-emergency assistance services
- Lost-luggage reimbursement
- Roadside dispatch
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card is issued by Chase, which scored an 832 in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Study. This score is below the industry average of 840 for credit-card satisfaction in serving businesses.
If you need customer service support, you can log in to your online account to send a secure email. Or you can call 1-800-272-7338 or reach out to Chase via Twitter @ChaseSupport at any time.
Chase, the card issuer, takes the standard security measures to protect your card and account information. For example, cards come with chip technology and you have the option to set up fraud notifications or alerts to monitor account activity.
Fees to Watch Out For
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card has the typical fees you'd expect, though the cash advance fee is a bit more than what other cards charge. One fee upside, though, is that you'll pay no foreign transaction charge for purchases made with foreign vendors.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business is a great option if you don't want to commit to the higher annual fee for a luxury travel card, but still want more rewards and benefits than a standard business travel card offers.If you travel regularly with Southwest, you shouldn't find it difficult to earn rewards-value sufficient to easily justify the annual fee, especially after the value of the annual points bonus is taken into account.