Full Review of Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
Lucrative one-time and annual points offers
No points transfer to other loyalty programs
One-time offer is on the lower side
Subpar customer service to businesses from card issuer
- Lucrative One-Time and Annual Point Offers: This card has two points bonuses, a one-time offer and an automatic annual award. Spending $3,000 in your first three months after opening an account earns you 60,000 points, worth an estimated $894 when used for Southwest flights (using Investopedia’s valuation of these points at 1.49 cents each). In addition to this one-time offer, your account receives 6,000 points on each card anniversary. Worth about $89 when used for Southwest flights, the value of the bonus can justify a large portion of the annual fee all by itself. 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.
- 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 partner airlines, as well as for merchandise or hotel stays 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.
- One-Time Offer Is on the Lower Side: Earning an introductory bonus is a good way to jumpstart your points earnings but this card isn't quite as generous as other travel cards. The Chase Ink Business Preferred card, for example, has a comparable annual fee but offers an introductory bonus of 100,000 points, versus the 60,000 you'd get with the Southwest Premier Business card.
- Subpar Customer Service to Small Businesses from Card Issuer: Businesses don’t always need to frequently interact with their credit card issuer. But when that’s necessary, it is usually regarding a billing problem or some other stressful issue like fraud, and a positive customer service experience is all the more important. Unfortunately, it is less likely for businesses who deal with Chase, which issues Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business, to have such a positive experience compared to most other card issuers. In the 2019 J.D. Power Small-Business Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study., Chase ranks in the lowest group, in a virtual tie with U.S. Bank as the least-satisfying issuer of business credit cards among nine that are scored. Chase’s score of 833 out of 1,000 was 14 points below the national average.
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 large part, that’s because the card’s annual 6,000-point anniversary bonus is (at 1.49 cents per point) worth enough to justify a significant portion of the card’s $99 annual fee, at least when used for Southwest flights. That ongoing value can help a small business owner justify getting and keeping the card year after year.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business One-Time Offer
You can earn 60,000 points if you spend $3,000 within the first three months after opening the card’s account—in other words, an average of $1,000 monthly. Those 60,000 points would be worth nearly $900 in reward travel, based on our valuation of 1.49 cents for Southwest points when used for flights on the carrier. That makes this card’s one-time bonus on the high side, especially for a card with a more modest annual fee.
Rewards Earning Details
This card’s rewards are relatively simple, with two earning tiers:
- 2 points per dollar on Southwest Airlines purchases
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
Points are unlimited, with no spending caps. Additionally, there are other ways to accrue points with this card:
- Earn a 6,000-point anniversary bonus annually
- Earn up to 50,000 points per year when you refer friends who open a card account
- Add free employee cards to leverage their spending to earn more points
Between the points you could earn as a cardmember and the points you could earn through the Southwest Rapid Rewards program, you could easily accumulate a substantial number of points each year.
Rewards Redemption Details
There are several ways to redeem rewards earned with this card, including:
- Booking flights with Southwest Airlines
- Gift cards
- International flights with 50+ global carriers
- Hotel stays at over 70,000 properties worldwide
- Rental cars
- Unique experiences, such as cruises, spa packages and golf trips
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.
There are three fare classes you can choose from when redeeming for flights with Southwest:
- Business Select
- Wanna Get Away
In terms of the number of points (or cash) required to book each fare, Business Select fares typically require the most points while Wanna Get Away fares require the least. The trade-off, however, is that while Wanna Get Away fares can minimize the number of points you need to redeem, they're nonrefundable. And you don't get any of the perks that come with Business Select fares, such as priority boarding and a premium drink on your day of travel.
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. While this can seem confusing, Investopedia has evaluated average redemption values across these various fare classes in estimating its value of 1.49 cents per Rapid Rewards point.
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 partner carriers.
International flights are subject to airport and government-imposed taxes and fees, which can increase the cost of your fare.
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.
Using an average-case scenario, assume that you spend $20,000 on Southwest purchases each year and $20,000 on other business purchases. Altogether, you'd earn 40,000 points + 20,000 points for a total of 60,000 points. Again, using a 1.49 cent points valuation, that could be worth $894 in redemption credit toward free flights with Southwest or one of its international airline partners.
An aspirational case assumes that you're a heavier spender. So for example, say you spend $35,000 on Southwest purchases and $40,000 on everyday business purchases. That would net you 70,000 points + 40,000 points for a total of 110,000 points. Add in 20,000 bonus points for referrals and the 6,000-point anniversary bonus and you're up to 136,000 points for the year. The 60,000-point bonus brings you to 196,000 points, which could be worth $2,920 in reward flights.
You can also receive bonus points through the Southwest Rapid Rewards program in these ways:
- Earn 1,000 bonus points for filing your taxes through Rapid Rewards Shopping with TurboTax
- Earn 1,000 bonus points when you join Rapid Rewards Dining and eat at a participating location within 30 days
- Earn points when you shop, dine and book travel with Southwest Rapid Rewards partners
- Earn up to 50,000 points annually when you refer friends who qualify for and open a Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business account.
This card comes with these added benefits:
- Lost-luggage reimbursement
- Baggage-delay insurance
- Roadside dispatch
- Travel accident insurance
- Travel emergency assistance
- Extended warranty protection
- Purchase protection
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card is issued by Chase, which scored an 833 in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Study. This score is below the industry average of 849 for credit-card satisfaction in serving businesses, and is only slightly above that of U.S. Bank, which received the lowest score among the nine issuers ranked for service to 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
There are no surprise or hidden fees with this card but the cash advance fee is worth noting if you sometimes use that option. At $15 or 5% of the advance amount, it's on the steep side.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business, $99 a year, is a great option if you don't want to pay the higher annual fee of a luxury travel card, or even of its $199 sibling, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business, but do want to earn rewards on the occasional Southwest flights you take. The card’s hefty one-time offer could alone provide sufficient points to take several flights. If you travel even intermittently on Southwest, you should be able to make a strong business case for carrying this card, as the annual bonus can help justify the annual fee year after year.