Review of Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Credit Cards

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Southwest Airlines offers two primary business credit cards, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, which cater to different needs but share the goal of maximizing travel rewards for business owners.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months.
  • Earning Rates: 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases; 2 points per $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases; 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Annual Perks: Cardholders receive 6,000 bonus points every year on the cardmember anniversary.
  • Travel Benefits: Includes two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year, no foreign transaction fees, and the potential to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

Fees:

  • Annual Fee: $99.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 80,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months.
  • Earning Rates: 4 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases; 3 points per $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases; 2 points per $1 on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services; 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Annual Perks: Cardholders receive 9,000 bonus points every year on the cardmember anniversary.
  • Travel Benefits: Includes four upgraded boardings per year, in-flight Wi-Fi credits, and no foreign transaction fees.

Fees:

  • Annual Fee: $199.

How to Qualify for Southwest Business Credit Cards

To qualify for either of the Southwest business credit cards, applicants typically need to demonstrate good to excellent credit. This is in line with the general Southwest business credit card requirements. Potential cardholders should also ensure their business expenses align well with the earning structures of the cards to maximize benefits.

Feature/BenefitPremier Business CardPerformance Business Card
Annual Fee$99$199
Welcome Offer60,000 points after $3,00080,000 points after $5,000
Points on Southwest Purchases3X4X
Points on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases2X3X
Points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable and phone services.None2X
Points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare2X2X
Points on all other purchases1X1X
Anniversary Points6,0009,000
EarlyBird Check-Ins2 per yearNone
Inflight purchase discount25%None
$500 fee credit for points transfers per yearYesYes
Employee cards (earn points on employee expenses)YesYes
Foreign Transaction FeesNoneNone
Up to 365 Inflight Internet credits per yearNoneYes
Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit up to $100NoneYes
4 Upgraded Boardings per yearwhen availableNoneYes
Earn 1,500 TQP on your way to A-List status for every $5,000 you spendYesYes
Bags fly freeYesYes
Southwest business credit cards benefits

What Is Earlybird Check-in On Southwest?

EarlyBird Check-In is a service offered by Southwest Airlines to enhance the passenger experience when boarding an airplane. With EarlyBird Check-In, you receive automatic check-in 36 hours before departure. This is 12 hours before the standard 24-hour check-in window for other passengers opens. The main benefits of EarlyBird Check-In include

  1. The best seat in the cabin: By checking in early, you are likely to get a better seat in the cabin. This means you’ll have earlier access to overhead bins and a better selection of seats, as Southwest doesn’t have assigned seats.
  2. Earlier access to the plane: With a better seat, you’ll be able to get on board faster, which is especially beneficial on crowded flights or during peak travel seasons.
  3. Convenience: Eliminates the need to remember to check in exactly 24 hours in advance, providing peace of mind, especially for travelers who may not have access to the internet or do not want to manage the check-in process themselves.
Southwest Earlybird Check-in
Earlybird Check-in | Image source Southwest

EarlyBird Check-In can be especially useful for those who do not have elite status on Southwest flights, which would provide similar boarding benefits. It is available for a fee, which varies depending on the route and the popularity of EarlyBird Check-In among passengers on the flight.

Target Business Profile for Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Credit Cards

Premier Business Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card is best suited for small to mid-sized businesses whose employees frequently travel with Southwest. This card is ideal for those looking to balance a moderate annual fee with valuable travel perks like annual bonus points and anniversary points, which offset the cost of travel expenses over time.

Performance Business Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card targets larger businesses or those with higher travel and operational expenses, especially in digital marketing and telecommunications, given its bonus categories. This card is more suitable for businesses that will leverage the higher rewards earning rate on Southwest purchases and the added benefits like upgraded boardings and in-flight WiFi credits, justifying the higher annual fee.

Break-Even Analysis: Flights Per Year Needed

To determine how many flights are necessary for each card to pay off, we’ll consider the value of the points earned and the annual benefits provided by each card. The break-even point is reached when the value of these rewards equals or exceeds the annual fee. Here, we’ll use a conservative estimate that Southwest points are worth about 1.5 cents each (according to NerdWallet).

Premier Business Credit Card

  • Annual Fee: $99
  • Anniversary Bonus: 6,000 points
    • Value: 6,000 points x $0.015/point = $90
  • Rewards from Spending:
    • Assuming most expenses are on Southwest flights, earning 3X points:
      • To cover the remaining $9 ($99 – $90), you’d need to spend $300 on Southwest flights (earning 900 points, worth $13.50).

Performance Business Credit Card

  • Annual Fee: $199
  • Anniversary Bonus: 9,000 points
    • Value: 9,000 points x $0.015/point = $135
  • Rewards from Spending:
    • Assuming most expenses are on Southwest flights, earning 4X points:
      • To cover the remaining $64 ($199 – $135), you’d need to spend $1,600 on Southwest flights (earning 6,400 points, worth $96).

For the Premier Business Credit Card, even minimal travel (1-2 flights) could potentially offset the annual fee through the combination of the anniversary bonus and rewards on spending. For the Performance Business Credit Card, more frequent travel (possibly 4-6 flights) is needed to justify the higher annual fee, but for businesses with significant spending in the bonus categories, this card can offer exceptional value much more quickly.

These cards are both excellent choices for businesses that regularly utilize Southwest for travel, with the selection depending on the scale of travel and type of expenditures the business incurs.

Comparative Analysis: Business vs. Personal Southwest Cards

The major differences between the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and Southwest’s personal credit cards are in the rewards structure and targeted user base. 

Business cards are designed specifically for business owners who fly Southwest Airlines frequently and offer more business travel rewards than personal cards. 

The main differences lie in the enhanced rewards and additional benefits offered by business cards, including the Performance Business Card, which is designed for business travelers who travel frequently and spend a lot of money. 

These features include:

  • Higher bonus points for purchases at Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotels and car rental partners 
  • Higher Annual bonuses
  • Exclusive travel perks such as upgrades and in-flight internet credits to help optimize business travel
  • Free cards for employees

Personal cards, while offering lower annual fees and sign-up bonuses, still provide significant rewards for personal or family travel, making them more accessible to casual travelers.

Feature/BenefitPlus Credit CardPremier Credit CardPriority Credit CardPremier Business CardPerformance Business Card
Annual Fee$69$99$149$99$199
Sign-Up Bonus Points50,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 Months50,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 Months50,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 Months60,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 Months80,000 points after $5,000 in 3 Months
Anniversary Bonus Points3,0006,0007,5006,0009,000
Points Earned on Southwest Purchases2x3x3x3x4x
Points Earned on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases2x2x2x2x3x
Points Earned on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable and phone services.2x2x2xNo2x
Points Earned on local transit and commuting, including rideshare2x2x2x2x2x
Points Earned on all other purchases1x1x1x1x1x
Foreign Transaction FeesYes, 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollarsNoNoNoNo
EarlyBird Check-Ins per Year22No2No
Southwest Travel CreditNoNo$75NoNo
Fee credit for points transfers per yearNoNoNoNo$500
Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs)NoYes, Earn 1,500 TQPs toward A-List status for every $5,000 you spendYes, Earn 1,500 TQPs toward A-List status for every $5,000 you spendYes, Earn 1,500 TQPs toward A-List status for every $5,000 you spendYes, Earn 1,500 TQPs toward A-List status for every $5,000 you spend
Upgraded Boardings per YearNoNone4No4
In-flight Purchases Discount25%25%25%25%No
Inflight Internet credits per yearNoNoNoNoUp to 365
Employee cards (earn points on employee expenses)NoNoNoYesYes
Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit Receive a statement credit of up to $100 every 4 yearsNoNoNoNoYes
10,000 boost of Companion Pass qualifying points each yearYesYesYesNoNo

Conclusion

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Credit Card is a great choice for business owners who fly Southwest regularly and can take advantage of the card to quickly offset the annual fee, primarily due to its generous rewards points and travel perks. Comparisons with Southwest personal cards show that they offer more specialized business benefits, making them a better choice for business travel.

Potential cardholders should visit the official Southwest or Chase website for more information and the application process.

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