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Credit Cards

Southwest Performance Business Credit Card review: Earn 80,000 bonus points, free inflight Wi-Fi and more with this premium card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card has solid benefits. But is it right for you?

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The United Club℠ Business Card is not currently in market

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is a solid co-branded business credit card to consider using for all your upcoming business-related expenses.

In addition to letting you earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points, which can be redeemed for free flights, the card also provides access to travel benefits like four Upgraded Boardings to use per year, credits to cover Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check and credits for in-flight Wi-Fi. As Southwest Airlines expands its route network and continues to be ranked one of the best carriers in customer satisfaction, the card could end up being especially beneficial for frequent business travelers.

Below, Select breaks down the rewards, benefits and fees associated with the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card to help you decide if it's right for your needs.

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Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business credit card review

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 4X points on Southwest® purchases; 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners; 2X points on rideshare; 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services; 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

  • Annual fee

    $199 applied to first billing statement

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    20.24% - 27.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fees

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

Welcome bonus

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers a lucrative 80,000-point welcome bonus after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Note that you won't be able to receive the welcome bonus if you already have this business card or if you've previously received a welcome bonus for the same card within the last 24 months, even if you're no longer a cardholder.

If you're able to meet the minimum-spending requirement, you'll have an impressive number of Southwest Rapid Rewards points to start out with. Since they're generally valued at 1.3 cents per point, you'll end up with roughly $1,100 in value within the first few months of card membership, reflecting a 22% return on your spend once you hit that mark.

As you continue to spend more with the card and rack up Rapid Rewards points, you'll be well on your way to earning the highly-coveted Southwest Companion Pass, a level of status that serves as a buy-one-get-one ticket for you and your chosen traveling companion — you'll only have to pay taxes and fees for their flight once you reach the threshold of 125,000 qualifying points or 100 qualifying one-way Southwest flights in a calendar year, making it an extremely valuable perk. Plus, there's no limit on how often you can use the Companion Pass as long as it's active.

Benefits and perks

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers cardholders access to a variety of benefits and features. By making the most of these perks, its $199 annual fee becomes much easier to justify.

Cardholders receive the following benefits:

  • 9,000 bonus points for each account anniversary
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year (based on availability)
  • Up to 365 in-flight WiFi credits per year when flying with Southwest Airlines
  • Up to $85 credit for TSA PreCheck® or up to $100 credit for Global Entry every four years
  • The chance to earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points toward A-List elite status for every $10,000 you spend
  • A $500 fee credit each anniversary year when you transfer Rapid Rewards points to another member
  • The ability to add authorized users for no additional fee
  • Lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance and travel accident insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance and roadside dispatch services
  • Auto rental collision damage waivers on car rentals booked with the card
  • Extended warranty protection and purchase protection
  • No foreign transaction fees when you use your business card abroad
  • $0 delivery fees on restaurant orders above $12 (or groceries over $25), reduced service fees and $10 off your next order when you use the card and activate your complimentary year of DoorDash membership by March 31, 2022.

Earning points for spending

When you spend on the card, you'll earn: 

  • 4X Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on purchases made with Southwest Airlines
  • 3X Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2X Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on social media and search engine advertising, as well as internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2X Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on transit and commuting, including ride-sharing services
  • 1X Rapid Rewards point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases

Select calculated how many points the average American can earn in a year when using their Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card. We worked with the location intelligence firm Esri, who provided us with a sample annual spending budget of $22,126.

The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). Here's what the average consumer would earn by using this card:

  • Groceries: 5,174 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
  • Gas: 2,218 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
  • Dining out: 3,675 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
  • Travel: 8,976 Southwest Rapid Rewards points (assuming all travel dollars are spent with Southwest Airlines).
  • Utilities: 4,862 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
  • General purchases: 3,953 Southwest Rapid Rewards points

With all spending considered, you would end up earning 28,858 Southwest Rapid Rewards points within the first year — if you were to include the 80,000-point welcome bonus, this type of spending would yield 108,858 Rapid Rewards points. Over a five year period, cardholders could potentially earn 224,290 Southwest Rapid Rewards points, although the total amount would depend more on an individual or business' annual spending habits.

How to earn and redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards points

Earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points

There are two main avenues when it comes to earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points: fly with the carrier or spend with one of Southwest Airlines' co-branded credit cards. Depending on your status and which Southwest credit card you're using, you'll earn a different amount of points per flight. By also paying for daily purchases with your card, you'll see those points accumulate pretty quickly.

Cardholders can also earn more points as they fly, though the amount varies by which fare is booked:

  • If you book a 'Wanna Get Away' ticket, you'll earn 6X points per dollar on the base fare
  • If you book an 'Anytime' ticket, you'll earn 10X points per dollar on the base fare
  • If you book a 'Business Select' ticket, you'll earn 12X points per dollar on the base fare

Note that the base fare is the price of the ticket alone, without any additional taxes or fees.

Another way to earn Rapid Rewards points is by using credit cards that offer transferable points as a perk. Travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® let cardholders earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to Southwest Airlines, one of its travel partners. Should you decide to fly with another airline like British Airways or United Airlines, Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to their loyalty programs as well.

If you believe a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card is the best solution for your travel needs but aren't 100% sold on the Performance Business Credit Card, here are some other co-branded cards to consider:

Personal

Business

Redeeming Southwest Rapid Rewards points

Once you've earned enough points for a free flight, the redemption process is simple. All you need to do is visit the Southwest Airlines website and log into your Rapid Rewards account. You can then begin searching for flights — just remember to click the "points" button rather than "dollars" before you submit.

While the most valuable use by far of Rapid Rewards points is cashing them in for free flights, you can also choose to redeem them for car rentals, hotels, gift cards or other merchandise. Because the overall value of your points will be reduced, it's best to use your hard-earned points for free flights, which offer the biggest bang for your buck.

Rates and fees

The card has a $199 annual fee. It doesn't have any foreign transaction fees.

Late payment fees can be up to $40.

Card comparison

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is a solid choice for small business owners looking to save on future Southwest flight costs. But is it the best card for you?

Select analyzed two other business travel credit cards to see how they match up with the Southwest Performance Business card.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card vs. Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card is a fine airline card geared toward small business owners who enjoy flying with Delta. To get you started, the card comes with a lucrative welcome offer, letting you earn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months.

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business card comes with an array of benefits, including a status boost to help you get closer to Delta elite status, as well as priority boarding, a yearly Companion Certificate, 20% in in-flight savings, credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, and travel insurance coverage, among other perks, like no foreign transaction fees.

As you spend on the card, you'll earn 3X miles per dollar spent with Delta and directly with hotels, 1.5X miles per dollar spent on purchases over $5,000 (up to 50,000 miles per year) and 1X miles per dollar spent on all other purchases.

If you're trying to decide between the two cards, keep a few factors in mind. First of all, Delta has a much larger flight network featuring many international destinations while Southwest Airlines is primarily a domestic airline, though it does currently fly to 14 destinations in 10 countries outside the U.S. Also, if you know where you'll be flying most, compare Delta and Southwest flights to those destinations to see which airline has more frequent and direct options from your home airport.

Another thing to consider is how often you fly with someone else, as it may be worth going for the Southwest Companion Pass if this is something that happens a lot and you're looking to continue that trend. Lastly, are you married to luxury benefits such as priority boarding and discounted lounge access when it comes to your flight experience? If the answer is yes, the Delta Platinum Business card may be the better option of the two.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 3X miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and on every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with hotels. Earn 1.5X miles per dollar on single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (that's an extra half mile per dollar), up to 50,000 additional miles per year. If your purchase qualifies for a category that has a higher mileage accelerator, only the higher accelerator will apply (ex. you would earn 3X miles on purchases made directly with Delta and hotel stays instead of 1.5X). 1X mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 28.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fees

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card vs. United ClubSM Business Card

The United Club Business Card is a suitable option for business owners who prefer flying with United Airlines. Once approved, you'll be able to earn the 75,000 bonus miles after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

The card offers terrific benefits for United frequent flyers, including access to United Airlines airline lounges, free first and second checked bags, premier access travel services such as priority boarding and check-in, travel insurance and Avis President's club status, among other perks. There are also no foreign transaction fees to worry about if you're using your card outside the U.S.

When it comes to earning valuable United MileagePlus miles, the spending categories are quite simple — 2X miles per dollar spent on United purchases and 1.5X miles per dollar spent elsewhere.

There is one big difference between these two cards: The United Club Business Card carries a hefty $450 annual fee, while the Southwest Performance Business Credit Card's is just $199. If you're considering both cards, think hard about which annual fee you're willing to stomach and be honest about whether or not you'll be able to use benefits such as airline lounges and priority boarding enough to justify it. Most importantly, before you select a new credit card, make sure your current budget is solid enough to absorb the new expenses.

United Club℠ Business Card

Information about the United Club℠ Business Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases and 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    75,000 bonus miles after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $450

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    20.24% – 27.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fees

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

  

Who the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card is best for

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is a great option for business owners who want to save money on flight costs, have a few perks when flying Southwest and potentially earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which over time would allow them to save even more.

The Performance Business Card comes with a handful of helpful travel benefits and is a great fit for frequent flyers focusing on value over luxury. Flying with the budget airline doesn't mean you'll be sacrificing quality either, as Southwest is consistently ranked one of the best airlines to fly with in terms of customer service.

Bottom line

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is definitely worth considering if you're looking to earn rewards for your business purchases and save more on flight costs. Before selecting a new credit card, check your credit score to ensure you'll have the best chance of being approved.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, click here.

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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