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Just as the summer vacation season gets into full swing, Southwest Airlines is offering a new credit card targeted at business travelers and other business users. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card joins the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card and Southwest consumer cards to give people a wide variety of compelling card choices if Southwest is their preferred air carrier.
With its "bags fly free" policy (no charge for first two checked bags), Southwest is popular for many fliers, though it doesn't serve some markets, so the baggage promotion may be meaningless to some travelers.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers new users 70,000 bonus after spending $5,000 in the first three months the account is open, as well as 9,000 anniversary points every year on the cardmember anniversary.
In addition to earning three points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases, users can earn two points on purchases in select business categories, including: social media, search engine advertising and internet/phone/cable charges.
The amount of points it takes to redeem a flight on Southwest will depend on several factors, such as travel dates and destination, however, Southwest offers a number of flight options under 10,000 points. If you do the math, the sign up bonus alone can take you far. Not to mention the extra 9,000 points you'll get each year on your account anniversary, which itself could equal a one-way flight. The anniversary bonus is a win-win as it provides cardholders with an additional reason to renew while also providing Southwest with a customer retention advantage compared to cards without a renewal bonus. Not that you should sign up for a card just because of its bonuses, but, bonuses never hurt.
Additional card features include four upgraded boardings per year, in-flight Wi-Fi credit and a credit reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
The in-flight Wi-Fi credit can save you an $8 fee for Wi-Fi access. As business owners and employees often use smartphones, tablets/iPads or laptops to work (or for personal enjoyment) on flights, the value of this perk can be very valuable for the frequent flier.
Reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® can save you up to $100 every four years, as well as time. Keep your shoes on, laptop/tablet/iPad in your carry on, or zoom through customs. These programs provide a number of perks which you can learn more about in our Global Entry vs. TSA PreCheck guide. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card will reimburse the fee via a statement credit, available once every four years– a year earlier than needed for the renewal (currently every five years).
You can also add employee cards at no additional cost, enabling your business to collect benefits from multiple travelers, which can add up quickly if you have a business that often visits with customers or goes to conventions, seminars or other business events in the markets that Southwest serves.
Though the card has a generous rewards offer, it'll take a little effort to offset the annual fee, so you will have to weigh if you will use the card enough to cover that cost as well as to earn an acceptable level of rewards. With Southwest offering other business and consumer cards with a variety of fees, rewards and options, you will also want to examine if one of them provides a better total value than this new card. The annual fee of $199 is double that of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card and higher than that of some other cards that offer similar business and travel-related benefits.
Also, while the statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® can mean much faster trips through airport security or customs, and alleviates the hassle of removing shoes and laptops from carry-on luggage, many business owners– or consumers– who fly frequently has likely already paid to join one of these programs, so the benefit will not be realized until time for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® renewal.
|Rewards||Bonus Rewards||Annual Fee|
|3 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases. 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.||Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.||$199|
The first difference that jumps out is that there is no annual fee for the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. Additionally, do you want cash or points? The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card offers a $500 cash back bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Additionally, earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year; 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year; and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can also add employee cards at no additional cost, and there's an added bonus of 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases.
Both cards offer higher point earnings for travel purchases and other business-related expenses, however, the American Express® Business Gold Card offers a few additional benefits. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.The American Express® Business Gold Card offers new cardholders 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of opening an account. It also offers 4x Membership Rewards® points on the two select categories where your business spends the most each month. (4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these two categories each calendar year.) You also get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year. There is also a flexible payment option that can help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more. Terms apply.
The annual fee is a bit higher than the Southwest card though, at $295.
This is a question of which Southwest card would you prefer? If Southwest is your preferred air carrier, or at least one you use quite a bit (even if another air carrier is your preferred one, but Southwest offers destinations that your preferred carrier doesn't) and you benefit from the other bonuses as well, you might be looking at a choice between the two, meaning that you will have to calculate which card gives you a better total return.
The $99 annual fee for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is a little less than half of what the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers, but with Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card you are getting more initial bonus points– 70,000 vs. 60,000 for spending $3,000 in the first three months with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card.
So you should compare the other benefits from the two cards to determine which is best for you. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card offers double points on any Southwest Airlines purchase as well as on purchases with Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. You'll also earn one point for every $1 spent on your other purchases, but unlike Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card, there are no double points for certain business categories. If you spend enough in those categories, the additional cost of the annual fee might be worth it. Plus, the card member anniversary bonus is higher with Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card at 9,000 points vs. 6,000.
Good things usually come at a cost, and we think the annual fee associated with this card can easily be offset with the amount of good that comes with it. Not only is the 70,000 point signup bonus great, but the point earning potential is huge, especially if Southwest is your preferred airline and you make a lot of purchases in the bonus business categories. Plus, the 9,000 bonus points after your card anniversary is nice ongoing incentive to help offset the cost of the annual fee.
To see the rates and fees for the American Express® Business Gold Card please visit the following link: See Rates and Fees.