Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card review: Enjoy a huge welcome bonus offer
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Earn 70,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months plus an additional 30,000 points after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first six months.
- Earn 9,000 points each year on your account anniversary, a nice ongoing incentive to help offset the cost of the annual fee.
- Application fee reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- If Southwest isn't your preferred airline, or you don't travel it often, you might be better off with a card with a lower annual fee.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- SW RAPID REWARDS® PERFORMANCE BUSINESS CARD REWARDS
- SW RAPID REWARDS® PERFORMANCE BUSINESS CARD BEST FEATURES
- POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES OF THE SW RAPID REWARDS® PERFORMANCE BUSINESS
- SW RAPID REWARDS® PERFORMANCE BUSINESS APPROVAL ODDS
- HOW THE SW RAPID REWARDS® PERFORMANCE BUSINESS COMPARES TO OTHER CARDS
- IS THE SW RAPID REWARDS® PERFORMANCE BUSINESS A GOOD CARD?
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is the cream of the crop when it comes to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® credit cards; albeit it's the most expensive. However, it's annual fee of $199 comes with a lot of benefits for Southwest travelers.
To start, new cardholders can earn up to a whopping 100,000 bonus points, which is just 25,000 points shy of the 125,000 point threshold necessary to earn a Southwest Companion Pass. This pass is one of the most coveted perks available to travelers as it allows you to bring along a companion on Southwest flights for just the cost of taxes and fees, for the remainder of the year that you earn the pass, and a full year after that. (Learn more in our "Guide to the Southwest Companion Pass.") Spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership and you'll land yourself with 70,000 bonus points. Then, if you spend $25,000 in the first six months of membership, you'll earn yourself 30,000 points more.
This bonus offer is really big deal, as otherwise, to earn a Companion Pass, you'd need to fly 100 one-way Southwest flights, or rack up 125,000 Rapid Rewards® points in a calendar year. This isn't impossible, especially if you or your employees travel frequently, but earning a Companion Pass is certainly more manageable with a bit of help.
This welcome bonus alone would definitely give you a huge advantage. Even if you don't spend $25,000 in your first six months, and only walk away with 70,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in three months, that's still a great start. And the bonuses don't stop there. As an incentive to maintain card membership, Southwest awards 9,000 bonus points each year on your account anniversary.
With all that said, we never recommend signing up for a credit card based on its bonuses, but bonuses never hurt. The great thing with this card though is that the ongoing rewards rate is really good as well. Cardholders earn three points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases; two points per dollar spent on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable and phone services; and one point on all other purchases.
- Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
- Redeem on travel-from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
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. These bonuses also go a long way in offsetting your annual fee.
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. Plus, this card doesn't charge foreign transaciton fees, so you can use it internationally without worrying about incurring extra costs.
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 card.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card annual fee of $199 is $100 more than the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card $99 annual fee for example, and higher than that of some other cards that offer similar business and travel-related benefits.
If you think you'll qualify for/frequently use the Southwest Companion Pass though, that will be more than enough to offset this cost.
We know that the rewards offered with this card sound great (they are!), but before you go and hit apply, you need to first ask yourself a few questions to see if qualify for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card. Since you don't necessarily need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to qualify for a business credit card, your odds may be better than you might think.
The list of people who can apply for a small business credit card includes quite a few professions, such as freelancers/self-employed individuals, entrepreneurs, small business owners/officers, owners/officers of established businesses, and owners/officers of startups. Most credit card companies have a pretty broad definition of a "business" when it comes to deciding who will be granted a small business credit card. To qualify for a business credit card, you need to be an "authorized officer" of a company. In other words, you must have the legal right to enter into borrowing arrangements with financial institutions on behalf of a business. As you've likely guessed, if you are the owner of a sole proprietorship business or the sole owner of a small business, you are already an "authorized officer." It can be more complicated determining who ranks for businesses that have multiple owners, though. That said, most owners, even multiple ones, are also "authorized officers."
Credit card issuers consider each application on its own merits, so let them make the decision on whether you qualify - rather than assume you aren't a good fit simply because your business doesn't appear to fit a standard business model. And some hopefully helpful FYI: your personal credit history will likely be what is used to determine your eligibility and/or credit limit on a business card before you've built up a credit history for your business.
If your business doesn't have a tax ID number (EIN), you can enter your personal social security number instead, but in general, you'll want to try and have the following information available when you apply:
- Business name
- Business name as you want it to appear on the card
- Business address
- Type of business Tax ID number (or your social security number)
- Number of employees
- Annual revenue/sales
- Monthly expenses
- Number of years in business
- Ownership type (publicly traded, privately owned, etc.)
- Business structure (LLC, corporation, non-profit, etc.)
To learn more about who can qualify for a small business credit card, and how to apply for one, be sure to check out our "Small Business Credit Cards 101" guide.
HOW THE SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARDS® PERFORMANCE BUSINESS CREDIT CARD COMPARES TO OTHER BUSINESS CARDS
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card vs. Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
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. On an ongoing basis, 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, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card vs. American Express® Business Gold Card
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 the opportunity to earn 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.
The annual fee is a bit higher than the Southwest card though, at $295.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
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 (plus the potential for 30,000 more) 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 the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card can easily be offset with the amount of good that comes with it. Not only is the 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.