Southwest Airlines has unleashed a new business credit card on the world, and it’s a good one, particularly if you’re a regular flyer on Southwest.
The new card is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card, which offers an enhanced day-of-travel experience and opportunities for accelerated earning in key business spending categories.
All You Need to Know About the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
Let’s take a look at this new card to see why it’s such a good addition to the world of airline-affinity credit cards – and why it’s probably worth the $199 annual fee.
Southwest Performance Business Card Welcome Bonus
First, what you need to know is that the Southwest Performance Business card, offered by Chase, is offering a substantial signup bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months – the largest signup bonus Southwest offers.
Main Benefit You Get with Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card
Just how substantial that really becomes evident when you consider what many argue is the best perk Southwest offers – and, honestly, one of the best perks of any co-branded airline card – the Southwest Companion Pass.
Earn this pass, and a designated friend or family member can fly with you for (almost) free wherever you go on Southwest, including flights to Hawaii and international destinations in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
To earn a companion pass, you need to accumulate either 100 qualifying one-way flights annually or collect 110,000 qualifying points.
Well, those 80,000 signup bonus points are qualifying points, meaning that the Southwest Performance Business card gets you nearly three-quarters of the way to a Companion Pass.
You’ll need just an extra 30,000 additional points from Southwest flights, charges to the credit card, and points earned on spending with Southwest Rapid Rewards partners. (Actually, you will need less than 30,000 additional points. From the $5,000 spending you must do in the first three months, you’ll earn at least 5,000 points, and possibly more based on what you buy, which we get you next.)
Learn More: Southwest Companion Pass: Buy One, Get One Free
If you’re a Southwest flyer and you’re itching to earn a Companion Pass, there’s no better jump start that the Southwest Performance Business card.
Note: Just because this is a “business” card doesn’t mean you necessarily have to operate some formal business. If you’re an informal freelancer, a part-time consultant, you sell things on eBay or Etsy, or whatever, you can apply for a business card. Check out this post to see if you can qualify as a business. The definition of “business” is quite loose when it comes to business credit cards.
Also Note: The Southwest Performance Business card falls under Chase’s “5/24 Rule” that says you cannot apply for more than 5 credit cards in 24 months. Otherwise, you will be rejected.
How to Earn Points with Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest Performance card gives you three ways to earn points based on spending:
- 3x points on Southwest Airlines purchases, as well as purchases made through hotel and rental car partners.
- 2x points on social media and search engine advertising, as well as internet, cable, and phone services
- 1x points on everything else.
As you can see, if your initial $5,000 in spending includes Southwest Airlines travel (and hotels and rental cars that are Rapid Rewards partners), or spending on social media, internet, cable and the like, then at the end of three months, you will have somewhere between 85,000 and 95,000 points in your account … well on your way toward that Companion Pass.
Top Benefits the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card Provides
Along with the bonus points you earn from everyday spending the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit card comes with these benefits:
- 9,000 anniversary points when you renew the card each year.
- Four upgrade boardings annually, when available.
- Inflight WiFi credit.
- Up to $100 credit for Global Entry / TSA PreCheck.
- Earn tier qualifying points (TQP) that count toward A-List and A-List Preferred status (1,500 TQP for each $10,000 spend up to 15,000 TQP annually).
- No foreign transaction fee.
- Bags fly free.
- No change fees for altering you ticket.
The 9,000 points every year is a nice head start in qualifying – or requalifying – for the Southwest Companion Pass.
And if you’re truly a frequent flyer on Southwest, then the inflight WiFi credit could pay for the cost of your annual credit card membership. WiFi on Southwest runs $8 per device – a fee is automatically reimbursed on your card.
If you fly 25 one-way flights in a year (basically 13 round trips), you’ve already paid for your credit card.
Which leads us to the big question:
Is the Southwest Performance Business Credit Card Worth the Annual Fee?
The Southwest Performance Business card is smack dab in the middle of the credit card universe. It’s not an introductory card with a $95 to $99 annual fee … nor is it the typical $450 to $550 premium card you find with the United Airlines MileagePlus Club card, the Citi / Advantage Executive World Elite Mastercard or the American Express Platinum card.
Instead the Southwest Performance card is a $199 hybrid, with very few credit card competitors at this price point.
But is it worth that fee?
In my estimation: Yes, absolutely, particularly if you’re a heavy user of Southwest Airlines. As noted, WiFi credits alone can cover all or a large portion of your annual fee and keep you productive on the road. And the 9,000 anniversary points aren’t chump-change when you’re stalking that Companion Pass.
What Credit Score You Need to be Considered for a Southwest Business Performance Card
You will need good to excellent credit, so you’re looking at a credit score of at least 700 or higher.
How to Get the Most Out of Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
The best reason to own this card is to pursue a Companion Pass. There is, perhaps, not another airline perk in the travel-rewards world as valuable as the Southwest Companion Pass when you consider that you’re designated companion is only going to pay fees and taxes of about $5.60 one way.
I mean, think about that for a moment: For basically the cost of McDonald’s Extra Value meal your companion can fly with you to Hawaii or Cancun … or Costa Rica or Jamaica or the Turks and Caicos … or anywhere Southwest flies. It’s an incredible value.
The best way to maximize your chances of securing a Companion Pass is to pick up the 80,000 signup bonus miles. In subsequent years, you’ll want to use the card for every purchase on Southwest Airlines and its hotel and rental car partners, as well as specific business expenses for cable, internet and phone (and social media and search-engine advertising, if your business uses that.)
If you’re business is more informal than formal, then I would arrange my finances so my personal expense for phone, cable and internet auto-charge to the Southwest Performance card.
But here’s a caveat to consider: The Southwest Companion Pass is good for the remainder of the year it’s earned, and the full following year.
For that reason, it might make sense to wait until late fall to apply for the card. That way the 80,000 bonus points lands in your account in early 2020, and you can reach for the remaining 30,000 points you need early in the year, giving you a large portion of 2020 and all of 2021 to use the Companion Pass. (The risk, of course, is that Southwest does away with the 80,000 bonus-mile offer before the fall, though I’m not sure that’s likely).
Bottom Line: Should you Southwest Performance Business Credit Card?
I will say it again, if you are a Southwest Airlines frequent flyer, you can’t find a better credit card, even taking into account the annual fee.
You will earn points quickly by way of all your Southwest ticket purchases, and if you chose to use Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners, points are going to tumble into your account, giving you the best chance to earn the Companion Pass.
And if you’re not a regular flyer on Southwest, but you like to travel with your companion, the Southwest Performance Business card offers you an excellent opportunity earn the Companion Pass at least for the first year, given the massive 80,000 point signup bonus. You might not do enough traveling or spending on Southwest in subsequent years to qualify … but for one year you and your companion can travel well.
The new Southwest Performance Business Credit card is a fantastic addition to the business credit-card universe. The 80,000 bonus signup points have substantial value, and the benefits this card offers – particularly to Southwest frequent flyers – makes it a worthy addition to your wallet that’s worth the $199 annual fee.