Business travelers looking for a travel rewards credit card might enjoy the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card. It’s one of the best airline credit cards and includes several incentives that can make domestic travel cheaper. Cardholders can receive in-flight, security, and travel credits, while included companion passes can allow a travel companion to fly for free. And with a free upgrade to elite status, cardmembers will enjoy advantages like priority boarding and priority check-in. It also includes free same-day flight changes.
Business travelers who do a lot of domestic travel on Southwest Airlines can enjoy lucrative rewards with this card. It’s not best for those who do a lot of international travel unless they make this their preferred card for domestic flights. Cardholders who don’t want to spend a lot on their card may not like the introductory offer that requires a large spend amount.
The Essentials of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business
- APR: 17.99%-24.99%
- Annual Fee: $199
- Primary Feature: Cardholders receive 9,000 points annually and can earn 1,500 points annually every time they spend $10,000
- Introductory Bonus Offer: 80,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days
What’s Interesting about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest Airlines has lucrative ways to rewards business travelers. Perks include four flight upgrades annually, up to two free checked bags, and no same-day change fees. Cardholders receive 3x rewards on every $1 spent on Southwest purchases. They’ll earn 2x rewards for phone, internet, and search engine advertising and 1x rewards for general purchases.
Cardholders who fly 50 roundtrip flights or 100 one-way flights can earn a companion pass that lets them bring another traveler with them. They would only need to pay taxes and fees for their companion’s flight. Cardholders can also access this benefit if they reach 110,000 points. With the 80,000 points signing bonus, that only leaves 30,000 points remaining, which shouldn’t be too hard to manage. Passes are good for the remainder of that calendar year and the following year.
With elite status, cardholders can receive 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for every $10,000 they spend (up to 15,000 TQP annually). Other perks include 25% bonuses and free same-day flight changes. Cardholders can also enjoy priority check-in and priority security lane access.
Things to Consider
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Card is not suited for travelers who don’t prefer Southwest Airlines, as purchases with the airline are the best way to earn points. Because this airline operates mostly in the United States, the card is also not ideal card for overseas travelers. An additional concern is that the introductory offer requires cardholders to spend $5,000 to receive the bonus points, which might be tricky if you’re on a limited budget.
Another concern is that Southwest doesn’t partner with other airlines, and points aren’t easy to transfer to other carriers. This can be a huge drawback for consumers who do a lot of international travel. However, savvy travelers can make this their go-to card for U.S. travel and use a separate card for international flights.
How to Get the Most from this Card
To maximize rewards with this card, cardholders should make this their go-to card for domestic travel and use the four boarding upgrades, global clearance, and Wi-Fi credits. Even if cardholders have a personal trip coming up, they might want to use this card and then reimburse their employer for the difference just to earn the points.
Cardholders should also work towards earning a companion pass and elite status. Companion passes are good for the remainder of the year and the following year, giving customers a lucrative 2-for-1 deal. And after accumulating enough Rapid Rewards points, they can use them to book hotels, flights, rental cars, and entire vacations.
Other Card Options that Might Interest You
A card similar to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card. While the APR is the same, the annual fee is only $99. Cardholders only have to spend $3,000 in the first 90 days to earn the 60,000 bonus points. The one catch is that cashback rewards are a bit lower, and there aren’t as many perks. Each year, cardholders receive 6,000 points and will also benefit from the no change fee for flights perk. There’s also no foreign transaction fee. Cardholders can earn unlimited rewards for Southwest flights to 100+ destinations but can’t pay for flights with cash and points.
Another card for business travel is the Platinum Card from American Express. It has a 60,000-point introductory offer after $5,000 in purchases and a bonus value of $1,200 that helps offset the $550 annual fee. It includes concierge service, access to global lounges, and annual flight credits. Additionally, cardholders receive Global Entry and TSA Pre✓ credits and annual credits from Uber and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The Final Word
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is a preferred card for business travelers who like flying Southwest Airlines. Advantages include a high introductory bonus, flight credits and upgrades, 3x reward points, a free companion pass, and elite status. If activated at the beginning of a calendar year, the companion pass is good for two full years, while elite status gives cardholders priority boarding and free same-day flight changes.
The only real drawback is the high spending amount to get the introductory offer. However, when you do earn those initial 80,000 points, companion pass status is easily within reach. This card isn’t for travelers who don’t fly Southwest and those who do most of their travel overseas, as the card doesn’t provide many benefits for these customers.