Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card Review

For many small business owners who travel around the country frequently, having an airline credit card can be a great investment. Of the airline cards available on the market, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is a popular choice, and it’s easy to see why.

Airline cards are all about customer loyalty, so you’ve got to go with a carrier you’re happy to use time after time. Since Southwest Airlines is well-regarded for reliability, punctuality and low-cost fares, it’s a trusted brand in the eyes of many.

Its frequent flyer scheme, Rapid Rewards, offers unlimited reward seats and no block-out dates or restrictions. And while most airline cards award bonus points on flight purchases only, the Rapid Rewards® Premier Business gives you additional points for qualifying hotel stays and car rentals as well. In short, this card can potentially earn you more points every time you make a business trip.

The Essentials of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card

  • APR: 17.49% – 24.49% variable
  • Annual Fee: $99
  • Primary Feature: 2x Rapid Rewards points on purchases from Southwest and its hotel and car rental partners, 1x Rapid Rewards points on all other purchases
  • Introductory Bonus Offer: 60,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points when you spend $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months

What’s Interesting about Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card is great for building points quickly. Card members get a generous introductory offer of 60,000 points and an anniversary bonus of 6,000 points each year. Employee cards are provided at no additional cost, so you can earn rewards from their spending and score free flights even faster.

Using the Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card earns you tier-qualifying points as well. Essentially, you can earn 1,500 tier-qualifying points for every $10,000 spent, up to a maximum of 15,000 tier-qualifying points. These points get you closer to achieving A-List Status or A-List Preferred Status. The perks for being on the A-List or A-List Preferred vary, but we’re talking about cool benefits like priority check-in, free same-day standby, bigger bonus points for eligible Southwest flights, and free Wi-Fi.

But the perk that’s really worth raving about with the Rapid Rewards program is the Southwest Companion Pass. This basically gets you free flights for a traveling companion, though you’ll still have to pay for taxes and fees. Earning the pass won’t be easy, as you’ll need 125,000 Rapid Rewards points or enough qualifying one-way flights. However, since the pass is valid from the date you become eligible to the end of the following calendar year, it can literally shave thousands of dollars off the cost of your business travels.

There are flexible redemption options with this card, too. You can redeem points for hotel stays, rental cars, flights with Southwest and international flights limited to the Caribbean, merchandise, gift cards, and more. There are no foreign transaction fees either, making this card a good one for international travel.

Things to Consider

Although Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card has some major pros, there are a couple of potential drawbacks to bear in mind as well.

Firstly, you only earn double rewards for travel-related purchases. But if traveling isn’t a major expense for your business, then a general business credit card with travel rewards could potentially earn you more points for things like office supplies and internet services.

Secondly, unlike many other airline cards on the market, this card’s annual fee isn’t waived in the first year. While its APRs are quite standard compared to the competition, there is no introductory 0% APR period, and you can’t earn points on balance transfers either.

Since Southwest is not a part of any airline alliance, the Rapid Rewards points you earn are not redeemable against flights run by other airlines.

How to Get the Most from this Card

Making the most from Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card means flying Southwest and using its rewards partners for hotel and car hire whenever possible. Luckily, this shouldn’t be too hard to do because Southwest has partnered with many popular household names. Think Marriot, Hyatt, Hilton, and Best Western for accommodation, and Alamo, Hertz, Budget, and Thrifty for car rental.

Since you’ll need to spend $3,000 on qualifying purchases within the first three months to get the welcome bonus, it‘s worth timing your card application with an upcoming trip.

Don’t forget to utilize the added protection that comes with this card as well. You’ll get auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside dispatch, purchase protection, extended warranty, cover for delayed or lost luggage, and much more.

Other Card Options that Might Interest You

With an annual fee of $199, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card will cost you more to keep. But its superior features and bigger rewards could make this a better option if you use it often enough.

For starters, the introductory bonus is more generous at 70,000 points, but you’ll have to spend $5,000 within the first three months to qualify for it. The anniversary bonus is also bigger at 9,000 points. However, the best feature of this card is that you get three points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases, two points per dollar spent on social media advertising, internet, cable, and phone purchases, and one point per dollar for everything else.

If you like the sound of a better rewards rate but want to keep your annual fees low, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is ideal. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards and Southwest Rapid Rewards are transfer partners, you can earn points under the Chase program and convert them into Rapid Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio.

This card offers triple rewards points for qualifying travel, internet, and phone services, as well as some advertising purchases. There’s a welcome bonus of 80,000 points and no foreign transaction fees. The best bit? An annual fee of only $95.

The Final Word

The Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is fantastic for businesses that spend a lot on travel. It allows you to build points quickly, and there are flexible redemption options. But if you don’t travel often enough, you might be better off with a general travel rewards card that will give you more for other kinds of spending.

Kristie Kwok

Personal Finance Contributor

Kristie Kwok is a finance content writer with in-depth knowledge of the banking industry from her previous work experience in banks such as UBS, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland. She is a qualified accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in Accounting and Finance.