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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card Review


Our rating

4.4/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upVery good sign-up bonus
  • thumbs-up3x points on eligible Southwest purchases
  • thumbs-upAccelerated progress toward A-List and Companion Pass status
  • thumbs-upNo fees for additional employee cards

Cons

  • thumbs-downHas a $99 annual fee from the first year
  • thumbs-downFew luxury benefits
  • thumbs-downDynamic redemption values make planning a challenge

The information related to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card from Chase is a small business credit card with a travel rewards program that favors frequent Southwest Airlines flyers. It’s closely related to the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card, a consumer option that’s popular with individuals who frequently fly with Southwest.

Though the Premier Business card is definitely useful for heavy spenders and frequent travelers, it’s worth pointing out up front the $99 annual fee – and the lack of luxurious benefits, such as complimentary airport lounge access. These drawbacks could scare occasional users off.


Key Features of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Here’s what the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card has going for it.

Sign-up Bonus

When you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you get 60,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points. This bonus is reliably worth more than $400 at redemption, and can be worth much more when redeemed for higher-priced flights.

Earning Rapid Rewards Points

This card earns unlimited 3 Rapid Rewards points per $1 spent on Southwest airfare, vacation packages, in-flight food and drinks, and other incidentals, provided they’re made directly with the airline and not through a third-party booking site. 

Two types of purchases earn 2 points per $1 spent:

  • Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • Local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshare services

All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 Rapid Rewards point per $1 spent.

Points never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

Redeeming Rapid Rewards Points

Rapid Rewards points can be redeemed for Southwest Airlines airfare, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. Redemption minimums typically start at 5,000 for one-way flights and 10,000 for round-trip flights, though they’re subject to variation based on the dollar cost of the flight.

How Much Are Rapid Rewards Points Worth When You Redeem?

At redemption, points are reliably worth $0.01 or more. They can be worth up to $0.02 apiece in some cases, depending on the time, date, and season of your flight, as well as distance, destination, and other factors. Generally speaking, short-haul flights offer better value.

Southwest Airlines regularly adjusts the number of points required to redeem a particular flight, sometimes on a weekly or daily basis, so your mileage may vary.

Other Rapid Rewards Redemption Options

Separately, you can redeem Rapid Rewards points for experiences (such as music shows), merchandise, rental cars, and gift cards through Southwest More Rewards, a partner company. However, More Rewards usually values points at well under $0.01 apiece.

More About Southwest More Rewards

More Rewards also works with more than 50 international airlines and a number of hotel chains to allow Rapid Rewards redemptions on more than 800 international flight routes (though Southwest still does not belong to a major airline alliance) and at approximately 70,000 hotels worldwide. Redemption minimums and point values vary by airline and hotel, but are typically lower than what’s possible with Southwest redemptions.

Tier Qualifying Point Earnings

This card earns 1,500 bonus Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) for every $10,000 spent. TQPs are Rapid Rewards points not earned through credit card sign-up bonuses or partner purchases, so basically points earned through Southwest fares and on eligible credit card purchases.

There’s no limit to the number of Tier Qualifying Points you can earn each year in this manner. And don’t forget, you can also earn unlimited number of additional Tier Qualifying Points by paying cash for Southwest Airlines fares and making non-Southwest credit card purchases.

If you earn 35,000 Tier Qualifying Points in a calendar year, you earn A-List status, which confers membership in Southwest’s elite frequent flyer program. Notable A-List status benefits include priority consideration on standby flights, priority boarding on all flights, and a 25% point-earning bonus. It’s also possible to earn A-List status by completing at least 25 one-way flights in a calendar year.

Cardmember Anniversary Bonus

Every year your account remains open and in good standing, you get a 6,000-point bonus on your cardmember anniversary. This is often enough to redeem for a short one-way flight.

Companion Pass Status

Companion Pass status is an elite designation afforded to heavy spenders who frequently fly Southwest.

How Can You Earn Companion Pass Status?

To earn Companion Pass status, you either need to accumulate 110,000 Tier Qualifying Points (through cash fare and credit card purchases, other than partner purchases) or complete at least 100 one-way Southwest Airlines segments (connecting flights count separately) in a calendar year.

What Does Companion Pass Get You?

Companion Pass status holders can use the benefit to bring along a companion traveler on any Southwest flight at no additional fare charge, though taxes and security fees must still be paid.

Are There Limits on Companion Pass Use?

There’s no limit to how many times this benefit can be invoked. Benefit holders can travel with as many individual companions throughout the year as they like, though they can’t travel with more than one companion per flight.

How Long Is Companion Pass Status Good For?

Companion Pass status goes into effect as soon as it’s earned and remains in effect for the entire year thereafter. For instance, if you earn Companion Pass status in October, you enjoy it until December 31st of the following year – more than 14 months.

Important Fees

The annual fee is $99. There is no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5% and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. There are no fees for additional employee cards.

Southwest Travel Benefits for Rapid Rewards Premier Business Cardholders

This card comes with two notable travel benefits for Southwest flyers:

  • Two EarlyBird check-ins per year, which entitle you to board closer to the front of the line
  • 25% off eligible in-flight purchases, including food and drink

General Southwest Airlines Benefits

Southwest Airlines has two key benefits worth noting here. These aren’t perks of this credit card per se, but they’re nice-to-haves when flying with Southwest:

  • No Change Fees. Southwest Airlines doesn’t charge change fees. If you need to change your flight’s date, time, or even destination after your initial booking, you don’t have to worry about incurring an extra fee. Instead, you just pay the cost difference (in dollars or Rapid Rewards points) between the two flights.
  • First and Second Checked Bag Free. Your first and second checked bags are always free. This is ideal for business travelers who spend long periods away from home, or those who take lots of equipment on trips (such as golf bags or professional photography gear). And it’s not typical of other mainline carriers.

Credit Required

This card requires excellent credit.


Advantages of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Here’s why you should think seriously about adding the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card to your business spending arsenal.

  • Companion Pass Is Great for Frequent Fliers. If you fly Southwest often, it’s definitely worth striving for Companion Pass status. It’s especially valuable for couples who take regular vacations, because it gives frequent Southwest fliers the power to take a companion of their choosing on any Southwest flight – and pay only taxes and fees. This benefit is quite rare among other airlines. Alaska Airlines’ companion airfare benefit limits the cost of companion fares to $121, but that’s usually still more than the taxes and fees on Southwest Airlines Companion Pass fares.
  • Very Good Sign-up Bonus. This card has a very good sign-up bonus: 60,000 points when you spend $3,000 or more within 3 months of opening your account. This bonus can be worth close to $1,000, depending on the flights for which it’s redeemed. Also, its spending threshold is much lower than that of some competing business travel cards, which can require $3,000 to $5,000 in spending within 3 to 4 months.
  • Earn 3x Points on All Purchases Made Directly With Southwest. This card earns double points on all purchases made directly with Southwest Airlines. That includes airfare as well as vacation packages and incidental fees. By contrast, the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card’s triple-point earnings apply only to airfare, vacation packages, and cargo packages. Many other airlines only offer accelerated point earnings on direct airfare purchases.
  • Earn 2x Points on Eligible Non-Southwest Travel and Mobility Purchases. With this card, you’ll earn 2x points on eligible non-Southwest travel purchases and local mobility purchases, including rideshare. That’s a nice return on spending that can really add up if your employees regularly hit the road.
  • Earn Unlimited Tier Qualifying Points With Qualifying Spending. With every $10,000 in qualifying purchases, you’ll earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) toward A-List status, Southwest’s frequent flyer program. You need 35,000 TQPs to qualify for A-List status and 110,000 TQPs to qualify for Companion Pass status. There’s no limit on how much you can earn through this bonus, so spend away.
  • Points Never Expire. As long as your Rapid Rewards account remains open, your accumulated points never expire, even if you have long stretches of inactivity. This isn’t always the case with other airline rewards programs – for example, British Airways Avios points expire after just 36 months.
  • No Fees for Employee Cards. Chase doesn’t charge fees for additional employee cards, so you don’t have to worry about racking up additional overhead if you have multiple employees who need Rapid Rewards Premier Business cards.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee. This card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which makes it a great tool for international travelers. This is in stark contrast to the Expedia+ and Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature cards, both of which come with 3% foreign transaction fees.

Disadvantages of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Consider these drawbacks before you apply for this card.

  • Higher Annual Fee Than Some Competitors. This card’s $99 annual fee is fairly high among business credit cards tied to specific airlines.? American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Business waives its $99 annual fee in the first year of card membership.
  • Few Luxury Benefits. The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card has useful practical benefits – up to 2 free checked bags per person and no change fees, for example. However, it lacks in the luxury and convenience departments. Many competing cards offer discounted or complimentary airport lounge passes or memberships, as well as priority boarding and class upgrades. To get such benefits with Southwest, you need to spend (or fly) enough to earn A-List membership.
  • Variable Point Requirements Make Planning Ahead for Redemptions Difficult. The number of Rapid Rewards points required for a reward flight redemption can vary from week to week (and even day to day) based on such factors as date, flight time, demand level, season, and more. Flights that require 10,000 points this week might ask for 12,000 next week, or vice versa. Southwest Airlines does have a customer-facing redemption calculator that lets you price out the approximate number of points required for a redemption, but this tool is far from scientific. Since you don’t know exactly how many points you need for a given flight until you actually book, it’s tough to plan ahead and budget points for reward travel.

Final Word

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is not the most luxurious business travel card around. If you crave preferred treatment and swanky benefits, such as complimentary airport lounge access, look to a more generous card – such as American Express Business Platinum, which has a host of perks for discerning business travelers. If you’re okay with practical benefits, such as Rapid Rewards Premier Business’s lack of change fees and free checked bags, this card should suit you fine.

Our rating

4.4/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upVery good sign-up bonus
  • thumbs-up3x points on eligible Southwest purchases
  • thumbs-upAccelerated progress toward A-List and Companion Pass status
  • thumbs-upNo fees for additional employee cards

Cons

  • thumbs-downHas a $99 annual fee from the first year
  • thumbs-downFew luxury benefits
  • thumbs-downDynamic redemption values make planning a challenge
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
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