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Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card review: A decent pick for small-business owners flying Southwest

 /  10 min
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Snapshot

4.7

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5

Bottom line

There are a lot of benefits to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card, including a generous sign-up bonus, valuable anniversary points and the opportunity to qualify for Elite Status; however, if you want higher-tier rewards or don’t want to limit yourself to Southwest rewards, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card or a general business travel rewards card may be a better choice.
  • Rewards value
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
    5 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

60,000 points

Intro offer

Info

$900

Offer valuation

Info

1X - 3X

Rewards Rate

Info

$99

Annual fee

21.49% - 28.49% variable

Regular APR

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card Overview

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card offers business travelers who fly with Southwest Airlines a way to enjoy additional benefits. You can earn 3X points on purchases with the airline, 2X points on transit (including rideshares) and Southwest’s Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners along with 1X points on all other purchases. You can redeem your points for rewards like Southwest Airlines flights, which have no restrictions, change fees or blackout dates.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Carries a solid welcome offer and 6,000 bonus points each year on your account anniversary.

  • Checkmark

    Doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, unlike the base personal Southwest card.

  • Checkmark

    Earn points faster by adding free employee cards and using the Tier Qualifying Points offer to expedite your path to elite status.

  • Checkmark

    Decent travel and purchase protections

Cons

  • Poses a moderate $99 annual fee, although it can be recouped with the anniversary bonus and two EarlyBird Check-In® boardings each year.

  • Rapid Rewards points will largely limit you to booking Southwest flights.

  • The only bonus category outside Southwest and its partners is for commuting expenses like rideshares, which may limit your rewards potential.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: Earn 3X points on Southwest airlines purchases, 2X points on participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners, local transit and commuting (including rideshares); 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Purchase intro APR: None
  • Balance transfer intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 21.49 percent to 28.49 percent variable

Current welcome offer

New cardholders have a chance at a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months after account opening. While that's a decent offer, it pales in comparison to the card's previous bonus, which gave you a chance at up to 120,000 points (60,000 points after a $3,000 spend in the first three months, plus 60,000 more points after a $15,000 total spend in the first nine months). That said, there's no guarantee Chase will offer such a high bonus on this card again anytime soon, so now may still be a great time to apply if you're planning travel.

According to Bankrate’s latest miles valuations, Rapid Rewards points are currently valued at around 1.5 cents each when redeemed for flights. This could make the card's 60,000-point sign-up bonus worth approximately $900, depending on how you redeem those points.

This is solid value compared to the value you’ll get with the offers available on many other business travel cards with a similar annual fee. However, a few general-purpose business cards in this price range feature bonuses that, while a bit less valuable, offer rewards you can redeem for travel with multiple airlines, not just Southwest and its partners.

Rewards rate

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card offers a tiered-rewards rate on Southwest-related spending, travel expenses and other general purchases. Southwest Rapid Rewards points can be earned and redeemed in a variety of ways — on more than strictly airfare.

How you earn

The fastest way to earn points with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card is to book flights through Southwest Airlines, which will net you 3X points. You’ll also earn 2X points on rideshares, transit and other eligible commuting expenses. Bookings with the airline’s Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners will also earn 2X points, and you’ll score 1X points on all other purchases.

In addition, cardholders can depend on receiving 6,000 points every year on the anniversary of their account opening, regardless of how much they spend.

You can also earn points by using the Southwest Rapid Rewards shopping portal guide when making online purchases and by eating at restaurants that participate in the airline’s Dining Rewards program. Combined with the card’s Southwest and transit bonus categories, this gives you the opportunity to earn rewards on several legs of your journey.

How to redeem

Redeeming your Rapid Rewards points for Southwest flights is easy, and the best way to take advantage of your new stash of points. If you log into your Rapid Rewards account online and input your flight details, you can search flight availability and have your trip covered by your rewards balance (excluding taxes and fees). There are no restrictions or blackout dates when you redeem points for a seat, but the number of points you’ll need will depend on the airfare.

You may also redeem your points for international flights booked through a designated flight portal, hotel stays, rental cars and more. In addition to flights and travel purchases, you can redeem your points through the Southwest More Rewards portal, which allows Southwest credit card members to trade their points for gift cards to restaurants, department stores, popular retailers and other businesses. You may also contribute your points to select charities as well.

How much are the rewards worth?

Since Bankrate's latest miles valuation estimated Rapid Rewards points to be 1.5 cents per point when redeemed for flights, the 3X rewards rate earns around 4.5 cents for every $1 spent on Southwest airline purchases and the 2X rewards rate earns around 3 cents for every $1 spent on transit and participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. 

However, the value of your points may vary based on factors like your destination, travel date and more. Non-travel redemption options may not net as much value, so it’s best to save your points for air travel. After all, there’s no rush since your Southwest Rapid Rewards points won’t expire as long as your account is open.

Other cardholder perks

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card includes many appealing perks and benefits that will appeal to business travelers who frequently fly Southwest.

Cardmember anniversary bonus

Perhaps the most compelling feature of this card is the 6,000 bonus points you’ll receive every cardmember anniversary with no spending requirement. Those points could translate to approximately $90 in value toward future flights (based on a value of 1.5 cents per point), which almost offsets the card’s annual fee entirely.

Travel and purchase protections

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card includes valuable travel and purchase protections to give you peace of mind on all your trips.

You’ll get extended warranty protection and purchase protection that may cover you in the event of theft or damage of new items, plus a few other handy travel perks like auto rental collision damage waiver coverage, roadside dispatch and travel accident insurance.

If your bags are damaged or lost by the airline, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger with lost luggage reimbursement. Additionally, if your bags are delayed by six hours or more, your baggage delay insurance benefit provides up to $100 a day for three days to cover essential items such as toiletries and clothing.

These perks are certainly helpful if you fly relatively often, but some competing travel cards — like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card — offer more comprehensive travel insurance, including valuable protections like trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

Southwest travel benefits

The Southwest Premier Business card carries several features that may lead to solid savings:

  • 25 percent back on inflight purchases
  • Two complimentary EarlyBird Check-In® boarding upgrades per year (worth up to $50)
  • Unlimited 1,500 Tier Qualification Points (TQPs) for every $10,000 spent (at least 35,000 TQPs in a calendar year required for A-List elite status)

Rates and fees

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card charges an annual fee of $99. Unlike some airline credit cards, such as the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, as the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card will not waive this fee for your first year. You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees, however, and you can also add employee cards at no additional cost.

The annual fee shouldn’t be a big issue, though, since the anniversary bonus and complimentary EarlyBird Check-Ins can make up for the cost each year. Otherwise, you can offset the annual fee by spending $2,200 each year on Southwest purchases or $3,300 per year across your 2X-point categories (based on a value of 1.5 cents per point).

There is no 0 percent intro APR offer for new purchases or balance transfers, which is normal for a premium travel card, but would’ve been a beneficial perk for small business owners who need time to pay down their balance without accruing interest, as the ongoing variable APR with this card is 21.49 percent to 28.49 percent. The lower end of this APR range is on par with the high current average interest rate.

If you need to pay off big upcoming purchases, a few business cards come with intro APR offers. For example, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has a 0 percent introductory APR offer on purchases for 12 months (variable APR of 18.49 percent to 26.49 percent thereafter), plus Expanded Buying Power if you need to occasionally spend beyond your credit limit.
 

How the Southwest Premier Business Card compares to other business airline credit cards

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card is a terrific choice for small-business owners who want to earn rewards toward Southwest and travel-related purchases, but it’s a good idea to consider more of your options if you want to maximize your earnings or rather earn rewards toward another airline.
Image of Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$99

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 3X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Image of Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$199

Intro offer

80,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 4X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Citi® / AAdvantage Business™ World Elite Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage Business™ World Elite Mastercard®

Annual fee

$99, waived for first 12 months

Intro offer

65,000 miles
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 2X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info

 

Southwest Premier Business Card vs. Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

For business travelers who frequently fly Southwest, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card is an obvious choice. However, its higher-caliber sibling, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, could be a better choice if you spend enough to make up for its $199 annual fee or want a bigger head start toward Southwests’ valuable A-List Status.

The Performance Business card has a leg up over the Premier Business thanks to its boosted Southwest rewards rates, 2X rewards rate on telecom and select advertising services, plus its slightly richer benefit offerings. These perks are well worth the $100 higher annual fee: You can squeeze plenty of value from the inflight WiFi credits, 9,000-point anniversary bonus, expedited airport screening service fee credits and four annual Upgraded Boardings.

Overall, if you don't mind paying more for the sign-up bonus and annual fee in exchange for a better rewards rate, sign-up bonus and benefits, the Performance Business Card is the clear winner. However, if you don’t fly enough to justify the $199 annual fee, the Premier Business Card is a better choice.

Southwest Premier Business Card vs. CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

If you don’t mind missing out on Southwest-specific perks, you may want to consider the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard. Unlike the Southwest Premier Business Card, the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Card offers free first checked bags for you and up to four companions traveling on your reservation, priority boarding and 25 percent off inflight Wi-Fi, food and drink. The card also charges a $99 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year.

The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard earns 2X miles on American Airlines purchases as well as on cable, satellite, telecommunication, car rental and gas station purchases, plus 1X miles on other purchases. You can redeem AAdvantage miles with American or one of the airline's oneworld alliance partners, giving you more flexible flight options than with the Southwest Premier Business Card.

As far as which card is better, the Citi / AAdvantage Card definitely has better perks, but it all depends on your personal preferences. What would you prefer to have: an American Airlines First Class ticket and in-flight discounts or a Southwest Companion Pass so that you can fly with a friend? 

Best cards to pair with this card

If you want another card that earns rewards on everyday spending and lets you redeem points for Southwest flights (as well as bookings with other airlines), consider the Ink Business Preferred card.

This card, which comes with a $95 annual fee, earns 3X points on travel, internet, cable and phone services as well as shipping and advertising purchases made with social media and search engines (up to $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year; 1X points thereafter). You can not only redeem rewards with nearly any airline through Chase’s travel portal, but also transfer to Southwest Airlines. This flexibility and Chase’s long list of transfer partners make the Ink Business Preferred a great option for pairing with the Southwest Premier Business card.

The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card could also be a valuable partner card thanks to its boosted 1.5 percent cash back rate on all purchases. Although marketed as a cash back card, it actually earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for travel with many airlines and hotels or transferred to several airline loyalty programs, including Southwest Rapid Rewards. That means it could come in hand if you ever need to top off your Rapid Rewards points balance or want to earn rewards on business expenses that fall outside your Southwest card’s categories.

 

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card worth it?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card can easily help you earn Rapid Rewards points that can be redeemed for Southwest flights. But, if you need more flexibility with your points or are looking for a wider array of benefits, you might want to consider a general-purpose business travel card. There are many cards that may help you earn points faster with a comparable annual fee — particularly Chase credit cards, which earn Ultimate Rewards points that transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio.

Frequently Asked Questions

Written by
Re'Dreyona Walker
Associate Editor, Credit Cards
Re'Dreyona Walker is an editor for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, focusing on product guides and reviews. As a personal finance expert, she is dedicated to providing honest product reviews as well as in-depth, comprehensive guides to assist readers in building credit and finding the best credit cards for their needs.
Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Former Senior Director of Content

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