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

 /  8 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.
Image of Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Apply now Lock
On Chase's secure site

Rewards rate

1X - 3X
Info

Annual fee

$99

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Regular APR

20.24% - 27.24% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card Overview

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card offers loyal business travelers who fly with Southwest Airlines a way to enjoy additional travel benefits. You can earn 3X points on purchases with the airline, 2X points on 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 Southwest Airlines flights, which have no restrictions, change fees or blackout dates.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Solid welcome offer and an enticing 6,000-point bonus on your account anniversary each year

  • Checkmark

    No foreign transaction fees

  • Checkmark

    Earn points faster by adding free employee cards and using the Tier Qualifying Points offer to qualify for elite status faster

  • Checkmark

    Decent travel and purchase protections

Cons

  • A moderate $99 annual fee

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

  • The only bonus category outside Southwest and its partners is for 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 rental car partners, 2X points on rideshares, and 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 within your first three months
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Purchase intro APR: None
  • Balance transfer intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 20.24 percent to 27.24 percent variable

Current welcome offer

When you open your account, you’re eligible to receive a 60,000-point bonus if you spend $3,000 during your first three months (Note: current or past cardholders who received a welcome bonus in the past 24 months are not eligible for this offer.) Rapid Rewards points are currently valued at around 1.5 cents per point when redeemed for flights, according to Bankrate’s latest miles valuation, making the 60,000-point sign-up bonus worth approximately $900, depending on how you redeem those points.

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. This rate is boosted thanks to the most recent update to Southwest cards, plus you’ll now also earn 2X points on rideshares. Like before, you’ll also earn 2X points by spending with the airline’s Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners, plus 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.

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. However, 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 points 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 is worth 4.5 cents for every $1 spent on Southwest airline purchases and the 2X rewards rate is worth 3 cents for every $1 spent on participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and rental car partners, as well as rideshares. However, like several airline loyalty programs, your points’ value may vary based on factors like your destination, travel date and more.

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 1.5-cent point value), 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.

Southwest travel benefits

Southwest’s latest update to the Premier Business card added several features to its benefit roster, which could 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.

There is no 0 percent intro APR offer for new purchases or balance transfers, which 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 20.24 percent to 27.24 percent. 

Other non-airline specific business rewards cards may provide more opportunities for saving interest on new purchases than the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card. For example, the American Express Blue Business® Plus Credit Card has no annual fee and a 0 percent introductory APR offer on purchases for 12 months (variable APR of 17.49 percent to 25.49 percent thereafter) with 2X points on up to $50,000 in purchases per year (unlimited 2X points on prepaid rental cars booked through AmexTravel.com; 1X points after that).

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 CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® 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. The Performance Business card has a leg up over the Premier Business thanks to its 2X rewards rate on telecom and select advertising services, plus its slightly richer benefit offerings. 

The Performance Business Card also has higher sign-up bonus earnings, as it offers 80,000 bonus points on $5,000 in purchases within the first three months — 20,000 more points than the Premier Business Card's 60,000 sign-up bonus, but you must spend $2,000 more to get the former offer. 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 can't 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 want an airline card for your small business other than Southwest, you may want to consider the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard. As opposed to the Southwest Premier Business Card, the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Card offers free checked bags for you and up to four companions traveling on your reservation, priority boarding, 25 percent off inflight Wi-Fi, food and drink as well as a $99 annual fee that is waived for the first year.

When you use the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard, you earn 2X miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases as well as cable, satellite, telecommunication, car rental and gas station purchases, plus 1X mile per dollar spent on other purchases. For every eligible mile earned from purchases, the card also earns 1 loyalty point. 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 your budget leans closer to everyday business expenses, but you either can’t justify the Performance Business card’s annual fee or you don’t want your rewards to be tied to one airline, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card  would be a great counterpart to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card. This card, which comes with a $95 annual fee, earns 3X points for every dollar spent on travel, internet, cable and phone services as well as shipping and advertising made with social media, search engines and cable and phone services (up to $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year; 1X points thereafter). Since Southwest Airlines is one of Chase’s transfer partners, the Ink Business Preferred remains a good rewards engine for Southwest while keeping your flight options open.

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 its rewards are touted as cash back, you’re actually earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which could also be transferred to your Southwest loyalty account in case you’re ever shy of a certain number of points — or if you simply want to widen your rewards spending to include 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 — particularly Chase credit cards, which earn Ultimate Rewards points that transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio — that may help you earn points faster with a comparable annual fee.
Written by
Re'Dreyona Walker

Re’Dreyona Walker is an Associate Editor for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.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 Credit Cards Editor
Reviewed by Former Senior Director of Content

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