Chase and Southwest Airlines have two business credit cards — the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card and the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card (review). In this post I wanted to take a closer look at the Premier Card, especially in light of the recent improvements we’ve seen. This is the more basic of the two business cards.
Note that these two business cards are in addition to the three Southwest Airlines personal credit cards, which include the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Card (review), Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card (review), and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card (review).
Southwest Premier Business Card Review
The Southwest Premier Business Card is Southwest’s entry-level business credit card. Let’s take a look at the welcome bonus, annual fee, return on spending, and perks of this card.
Southwest Premier Business Card 60K Welcome Bonus
The Southwest Premier Business Card is offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months. That’s a solid bonus, particularly given the reasonable spending requirement.
Rapid Rewards is a revenue-based frequent flyer program, and you can generally expect that you’ll have to redeem 83 Rapid Rewards points per dollar of airfare, making each Rapid Rewards point worth roughly 1.2 cents. In other words, the 60,000 Rapid Rewards points are worth ~$720 in travel on Southwest. On top of that, note that the points earned as part of the welcome bonus count toward Southwest Companion Pass.
The sign-up bonus isn’t available to those who currently have this card, or those who have received a new cardmember bonus on this card in the past 24 months. However, you are eligible for this card (including the bonus) if you have the Southwest Performance Business Card, or any personal Southwest credit card.
Southwest Premier Business Card $99 Annual Fee
The Southwest Premier Business Card has a $99 annual fee. There’s no cost to add additional users to the card.
Southwest Premier Business Card Offers Up To 3x Points
As far as the rewards structure goes, the Southwest Premier Business Card offers:
- 3x Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines purchases
- 2x Rapid Rewards points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
- 2x Rapid Rewards points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
- 1x Rapid Rewards points on all other purchases
The Southwest Premier Business Card has no foreign transaction fees. While these are some good bonus categories, I wouldn’t consider this to be an industry-leading rewards structure — there are better cards for airfare spending, and better cards for everyday spending.
Southwest Premier Business Card Lets You Earn A-List Status
Spending on the Southwest Premier Business Card can count toward A-List elite status. Specifically, you can earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) toward A-List for every $10,000 you spend on the card. A-List status ordinarily requires 35,000 TQPs per year, and offers perks like priority boarding, a 25% points bonus, same-day standby, priority check-in and security lane access, and a dedicated phone number.
Personally I probably wouldn’t spend that much money on a credit card to earn A-List status, but for some people this could prove to be worthwhile, especially if you’re close to earning A-List status otherwise.
Southwest Premier Business Card 6,000 Anniversary Bonus Points
The one major ongoing perk of the Southwest Premier Business Card is that you earn 6,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points on your account anniversary every year. As mentioned above, I value Rapid Rewards points at around 1.2 cents each, so to me, that’s like $72 worth of value annually.
To look at it differently, if you have a similar valuation then having this card is costing you $27 per year — that’s a reasonable annual cost, especially with the other benefits.
Southwest Premier Business Card Points Transfer Credit
The Southwest Premier Business Card offers up to $500 in fee credits for points transfers every cardmember year. Southwest allows members to transfer points between Rapid Rewards accounts for one cent each, which ordinarily isn’t a very good deal, since the points are “only” worth around 1.2 cents each.
With this benefit, your first $500 in fees for points transfers are covered. This is a great way to be able to consolidate points between accounts, as this should allow you to transfer 50,000 Rapid Rewards points between accounts annually at no cost. Statement credits will post to your account within one to two billing cycles.
Southwest Premier Business Card EarlyBird Check-In
The Southwest Premier Business Card offers two EarlyBird check-ins per anniversary year. This can get you a better boarding position, and would ordinarily cost $15-25 each, so that’s potentially a $30-50 value. With Southwest having open seating, this is potentially quite a valuable perk.
Southwest Premier Business Card 25% Inflight Savings
The Southwest Premier Business Card offers 25% savings on inflight Wi-Fi and drink purchases on Southwest. Just charge your card, and you’ll automatically receive a statement credit for 25% of the purchase total within two billing cycles.
Is The Southwest Premier Business Card Worth It?
The Southwest Premier Business Card offers a solid welcome bonus of 60,000 points, and the $99 annual fee is largely offset by the 6,000 anniversary bonus points, two EarlyBird check-ins, inflight savings, points transfer credit, and more.
The sign-up bonus can help you earn Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, which is one of the best values in travel. Companion Pass allows someone to travel with you the entire year (whether paying cash or redeeming points), and all you have to do is pay their taxes and fees. Companion Pass requires earning 125,000 points annually (through select activities, including earning points on co-branded Southwest cards).
When deciding whether the Southwest Premier Business Card is worth it, there are two further things to consider.
Pay $100 Extra For Southwest Performance Business Card
Chase and Southwest also have a more premium business card, which is the Southwest Performance Business Card. The card has a $199 annual fee, so it’s $100 higher than the annual fee on this card. However, the Performance Business Card offers a variety of incremental perks that will for more than justify the difference in annual fees, in my opinion. This includes the following:
- A welcome bonus of 80,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $5,000 within three months (so the bonus is 20,000 Rapid Rewards points bigger, which I value at ~$240)
- 9,000 Rapid Rewards points on your account anniversary, rather than 6,000 points (I value the incremental 3,000 points at ~$36)
- Four upgraded boardings per year (which compares favorably to the two EarlyBird check-ins)
- Up to 365 Wi-Fi credits of $8 each per year, which will get you a lot of internet access on Southwest Airlines flights
- A Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit once every four years
The Better Way To Earn Rapid Rewards Points
If your goal is to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points, but you don’t actually plan on earning Companion Pass or A-List status, there’s a much faster way to earn those points.
- The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases annually on travel, shipping, internet, cable, and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines; the card has a $95 annual fee
- The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (review) offers 5x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each anniversary year on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services, plus 2x points on the first $25,000 spend in combined purchases each anniversary year on gas stations and restaurants; the card has no annual fee
- The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (review) offers 1.5x points on everyday spending; the card has no annual fee
The Southwest Premier Business Card is a good entry-level Southwest Airlines business credit card with a solid sign-up bonus. The card even has some fantastic new perks that make it even more compelling than in the past, since nothing was taken away and the annual fee is staying the same.
The only other consideration is that I think it’s worth paying the premium for the Southwest Performance Business Card, which has a larger welcome bonus and better ongoing perks.
Which of the two Southwest Airlines business cards do you prefer?