Chase and Southwest have a portfolio of co-brand cards. I’d argue that the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is one of Southwest’s most compelling credit cards. In this post I wanted to explain why, between the huge bonus and valuable ongoing perks.
Southwest Performance Business Card Basics
There are lots of things to love about the Southwest Performance Business Card — a great welcome bonus, excellent perks that can cover the cost of the annual fee over and over, and more. Furthermore, some new perks were just added to the card, making it even more compelling than before. Let’s go over all the details of the card to be aware of.
Southwest Performance Business Card Bonus: 80K Points
The Southwest Performance Business Card has a bonus of 80,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months.
Southwest has a revenue-based frequent flyer program, and as a general rule of thumb you can expect that you’ll need to redeem 83 Rapid Rewards points for each dollar of airfare. In other words, each Rapid Rewards point gets you roughly 1.2 cents towards the cost of a Southwest Airlines ticket.
This means that 80,000 Rapid Rewards points will get you roughly $960 worth of airfare on Southwest Airlines, which is huge. As I’ll explain below, there are potentially ways to get even more value than that.
Earning Southwest Companion Pass
One of the best values in travel is the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, and the welcome bonus on the card gives you a fantastic head start towards that.
For those of you not familiar with Southwest’s Companion Pass, it allows someone else to travel with you for the entire year. You still have to pay the taxes on their ticket, but the Companion Pass is valid on both award and revenue tickets. You can change your designated companion three times in a year, so you can potentially even use this for different people. You can even use your Companion Pass to fly Southwest to Hawaii!
This is an outrageously good deal, and ordinarily requires accruing 125,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year. However, for 2021 Southwest is giving everyone 25,000 qualifying points, meaning you “only” need 100,000 points to earn a Companion Pass.
Also note that only certain types of points accrual qualify towards Companion Pass, and points earned with Southwest credit cards are among those.
Southwest Performance Card Eligibility
You’re potentially eligible for the Southwest Performance Business Card if you don’t currently have this card, and if you haven’t received a new cardmember bonus on this card in the past 24 months. You can have any of the Southwest personal cards, and/or the Southwest Premier Business Card, and they won’t impact eligibility for this card.
Southwest Performance Card Annual Fee
The Performance Business Card has a $199 annual fee, making it the highest annual fee Southwest Airlines credit card. However, it also comes with plenty of perks that justify it, in my opinion, including what’s possibly my favorite benefit offered by any Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card ever.
There is no cost to add authorized users on the card.
Southwest Performance Card Rewards Structure
The Southwest Performance Business Card offers some potentially useful bonus categories, as follows:
- Earn 4x points on Southwest purchases
- Earn 3x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners
- Earn 2x points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services
- Earn 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
- Earn 1x points on all other purchases
The Performance Business Card has no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a good card to use for purchases abroad. These are some pretty solid bonus categories, though in general I would only use this card for everyday spending if trying to earn Southwest Airlines Companion Pass or A-List status.
Southwest Performance Card Perks
While the Southwest Performance Business Card has a great bonus, the main reason you want to get this card is because of the perks that it offers. For those who fly Southwest with any frequency, the perks should more than cover the annual fee. For those who are frequent Southwest flyers, this card is almost too good to be true.
9,000 Anniversary Bonus Points
Just for having the Performance Card, you’ll receive 9,000 Rapid Rewards points on your account anniversary every year. As I said above, Southwest points can be redeemed for ~1.2 cents each towards airfare, so that’s the equivalent of ~$108 towards airfare annually.
Four Upgraded Boardings Per Year
Just for having the Southwest Performance Card, you get four upgraded boardings per anniversary year, when available.
You’ll be reimbursed for the purchase of up to four upgraded boardings in positions A1-15. This can be purchased at the departure gate or ticket counter on the day of travel. You can use this on four different occasions, or if you prefer you can use them on a single flight (if you’re traveling with three others).
It can take up to eight weeks for these to be reimbursed, though typically you’ll find it posts faster than that. The price of upgraded boardings varies by flight, so it’s hard to put a dollar value on this benefit.
Inflight Wi-Fi Perks
The Southwest Performance Card has a pretty incredible Wi-Fi benefit. Southwest Airlines charges $8 per device for Wi-Fi access, and for having the Performance Business Card you get up to 365 Wi-Fi credits of $8 each per year. Just charge the fee to your card, and a statement credit will automatically post.
This is a huge opportunity for frequent Southwest flyers. It means that if you fly Southwest every single day you could get one Wi-Fi credit daily. What many don’t realize is that you can also use multiple credits on one day, so you could use one for your laptop and one for smartphone, for example. You just can’t use more than 365 credits in a year.
$500 Fee Credit For Points Transfers
The Southwest Performance Card offers up to a $500 fee credit for points transfers every anniversary year. Southwest Rapid Rewards lets you 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 essentially means that you could transfer around 50,000 Rapid Rewards points per anniversary year to another member at no cost. This could be a great way to consolidate points between Rapid Rewards accounts.
Statement credits will post to your account within one to two billing cycles.
Earn Unlimited Tier Qualifying Points Towards A-List Status
In addition to being able to earn Companion Pass through spending on the card, the Southwest Performance Card also lets you earn unlimited Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs). Specifically, you can earn 1,500 TQPs towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent on the card.
A-List is Southwest Airlines’ version of status, 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.
A-List status ordinarily requires earning 35,000 TQPs in a calendar year, so spending on a Southwest Performance Business Card could help you earn that. Whether or not that’s worth it depends on how much you’d otherwise fly with Southwest.
Global Entry Or TSA Pre-Check Credits
For having the Southwest Performance Card you receive a credit of up to $100 towards TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry. You can take advantage of this benefit once every four years.
If you are going to use this perk, I’d highly recommend registering for Global Entry over TSA Pre-Check. For those of you not familiar, TSA Pre-Check gets you expedited US security screening, while Global Entry gets you expedited US immigration clearance.
Why register for Global Entry and not Pre-Check? Because Global Entry also comes with TSA Pre-Check, while the inverse isn’t true (signing up for TSA Pre-Check doesn’t get you Global Entry).
Is The Southwest Performance Card Right For You?
If you have a small business and fly Southwest with any frequency, then the Southwest Performance Business Card is a no brainer. To start, the card has an incredible welcome bonus that could get you nearly $1,000 worth of travel on Southwest, plus it could get you close to earning the Companion Pass.
On an ongoing basis, the card is worth it as well. It has a $199 annual fee but offers 9,000 points per year (which I value at ~$108), plus four upgraded boardings per year, an incredible Wi-Fi benefit, and more. This card should pay for itself for anyone who flies Southwest with any frequency.
Comparison: Southwest Performance Card Vs. Southwest Premier Card
In addition to the Southwest Performance Business Card, Southwest also has the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card (review). How does that card compare? The Southwest Premier Card:
- Has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months
- Has an annual fee of $99
- Offers 6,000 points on your anniversary every year
On the most basic level, the Performance Card has an annual fee that’s $100 higher, but it offers:
- A welcome bonus that’s up to 20,000 points better (which I value at ~$240)
- An additional 3,000 points on your anniversary every year (which I value at ~$36)
- Four upgraded boardings per year (compared to two EarlyBird check-ins on the Premier Card)
- Up to 365 $8 Wi-Fi credit per year, which could be hugely valuable if you fly Southwest often
And that’s only the beginning. Personally, I absolutely think the Performance Card is worth the premium.
The Southwest Performance Business Card is exceptional, and I’d argue it’s the single best Southwest Airlines credit card. In addition to the huge bonus of 80K points, the card also offers 9,000 anniversary bonus points, 365 Wi-Fi credits per year, four upgraded boardings per year, a $500 credit towards points transfers every anniversary year, and more. The value of that should add up quickly if you fly Southwest frequently.