Southwest recently launched a new business card with an impressive sign-up bonus – and a $199 annual fee. Is it right for you? Read on to find out.
Dear Cashing In,
I fly Southwest a lot and just heard about a new credit card that they have. It sounds as though it comes with a lot of bonus miles. Should I get it? – Mitch
Southwest Airlines offers two personal credit cards, and now it has added a second business credit card to the mix.
The new card is called the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, and it is the highest-end card that Southwest offers.
Whether it is right for you or not is going to depend on several factors, including how you spend your money and what you are looking for in rewards.
See related: Best business credit cards
New Southwest business credit card: bonus, fees, perks
Let’s look first at the details of the new card:
Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Visa
- Annual fee: $199.
- Sign-up bonus: 70,000 Southwest points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first six months.
- Earning: 3 points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases; 2 points per dollar spent on social media and search engine advertising; 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Other perks: 9,000 points on each anniversary date, TSA Precheck/Global Entry, 4 upgraded boardings per year, Wi-Fi credits.
The $199 annual fee is, obviously, pretty high and probably more expensive than a lot of the flights on Southwest.
However, like a lot of premium cards, there are many of benefits associated with the card to make that fee more palatable.
In this case, consider that the 100,000 points you would receive as a sign-up bonus can probably be used for as many as three or four round-trip flights. Plus, Global Entry – which gets you expedited access through airport security and customs – is worth $100 and is valid for five years.
It’s also worth noting that the 100,000 points bonus counts toward the 125,000 that you need in a year for the Southwest Companion Pass, allowing someone of your choosing to fly with you for free (plus taxes and fees) for a year or more. That can make this card especially valuable, if you are shooting for that.
Southwest business credit card: How it compares vs. other cards
If you are comparing Southwest cards against other frequent flyer credit cards, you should also remember that Rapid Rewards points tend to be more valuable than miles of other airlines because they are so flexible.
Southwest typically ranks at the very top of annual surveys showing award availability.
Unlike other airlines that might show no availability or that increase the number of miles needed dramatically, Southwest tends to have award seats available at a low number of points almost all of the time.
Southwest business card: Is it worth it?
Among the four Southwest credit cards, the Performance Business card is the most expensive, and it is also the most loaded with benefits.
Remember that you don’t necessarily have to be a business owner to apply for a business card. If you have a hobby that might turn into a business, or a side gig, you can often qualify for a business card.
The card will probably appeal most to a few different kinds of people.
- First are those who can qualify for the card, want a bunch of frequent flyer miles and don’t yet have Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
- The second category is business owners who fly Southwest a lot and can benefit from the points bonuses on Southwest spending and online advertising.
On the other hand, if you don’t live near an airport served by Southwest, or you don’t travel much and don’t plan to travel much, or you prefer the simplicity of cash back cards as opposed to frequent flyer cards, then this card probably isn’t for you.
But if you’re willing to spend a little extra up-front on the annual fee, you might find the new Performance Business card worth your while.