CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through the LendingTree affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective.
Our quick take: The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card provides a suite of benefits for business owners who fly Southwest.
- Earn 4 points for every dollar you spend on Southwest Airlines purchases, 3 points per dollar on purchases made with Rapid Rewards® hotels and car rental partners, 2 point per dollar on social media and search engine advertising, 2 points per dollar on internet, cable and phone services, 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
- All points earned with your credit card count towards the Southwest Companion Pass, including the points earned with your welcome offer.
- 9,000 bonus points every year on your cardmember anniversary (starting the second year you’re a card holder).
- Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.
- Four upgraded boarding per year, when available.
- In-flight WiFi credits.
- Earn tier-qualifying points towards A-List status.
- No blackout dates or seat restrictions when redeeming points.
- Points earned never expire.
- Shopping protection benefits.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Not as many travel protection benefits as other Chase credit cards.
- No introductory rate on purchases or balance transfers.
- $199 annual fee.
Current sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months after opening the account.
Best for: Business owners who fly Southwest often enough to use the many benefits that come with the card — such as upgraded boarding positions and inflight Wi-Fi credits. It’s also a good option for those looking to earn qualifying points toward the Southwest Companion Pass.
See if you qualify for the Southwest Performance Business Credit Card with an 80,000-point bonus.
The Southwest Performance Business Credit Card is the most expensive card out of the five Southwest credit cards currently available, but it also provides the most benefits.
With its $199 annual fee, you’ll earn 9,000 bonus points on every card holder anniversary (worth $126 toward Southwest travel), four upgraded boarding positions (worth between $120 and $200) and inflight Wi-Fi credits (worth $96 if you’re flying Southwest round trip on average every other month).
On a conservative basis, those benefits are worth $342 if you can take advantage of all of them, though that’s starting with your second year as a card holder since the 9,000 annual bonus points won’t hit your account until you’ve already had the card for a year.
But that also doesn’t take into account the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit you’ll receive once every four years. Even if you’re already enrolled in one of these two programs, you can always use the credit for a friend or family member’s application. Just pay their application fee with your Southwest Performance Business card and it will be reimbursed as a statement credit.
These money-saving benefits give the Performance Business a leg up when compared to the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, but they might only be worth it if you fly Southwest at least a few times per year.
The card also gives you the opportunity to earn qualifying points toward a Southwest Companion Pass, along with tier points toward A-List elite status. You’ll receive 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points every year you have the card, and all points you earn with the card also count as Companion Pass qualifying points. Even the sign-up bonus — currently worth 80,000 points — counts toward earning the pass.
The best benefit of the Southwest Performance Business card for many travelers is the opportunity to earn qualifying points towards the Southwest Companion Pass. To get the pass, you need to earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. But when you factor in the current sign-up bonus of 80,000 points, plus the 10,000-point bonus, you’re already getting close to the threshold.
You can earn the remaining 45,000 qualifying points by spending on the Southwest Performance Business card, as well as with partner activity like shopping through the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal. If your business requires lots of spending, earning the pass shouldn’t be a difficult task.
Additionally, the Southwest Performance Business card can help you earn A-List or A-List Preferred status. You’ll earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) for every $10,000 you spend on the card in a calendar year. You need to earn 35,000 TQPs per year to earn A-List status, or 70,000 TQPs to earn A-List Preferred. If you’re a business traveler who’s on the road often, having Southwest’s A-List status can make your travel experience more seamless.
Another great perk of the Southwest Performance Business card is the upgraded boarding positions. Since Southwest has an open seating policy — meaning the airline doesn’t assign seats ahead of time — boarding the plane first is crucial to getting your ideal seat. With this benefit, when you purchase an A1 through A15 boarding position at the gate (if available) and pay the fee with your Performance Business card, you’ll be reimbursed for the cost, up to four times per calendar year. These upgraded boarding positions typically cost between $30 and $50 per flight.
You can also receive up to 365 inflight Wi-Fi credits per year. Southwest charges $8 per flight for Wi-Fi access, so this could save you a lot amount of money depending how often you fly with the airline. You just have to pay for the Wi-Fi pass with your Performance Business card to be reimbursed.
Unfortunately, you won’t get a great return on your everyday purchases with the Southwest Performance Business. Southwest points are typically worth around 1.4 cents apiece when redeemed for the airline’s Wanna Get Away fares, so you’re earning only a 1.4% return on any purchases that earn one point for every dollar you spend. Compare that to the many cards out there that earn a 2% return on all purchases.
Also, there are other business credit cards with more robust bonus categories. For example, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earns 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent each account anniversary year in combined purchases on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. And while the Southwest Performance Business card earns 4 points per dollar on Southwest travel, it’s limited to travel on that one specific airline.
Another downside of the card is that you won’t receive the same travel protection benefits that come with many other Chase business credit cards. While the Southwest Performance Business offers some travel benefits, such as auto rental collision damage waiver on business trips, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage insurance and travel accident insurance, it doesn’t include trip delay or trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
CNN Underscored has chosen the Citi Double Cash® Card as our current “benchmark” credit card. That doesn’t mean it’s the best credit card on the market — rather, we use it as a basic standard to compare other credit cards and see where they score better, and where they’re worse.
Here’s how the Southwest Performance Business card scores against our benchmark. The features of each card in the below chart are colored in green, red or white. Green indicates a card feature that’s better than our benchmark. Red indicates the feature is worse than our benchmark, and white indicates the feature is either equivalent or cannot be directly compared to our benchmark.
When reviewing other credit cards, we use this format and these criteria to compare them with our benchmark. You can read our credit card methodology for more details on what we take into account when it comes to perks, protections and redemption value.
Also, when comparing these two cards, remember that different credit cards are made for different customers. The Southwest Performance Business card is meant for business owners looking for travel perks and free flights on Southwest. Meanwhile, the Citi Double Cash is better for consumers looking for a simple credit card to earn a rebate on all of their daily spending. Consider your needs before deciding on the right credit card for you.
If you’re looking to earn Southwest points toward travel but you don’t need all of the benefits that come with the Southwest Performance Business card, you might consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card.
This is Southwest’s other business credit card, and it has a smaller $99 annual fee. Its main perks include 6,000 points on your card holder anniversary (worth about $84 toward Southwest travel), the opportunity to earn Tier Qualifying Points and no foreign transaction fees. And like all Southwest credit cards, points earned from spending money on the Southwest Premier Business card count toward the Southwest Companion Pass.
If you don’t need a Southwest-specific card, but you still want to earn points that you can redeem for Southwest flights, the Ink Business Preferred is still a great pick. Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned with the card can be transferred directly to your Southwest account at a 1-to-1 ratio, meaning 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points are equal to 1,000 Southwest points.
You can also transfer those Ultimate Rewards points to 13 other airlines and hotels, or redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. However, points transferred to Southwest from the Ink Business Preferred will not count toward the Companion Pass.
If you’re a frequent Southwest flyer looking to accumulate more Southwest points, then yes, the Southwest Performance Business card is a great option to have — especially with its current 80,000-point sign-up bonus. Not only will you earn more points on your Southwest purchases, you’ll also get many money saving perks like upgraded boarding positions and inflight Wi-Fi credits that can offset the annual fee in no time.
Plus, if your business spends a hefty amount on credit cards each year, earning the Southwest Companion Pass shouldn’t be a difficult task either. And depending on how often you fly, the pass could decrease your overall travel budget on a yearly basis.
Learn more and apply now for the Southwest Performance Business Credit Card.
Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best business credit cards currently available.
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