What Makes the Southwest Business Card Unique?

What Makes the Southwest Business Card Unique?

What Makes the Southwest Business Card Unique?

Southwest Airlines has always been unique in a variety of ways: two free checked bags, no assigned seating, and a very flexible change policy. For business owners who appreciate the Southwest approach, Southwest Business credit cards can be a great way to extend the benefits of flying Southwest by earning valuable travel points every time you swipe your card. . 

Here’s why business owners may want to consider a Southwest Business Credit Card, and when other options might make more sense for your small business.

Does Southwest Business Credit Card Have a Rewards Program?

Absolutely. Southwest Airlines’ rewards program is called Rapid Rewards, and both personal and business credit cards are branded as Rapid Rewards Cards. This loyalty program was named Program of the Year for the eighth time in the consumer-selected category of InsiderFlyer’s 2022 Freddie Awards.

Rapid Rewards cards allow you to earn points for eligible purchases on the card. You can then use those points toward travel. There are other ways to use your points: gift cards, merchandise, international flights on global carriers, hotel stays, rental cars, and exclusive Cardmember experiences, but travel remains the most popular redemption for these points. 

You can also use Chase Pay Yourself Back® to redeem your points as a statement credit on eligible purchases made at select merchants or against the prior payment of your annual fee. 

Rapid Rewards points do not expire. 

Points can also help you qualify for A-list or A-list Preferred Status. You can earn A-List status with 25 flights or 35,000 tier qualifying points (tqp) in a calendar year. You can earn A-List Preferred with 50 one-day qualifying flights or 70,000 tqps in a calendar year. 

Keep in mind that Southwest seats are all the same. There are no business class seats. There are also no reserved seats. Instead you choose your seat when you board. If you are an A-List member, you and everyone on your reservation gets priority boarding, which means an earlier boarding position and more choices for seating. Even if you aren’t assigned a seat in the A group on your boarding pass, you’ll be able to board before the B group boards, which means you will likely have a good selection of seats from which to choose.  

I held a Rapid Rewards Business Credit Card for many years, and benefited from a variety of perks including the ability to earn Rapid Rewards points on my purchases. Together with the Rapid Rewards points I earned from flying Southwest, I was able to earn A-list status, and redeem points for many free flights (paying a small fee for taxes). 

A Rapid Rewards Business Card also helped me earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass, which allowed me to take a companion with me at no cost when I flew Southwest. I found this to be an extremely valuable benefit that I used a lot. In a moment I’ll share more on how a Rapid Rewards Business credit card can help you earn a Companion Pass. 

If you are trying to earn status or a companion pass, it’s a good idea to review the types of purchases and activities that do and do not qualify toward A-List and/or Companion Pass. 

Another benefit of the Rapid Rewards program is that it offers unlimited reward seats with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. Some airlines make redeeming points complicated. But with Southwest, using points to pay for flights is straightforward. Log into your Rapid Rewards account and choose points instead of dollars. You’ll see points redemption options for each flight. You can also use a monthly calendar view to find flights that require fewer points. 

Overall a Rapid Rewards credit card can be a great way to earn points you can turn into travel, especially on Southwest flights. 

How Many Southwest Business Cards Are There?

Southwest’s credit card offers change from time to time. Small business owners can currently choose from two Rapid Rewards Business Credit Cards*: 

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

Rewards: At the base level, earn 1 point for every dollar you spend. There are a number of categories where you can earn bonus points:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • 2 points for every $1 you spend on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services
  • 3 points for every $1 you spend on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 4x points for every $1 you spend on Southwest Airlines purchases
  • 1x points for everything else

Welcome offer: Earn a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.**

You’ll also earn 9000 anniversary bonus points each year you renew the card. 

Other Perks

Four upgraded boardings per year when available

Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit. You can get a statement credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS paid for with your card. 

Up to 365 inflight WiFi Credits per year. Wifi on Southwest normally costs $8/day.

This card has a $199 annual fee. 

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Rewards: The basic earning rate is 1 point for every dollar you spend. There are a number of categories where you can earn bonus points:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • 2 points for every $1 you spend on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 3 points for every $1 you spend on Southwest Airlines® purchases
  • 1 point per dollar for other purchases

Welcome offer: The card is currently promoting a limited-time offer that allows you to earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from your account opening. Plus, earn an additional 60,000 points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 9 months.**

You’ll also earn 6000 anniversary points every year you renew the card.

Other benefits include:

2 EarlyBird Check-In® per year. This benefit can get you into a higher boarding group without having to manually check in 24 hours before your flight (and hope for a higher boarding group). 

25% back on inflight purchases.  

This card carries a $99 annual fee.

Benefits For Both Southwest Business Cards

Both of these cards have certain benefits in common: 

Unlimited tier qualifying points. Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (tqp) toward A-List status for every $10,000 spent.

Free employee cards. Employee spending can help you earn points faster.

No foreign transaction fees. This makes these cards attractive for purchases outside the US. 

$500 fee credit for points transfers per year. Transfer points to other Rapid Rewards members and get up to $500 in fee credits for those points transfers each year.

Complimentary DashPass from DoorDash. Receive complimentary DashPass for 12 months after activation. 

Benefits Available to All Southwest Customers

Whether you carry a Southwest Credit Card or not, the following benefits are available when you fly Southwest. 

Free checked bags. Southwest has one of the most generous baggage allowance policies in the industry and unlike other airlines, you don’t need elite status or a Southwest card to qualify. You’ll get a carryon and a personal item, and you’ll be able to check two bags, all subject to size and weight restrictions. 

No change fees. One of the benefits I appreciate and have used many times is the ability to easily change or cancel your booked Southwest flights without penalty. (A higher fare may apply to your new booking and with certain fares you’ll receive a credit you can use toward a future flight.)

Can You Have Southwest Business and Personal Cards?

Yes you can hold Rapid Rewards personal and business credit cards. Getting both types of cards can be a great way to earn miles for both personal and business purchases. 

Getting both personal and business cards allowed me to earn a Southwest Companion Pass. Companion Pass is the benefit that allows you to choose one person to fly with you, free of airline charges (excluding taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way) when you purchase a flight, either with money or using Rapid Rewards points. 

To qualify, you must fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. When you meet one of those requirements, you’ll earn your Companion Pass for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it. 

It’s important to note that you earn points from spending on your Rapid Rewards credit cards based on when they post to your Rapid Rewards account (NOT on the spending date). Credit card points posted to your Rapid Rewards account in 2023, including bonus points, will count toward qualifying for a 2024 Companion Pass.

If your business already spends a lot, or if you also fly Southwest frequently, you may be able to earn the Companion Pass without getting two cards. But if not, getting a business and personal card may help you get there. 

In my case, I got both cards at the same time and was careful to meet my spending requirements to earn welcome bonuses. The points I earned from those two cards, along with points earned by flying, allowed me to earn a Companion Pass. Thanks to continued activity I was able to keep it for a few years. It easily saved me thousands of dollars on flights for family members. 

What Is the Annual Fee for Southwest Business Credit Card?

The annual fees for Southwest Business credit cards are currently: 

  • $99 for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
  • $199 for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

What Is the APR on Southwest Credit Cards?

As is common with most credit cards, you will see a range of interest rates offered for these business credit cards. Both business credit cards currently disclose an APR of

21.24%–28.24% variable APR. If you are approved, you’ll get a disclosure with your interest rate. 

Although the credit card issuer for these cards, Chase, does not reveal the exact criteria used to set interest rates, it’s likely that a combination of factors, including credit scores, help determine your interest rate. 

These cards offer grace periods so if you pay your statement balance in full each month by the due date you can avoid interest charges. 

Tip: If you need to finance business purchases over time you may want to consider a 0% intro APR business credit card or low-rate balance transfer instead. 

What Credit Score Do You Need To Be Approved for Southwest Credit Card?

A minimum credit score is not revealed for these cards, however it’s likely you’ll need at least good credit. For many issuers that means a FICO score of 650-670 or above. (If your application is declined, you may request reconsideration. Some cardholders are approved on this second review.) 

Premium credit cards, such as the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, may require higher credit scores. 

Be sure to check your credit before you apply for a business or personal credit card. 

Keep in mind that many business credit cards, including these cards, may appear on your business credit reports. Paying on time can be helpful if you are trying to establish business credit. Good buiness credit scores can help your business qualify for supplier financing and certain small business loans.

What Is the Southwest Credit Card Limit?

Just as your APR will depend in part on qualifications, so will the credit limit on your card. Here, income can often play a factor in the size of the credit limit you get.

With this business credit card, as with many business credit cards, you can include income from all sources on your application. Higher income may help you qualify for higher credit limits.

At the time I was approved for my business credit card, I was working a full-time job and had little business income, but was still approved for a comfortable credit line based on total income. 

The Bottom Line: Southwest Business Credit Card

For loyal Southwest airline customers, a Southwest Business Credit Card can be a great way to earn Rapid Rewards points for free flights along with other perks, and may help you qualify for A List status and even a Companion Pass. 

For those who are not likely to fly Southwest Airlines often, other cards may be more valuable. You may want to consider a business card cobranded to the airline you fly the most. Examples include:

If you’re not particularly loyal to a specific airline but like to earn travel points, a card like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card can be an excellent choice. Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases-with no limit to the amount you can earn.. Chase Ultimate Rewards points which can be transferred to a variety of transfer partners, including Rapid Rewards, so you can then redeem them for flights on Southwest.

Another business travel credit card worth considering is the Capital One Spark Miles for Business that allows you to earn 2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere.. You can transfer miles to any of 15+ travel partners or redeem for  flights, hotels, vacation packages and more through Capital One Travel.

Although I’m still a fan of Southwest Airlines for my U.S.-based flights, my travel needs have changed. I’m no longer traveling frequently in the US for business, and I’m more interested in earning points I can use toward international flights. As a result, I now mainly use a business credit card associated with a different airline that gives me lots of international flight options. But if my travel habits change, I would absolutely consider a Southwest Business Credit Card again. 

*All information about the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card and  Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card has been collected independently by Nav. Terms apply; be sure to check with the card issuer for the latest offers. These cards are not currently available through Nav. To see what business credit cards are available, please visit the Nav Credit Card Marketplace.

**These bonus offers are available if you do not have that card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus for that card in the past 24 months. Offers may vary depending on where you apply, for example online or in a branch, and can change over time.

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