Review: The Southwest Performance Business card offers valuable frequent-flyer perks - and you can currently earn the Companion Pass with its sign-up bonus
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
- The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card is currently offering an increased sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 points.
- You'll earn 70,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months, and another 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 in the first six months.
- If you meet both tiers of the minimum spending requirements, you'll earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets you bring along a friend on all your Southwest flights for just the cost of taxes and fees.
- The card's perks include upgraded boardings and in-flight Wi-Fi credits on Southwest. You'll earn 3x points on Southwest purchases, and 2x points on several categories popular for small businesses.
- See Business Insider's list of the best airline credit cards.
If you own a small business and regularly fly on Southwest Airlines, you should know about the Southwest Performance Business credit card. The premium business card, issued by Chase, features a combination of benefits and rewards that make it a great choice for frequent flyers on Southwest who want an upgraded travel experience.
The card recently saw its bonus increase - it's currently offering up to an impressive 100,000 points, though you have to meet quite a spending hurdle to get there. The card requires a $199 annual fee, but the combination of rewards and benefits could make that well worth it to some business owners. Here's a look at the details to decide if it's the right card for you.
Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.
Southwest Performance Business card details
Annual fee: $199
Sign-up bonus: Up to 100,000 points - earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months, and another 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 in the first six months
Points earning: 3x points on Southwest purchases, 2x points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services, 1 point per dollar on everything else
Southwest benefits: 4 upgraded boardings per year, in-flight Wi-Fi credits, 9,000 points each year after your cardmember anniversary
Southwest Performance Business card sign-up bonus
First things first: the Southwest Performance Business card's sign-up bonus. New customers can earn a bonus of up to 100,000 points after meeting minimum requirements. Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth about 1.5 cents each. They could be worth a little more or less depending on the type of fare you choose, but assuming a value of 1.5 cents each, the bonus is worth about $1,500 in travel on Southwest.
You earn the first 70,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. You'll earn another 30,000 bonus points after a total of $25,000 in purchases in the first six months.
While many businesses will easily reach the $1,667 per month in average purchases for the 70,000-point bonus, earning the second tier of the bonus requires an average of $4,167 in monthly purchases. That's a tall order depending on the type of business you run. But if you do it, you'll end up with at least 125,000 points in the end - 100,000 from the bonus and 25,000 from purchases. That's enough to qualify for the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.
The Companion Pass allows you to choose one favorite travel buddy to bring along for free on any flight. You'll just pay $5.60 in government-imposed taxes and fees each way. You can change it three times per year at most. It works for both paid fares and award bookings.
Earn Rapid Rewards points with every purchase
Outside of the bonus, the Southwest Performance Business card rewards business owners with Southwest points for every purchase. You'll earn 3 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, and 2x points for social media and search engine advertising purchases as well as internet, cable, and phone service purchases. You get 1x everywhere else.
The general purchase rewards rate isn't very exciting, but earning 2x for online advertising and telecom purchases could be quite lucrative if you spend heavily in those areas. Plus, if you fly on Southwest regularly or send employees on trips using Southwest, you'll earn a lot of points at the 3x rate.
Benefits when traveling with Southwest
For $199 per year, you can expect some decent benefits from the Southwest Performance Business card. This one offers the following perks for Southwest travel:
- 9,000 bonus points every year after card anniversary
- Four upgraded boardings per where when available
- In-flight Wi-Fi credits (up to 365 credits per year)
The card also lets you earn up to 15,000 tier-qualifying points (TQPs) per year toward A-List status with Southwest - you'll earn 1,500 TQPs for every $10,000 you spend, up to $100,000 in purchases annually. You need 35,000 qualifying points for A-List, which includes priority access lanes, priority boarding, a boost on rewards points, and free same-day standby.
The value of these benefits can vary depending on how often you fly Southwest per year. The 9,000 bonus points are worth about $135. Wi-Fi credits are worth $8 each. Boarding upgrades cost $30 to $50 each. When you add it all up, even without the rewards points you earn with each purchase, it's easy to break even on the $199 annual fee.
General purchase and travel benefits
The most obvious value comes from the statement credit for up to $100 to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. TSA Trusted Traveler Program memberships last five years, which makes this worth $20 per year for the high-priced Global Entry program, which includes all of the benefits of TSA PreCheck. The lower-priced TSA PreCheck membership alone costs $85 every five years.
Travel coverage includes lost luggage reimbursement and baggage delay insurance. When traveling outside of the US, this card has no foreign transaction charge. For purchases, the card features extended warranty protection and purchase protection benefits.
Other cards to consider
If you're looking for a card with a lower annual fee or don't want to lock yourself in with Southwest, here are some alternate cards to consider:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card ($99 annual fee): This business card for Southwest has a lower annual fee. However, rewards and benefits are lower, too.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card ($95 annual fee): This card is best for people who don't want to be stuck with one airline. The Chase Ultimate Rewards points it earns are great for flights on most airlines (you can even transfer them to Southwest) as well as most hotels, rental cars, and other travel.
- Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business ($95 annual fee that's waived the first year): This card makes it easy to and redeem rewards, with a flat 2x miles rate on most purchases (you get more when booking travel through Capital One Travel) and the option to reimburse yourself for past travel purchases at a rate of 1 mile = 1 cent.
- American Express® Business Gold Card ($295 annual fee): While it has a higher annual fee, this card offers premium Amex Membership Rewards points good for travel with most airlines and hotels. It has a higher rewards rate on categories where your business spends most.
Is this the right card for your business?
Southwest is a competitively priced airline with a cult following. Thanks to the friendly staff, free checked bags, open seating, and generally good customer experience, many loyal travelers won't fly on any other airline. There are no blackout dates. You can use rewards to the maximum value on any available flight.
When you add in the sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 points and the opportunity to earn the Companion Pass, this offer is tough to beat. You could easily turn this card's $199 annual fee into thousands of dollars in free and discounted travel.
Earn up to 100,000 points: Click here to learn more about the Southwest Performance card »
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.
Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.