Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card Overview

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is the airline’s entry-level business credit card. It offers 3 points per dollar on Southwest Airlines purchases and 2 points per dollar on ride-hailing and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners. With an annual fee of $99, the Premier card is a great pick for thrifty Southwest loyalists. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½

*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Airline-specific credit cards aren’t often the first picks for travel credit cards since they tend to feature limited benefits that only apply to a specific airline.

However, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card can be a good choice for small-business owners with its lower annual fee and appealing bonus categories, allowing you to earn points on nearly all your expenses.

Approved applicants typically have credit scores above 740.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering the Southwest Premier Business card for your company.

Southwest Premier Business pros and cons

ProsCons
  • Bonus anniversary points each year
  • Two Early Bird Check-ins
  • Unlimited tier qualifying points
  • Credit for point transfer costs
  • Low annual fee

Southwest Premier Business welcome offer

Right now, new cardholders can earn up to 120,000 points: 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening and an additional 60,000 points after spending $15,000 in nine months.

According to TPG’s June 2024 valuations, this offer is worth $1,560. This is quite literally as good as it gets for the Southwest Premier Business card, based on the card’s offer history.

THE POINTS GUY

In addition to the points value, remember that sign-up bonuses from Southwest cards count toward Companion Pass qualification.

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Once earned, the Companion Pass is valid for the remainder of the year and the following year, so earning it as early into the calendar year as possible will help you receive the maximum benefit of the pass.

Related: How to use the Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest Premier Business benefits

The Southwest Premier Business card has a $99 annual fee and offers a fair share of perks that can make it a worthwhile card for occasional Southwest flyers.

Two Early Bird Check-Ins each year: Southwest does not assign seating but instead allows flyers to check in 24 hours before the flight to obtain their boarding position. The earlier you check in, the better the chances of snagging your preferred seat when you board. The Early Bird perk automatically checks you in 36 hours before your flight, 12 hours before flyers without the perk — and you’ll enjoy this perk twice per year with the card.

6,000 anniversary bonus points: On your account anniversary, Southwest will automatically award you 6,000 anniversary bonus points (worth up to $81, according to TPG’s June 2024 valuations). This alone effectively covers almost all of the card’s annual fee.

Status Boost: You will earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) per $5,000 spent on the Premier card in a year. This can help you earn A-List or A-List Preferred status faster.

KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Free employee cards: There are no fees for additional employee cards, and the original cardholder will earn points on employee spending. Business owners can contact cardmember services to put a spending limit on employee cards.

$500 fee credit for point transfers: Southwest will cover up to $500 in fees associated with point transfers each year. Transferring Rapid Rewards points to another member typically costs $10 per 1,000 points transferred, so you can transfer up to 50,000 points every year without paying additional fees (after Southwest’s reimbursement).

Southwest also provides benefits to all of its flyers, independent of whether they hold a credit card with the airline or not. These benefits include two free checked bags with every flight, no change fees (flyers do pay any applicable fare difference between the previous and current ticket) and free cancellations — though some tickets are nonrefundable and will be returned as flight credit.

Related: Why Southwest might be the best airline

Earning points on the Southwest Premier Business

The Southwest Premier Business card earns:

  • 3 points per dollar on Southwest Airlines purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2 points per dollar for local transit and commuting, including ride-hailing services
  • 1 point per dollar for all other eligible purchases
DAVID SLOTNICK/THE POINTS GUY

And for every $5,000 spent on the card within a calendar year, you will earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs). There is no limit on the number of TQPs you can earn — so you could (theoretically) spend your way to Southwest elite status without ever setting foot on a plane.Related: What is Southwest Airlines elite status worth?

Redeeming points on the Southwest Premier Business

The primary redemption option for Rapid Rewards points is Southwest-operated flights. Southwest follows a simple redemption process: The more expensive a flight is in cash, the more it will cost in points. There’s no outsize value to be had, but that ensures you get relatively consistent value for your rewards.

Redeeming Southwest points is as simple as booking Southwest flights online. Choose “Points” instead of “Dollars” when selecting the flight you want to book on the carrier’s website. You’ll then see the award pricing for your itinerary.

WESTEND61/GETTY IMAGES

Like all airlines’ award tickets, flights booked with Southwest points will still require payment for additional taxes and fees, which start at $5.60 per way. However, tickets booked with points are fully refundable, and there is no penalty for cancellations (as long as you do it at least 10 minutes before your scheduled departure time).

TPG credit cards editor Emily Thompson is a frequent Southwest flyer with several Southwest credit cards. She often tops up the points earned from her Southwest Premier Business by transferring additional points from her Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for flights.

The airline also offers international flights, hotels and car rentals on its travel portal, but the rates are subpar compared to using your points on Southwest-operated flights.

Related: How to redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards point

Which cards compete with the Southwest Premier Business?

If you want more benefits or more flexible rewards, one of these cards will be a better fit:

For additional options, please see our full list of best business and airline credit cards.

Related: Is the Southwest Premier Business worth the annual fee?

Bottom line

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card is a good option for a loyal Southwest flyer, especially with the opportunity to work toward a Companion Pass after earning the current welcome bonus.

However, its earning structure and ongoing benefits aren’t remarkable, so many business owners will find a better fit in a different card.


Apply here: Southwest Premier Business Card




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