southwest airlines plane at gate

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. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Story highlights

New card holders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening the account

Points earned from the card and the sign-up bonus count toward the Southwest Companion Pass

The card also earns 6,000 bonus points on every card holder anniversary starting with the second year you have it

Our quick take: The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is a great way for business owners to earn Southwest points and get some Southwest benefits, though it doesn’t come with as many perks as the airline’s premium credit cards.

Pros:

  • Earn 3 points for every dollar you spend on Southwest purchases
  • Earn 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting purchases, and hotels and car rentals booked through the Rapid Rewards travel website
  • Earn 1 point per dollar for all other purchases
  • Earn 6,000 bonus points every year on your card holder anniversary, starting the second year you have the card
  • Two EarlyBird Check-In® credits per year
  • 25% back on in-flight purchases
  • $500 fee credit on point transfers each year
  • Earn tier-qualifying points toward Southwest A-List status
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons:

  • Not as many bonus points for purchases in common categories
  • Not as many travel protection benefits as other Chase credit cards
  • No introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers
  • $99 annual fee

Current sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months after opening the account.

Best for: Business owners who fly Southwest and are looking for a relatively cheap credit card to earn points toward Southwest flights and the opportunity to earn tier-qualifying points toward Southwest A-List status.

Digging into the Southwest Premier Business credit card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card is just $99 per year, making it the cheaper of the two Southwest business credit cards. It comes with some nice perks, including two EarlyBird Check-In credits, 25% back on in-flight purchases and no foreign transaction fees. You’ll also earn 6,000 bonus points (worth $84 toward Southwest Wanna Get Away fares) each year on your card holder anniversary starting with the second year you have the card, which alone almost offsets the card’s annual fee.

These benefits aren’t nearly as valuable as those found on the higher-end Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card. But if those extra perks aren’t necessary for your travel needs, this card will fit the bill, and it comes at a lower price.

One unique benefit of the Southwest Premier Business card is that all points earned with the card count toward the hard-to-beat Southwest Companion Pass. This includes points earned from the card’s sign-up bonus along with any money you spend on the card. So if you have a business that spends a pretty penny on expenses, there’s a good chance you can earn the Companion Pass in no time from just your regular credit card purchases.

If you aren’t familiar with the Southwest Companion Pass, it offers the opportunity for a friend or family member to fly with you for free (plus taxes and fees) an unlimited number of times during the life of the pass. You can think of it as an ongoing buy-one-get-one deal that’ll allow someone to travel with you for almost nothing. The pass doesn’t have to be used solely for business travel — you can use it for any travel you take on Southwest — and the pass expires Dec. 31 in the year after it’s earned, meaning a pass earned now wouldn’t expire until the end of 2023.

Normally, to get a Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll need to earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, but the current 60,000-point bonus on the Southwest Premier Business card would get you almost halfway there. You could then earn the remaining qualifying points by spending on the card, or through partner activity such as using the Southwest shopping portal or booking car rentals and hotel stays with Southwest Rapid Rewards. But keep in mind, starting 2023, Southwest is bumping up the requirements to 135,000 qualifying points. However, if you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, you’ll receive a 10,000 point boost.

Points earned on the Southwest Premier Business never expire and you’ll never have to worry about blackout dates or seat restrictions when redeeming your points. The number of points required to redeem for a flight is directly tied to the cost of the ticket, so a low-cost ticket means fewer points are required for that flight. Southwest also doesn’t charge any fees when changing or canceling a ticket booked with points, so if your plans change, Southwest’s flexible policies make it very easy.

Advantages of the Southwest Premier Business credit card

You can use the Southwest Premier Business credit card to earn elite status without even flying.

The Southwest Premier Business card comes with several perks that will appeal to small-business owners who use the airline regularly. The card includes two EarlyBird Check-In credits per year. EarlyBird Check-In is normally an add-on option that automatically checks you in to your flight prior to the 24-hour check-in window.

Since Southwest doesn’t offer assigned seats, a better boarding position allows you to board the plane prior to those who didn’t purchase EarlyBird Check-In, thus allowing you to pick a more preferred seat. For busy business travelers, this means you don’t need to worry about checking in on your own and receiving a better boarding position. EarlyBird Check-In normally costs between $15 and $25 per flight.

Additionally, putting your business expenses on the Southwest Premier Business card can help you earn Southwest A-List or A-List Preferred elite status. With every $10,000 in purchases on the card, you’ll earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs). A-List status requires earning 35,000 TQPs, while you’d need to earn 70,000 TQPs to get A-List Preferred status.

There’s no longer a cap to the amount of TQPs you can earn, so theoretically, you could earn status without stepping foot on a Southwest plane. But we wouldn’t suggest shifting business spend over to this card solely to earn status. More likely, you’d want to combine TQPs earned on the Southwest Premier Business with those earned from flying on Southwest. If you’re a business traveler who’s on the road often, having A-List status can definitely make your travel experience that much better.

Other perks of being a Southwest Premier Business card holder include a $500 annual fee credit for transferring points between Southwest Rapid Reward accounts per year, 25% back on in-flight purchases, shopping protection benefits and no foreign transaction fees.

Disadvantages of the Southwest Premier Business credit card

Points earned with the Southwest Premier Business card aren't typically as valuable as other credit card points.

Aside from the opportunity to earn a Southwest Companion Pass — which is admittedly a huge perk — the points earned with the Southwest Premier Business card are relatively low. You’ll earn 3 points for every dollar you spend at Southwest and 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting purchases (including ride-shares) and hotels and car rentals booked through the Rapid Rewards travel website, then 1 point per dollar on everything else.

That 1 point per dollar includes many categories that typically earn bonus points on other credit cards, such as travel (aside from Southwest), dining out, gas, advertising and office supplies. Since Southwest points are worth around 1.4 cents apiece when redeemed for the airline’s Wanna Get Away fares, you’re effectively only earning a 1.4% return on these purchases. That’s pretty low, especially since there are many business credit cards out there with the same annual fee or less that can earn a 2% return or more in these categories.

For example, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earns 3 points per dollar on up to $150,000 spent each year in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines, and then 1 point per dollar thereafter and on all other purchases. And frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a higher 2 cents apiece, meaning you can effectively earn a 6% return in these categories.

Plus, since Southwest is a partner airline with Chase, you can even transfer any points earned with the Ink Business Preferred directly to your Southwest account at a 1-to-1 rate, or you can choose to use your points elsewhere since Chase has 14 total airline and hotel partners in its program. The one thing to note is that points transferred from Chase to Southwest don’t count as qualifying points when it comes to earning a Southwest Companion Pass.

If you want a pure cash back business credit card, the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card is a great option. With this card, you’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. And if you have a premium Chase credit card — one that allows you to transfer points directly to partner programs — you can ultimately transfer your rewards earned with the Ink Business Unlimited directly to Southwest, just as you can with the Ink Business Preferred.

Another downside of the Southwest Premier Business is that you won’t receive the same travel protection benefits that come with many other Chase business credit cards. While the Southwest Premier Business offers some handy benefits, such as auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage insurance and travel accident insurance, it doesn’t include more premium benefits, such as trip delay insurance or trip cancellation/interruption insurance.

Stacking up the Southwest Premier Business credit card to our benchmark card

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 Premier 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 is 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.

KEY DETAILS
Citi Double Cash Card Southwest Premier Business Card
Card type Mastercard Visa
Sign-up bonus None Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months after opening the account
REWARDS
Earning rate 2% on all purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay it off) 3 points per dollar on all Southwest purchases, 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
Redemption value 1 cent (cash back) 1.4 cents per point when redeeming for “Wanna Get Away” fares
Ease of basicredemptions Easy Easy
Advanced redemption options Can transfer ThankYou points to 16 partners if you also have the Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige® Card None
Quality of advanced redemptions Good N/A
FEES
Annual fee $0 $99
Foreign transaction fee 3% None
BENEFITS AND PROTECTIONS
Travel perks None Two Early Bird Check-In credits per year, 25% back on in-flight purchases
Purchase protections None Purchase protection, Extended warranty
Travel protections None Auto rental collision damage waiver (secondary), Lost luggage reimbursement, Baggage delay insurance, Travel accident insurance
Other perks None 6,000 points on each card holder anniversary (starting with your second year), 1,500 tier-qualifying points toward Southwest A-List or A-List Preferred status for every $10,000 spent on the card, $500 fee credit for points transfers per year
INTEREST RATES ON PURCHASES AND BALANCE TRANSFERS
Introductory APR on purchases None None
Length of introductory APR on purchases N/A N/A
Introductory APR on balance transfers 0% None
Length of Introductory APR on balance transfers 18 months N/A
Introductory balance transfer fee 3% or $5, whichever is greater N/A
APR after intro period ends/standard APR 17.74%-27.74% variable 19.74%-26.74% variable

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.

Other credit cards similar to the Southwest Premier Business credit card

Within the Southwest family, there are actually five different credit cards — three personal and two business — so there are four other Southwest cards to consider.

If you’re looking for a Southwest business card that’ll provide you with more benefits, you might want to take a look at the Southwest Performance Business card. With this card, you’ll earn more points in bonus categories, and get increased anniversary points along with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee credit, four upgraded boardings per year and in-flight Wi-Fi credits.

Or, if you’re looking for a personal Southwest credit card, you might consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card — Southwest’s mid-tier personal credit card. The benefits on the Southwest Premier are very similar to the Southwest Premier Business, with a few exceptions, and with the same $99 annual fee. Check our CNN Underscored’s complete review of the Southwest Premier credit card for more information.

Should you get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card?

If you have a small business and you can spend enough on your business credit card to earn a Southwest Companion Pass — and you don’t need all of the other benefits that come with the higher-end Southwest credit cards — then the Southwest Premier Business card is a great option to consider. Being able to have a friend or family member fly with you for free (plus taxes and fees) for over a year is huge and will save you a ton of money on your Southwest travel, and could be a great reward for all the purchases your business makes on its credit card.

Learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card.

Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best credit cards available right now.

Get all the latest personal finance deals, news and advice at CNN Underscored Money.