Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card Reviews - Ideal For You?
Chase’s Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business is an airline rewards business credit card that gives you 60,000 frequent flier miles as a bonus, along with two different ways to earn miles through everyday spending.
Along with these rewards, the card has some excellent extra perks and benefits that you’ll enjoy if you decide to use this card for your business.
While the card has its definite strengths, there are some weaknesses that we’ll detail later in this review.
To give you a sense of where this card is valuable and where it may lag behind similar airline rewards business cards, we’re going to provide you with our analysis of its rewards, benefits, and rates and fees. Then, we’ll compare it to other airline cards for business owners.
A Quick Word About “Business” Credit Cards
We called Chase to verify what’s required for an application for this card. The phone rep told us that all business card applications must include the tax ID number your local treasury offices issued you when you registered your business with them.
However, our test of the Southwest Premier Business’ application shows that you can apply as a sole proprietor and provide a social security number as your tax ID number. We made another call to Chase and laid out a scenario in which someone could lie about owning a business just to get the card’s rewards.
We were told that Chase doesn’t want people lying through their application just to get the card. In fact, in the fine print, Chase says that by signing up for a business card you’re acknowledging that you’re using the card for business purposes and not “personal, family or household purposes.”
The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card’s Rewards
This card has three main ways for you to earn “rewards”. These rewards come in the form of Rapid Rewards frequent flier miles, which is the Southwest loyalty program you’ll use to cash in your miles for free flights.
If you don’t have a Rapid Rewards account when you apply for the card, Southwest will give you one when you’re approved. If you already have an account, you’ll enter your account number on the application so you can link the account to your card.
The first way you can earn Rapid Rewards frequent flyer miles is by spending $3,000 in the first three months of owning the card you’ll get 60,000 points. Chase offers a consumer version of this card whose bonuses range from 40,000 to 50,000 points, so the 60,000 offer is a substantial one.
Based on our research, we believe it will be very easy for you to hit the $3,000 spending mark. Once you do, it can take up to eight weeks for those bonus points to arrive in your Rapid Rewards account. Don’t make the mistake of believing the miles will appear as soon as you spend $3,000.
The second way to earn points is to use your card to make purchases. When you do, you’ll earn 2 points for every dollar you spend with Southwest and 1-point-per-dollar on everything else.
The 2x bonus on Southwest purchases isn’t limited to buying flights from the airline. In reality, you get double the points for flights as well as the following types of purchases from Southwest:
- In-flight purchases
- Southwest gift cards
- Vacation packages purchased from Southwest
- Rapid Rewards hotel partners
- Rapid Rewards car rental partners
The 2x bonus you get from these various options could be well worth keeping your travel booking in-house with Southwest.
The third and final way you can earn Rapid Rewards points is an easy one. Chase will give you 6,000 free points on your cardmember anniversary.
If you spend $30,000 a year on your card and about $2,000 of that on travel, we believe the three different avenues for earning Rapid Rewards points can get you about 38,000 points a year.
During the course of our research, we’ve found that, in many cases, you can find round-trip flights on Southwest for less than 20,000 miles. The typical industry average for a rewards seat is 25,000 miles, so the Southwest business card has the distinct advantage of making your miles go farther than just about any other mainstream business airline rewards card.
A Quick Word About “Tier Qualifying Points”
One other lesser-known reward you get with this card is 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $10,000 you spend on the card.
If you can earn enough of these points, you’ll automatically get A-List status with Southwest, which is their version of a high-end perks club for their frequent flyers. A-List members get the following list of benefits, per the airline’s website:
- Priority check-in
- Priority security where available
- Free same-day standby
- 25% TQP bonus on all flights
You’ll have to rack up 35,000 TQP’s in a year or 25 one-way flights to get A-List status. Southwest caps the 1,500-point bonus you get for every $10,000 at 15,000 points, which means you can’t get the A-List upgrade based on your spending. You’ll have to earn the remaining miles by paying for tickets on Southwest flights. Each paid ticket affords you a certain amount of TQP’s.
A-List Preferred status is the other tier in this program and is yours if you can earn 70,000 TQP’s or make 50 one-way flights on Southwest. The main advantage to this tier is that you get a 100% bonus on TQP’s you earn from flights instead of 25%.
The Card's Benefits
Most airline business cards you get will give you complimentary priority check-in, boarding and one free bag. The United, Delta and American Airlines cards are good examples of this.
The Southwest card doesn’t offer those benefits, as they’re only available through their A-List and A-List Preferred program.
However, keep in mind that Southwest is considered a budget airline and, as such, you get budget benefits from the card.
The main “benefits” you and everyone else get on travel days is two free checked bags and no fees if you have to change your flight.
The card comes with a small group of purchased-based protections you can take advantage of. We’ll list them here and then explain it:
- Lost luggage coverage
- Baggage delay coverage
- Extended warranty
- Purchase protection
The lost luggage and baggage delay coverages protect you in the event that the airline loses your luggage or your baggage is delayed on a flight you purchased with your Southwest business card.
The extended warranty benefit adds an extra year to the manufacturer's warranty on items you purchase with your card.
Also, most items you buy with your Southwest card that are damaged or stolen may be eligible for a reimbursement of up to $10,000.
Rates and Fees
Whereas this card’s rewards have a lot of value for flights – you could get three round-trips with your sign-up bonus – its interest rates and fees could cost you a lot of money in the long run. The following series of bullet points highlight the card’s most important features:
- APR for purchases and balance transfers: 17.99% - 24.99%
- Cash advance APR: 26.99%
- Penalty APR: 29.99%
- Cash advance/balance transfer fee: 5%
- Late/returned payments: $39
- Annual fee: $99
This card’s interest rates are what you can expect for business cards. You can avoid the rates by never carrying a balance, never taking out a cash advance and always paying on time.
If you carry a balance or take out a cash advance, you’ll pay an APR between 17.99% to 26.99%. If you make a single late payment, Chase could apply a 29.99% APR to your account indefinitely.
The card’s annual fee is about average, too, for business airline rewards cards.
How the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card Compares to Other Cards
We like to compare cards to each other to show you the variety of rewards, rates and fees that you have to choose from. The following chart focuses on the important aspects of the Southwest business card and three other business airline cards:
|Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business||AmEx Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business||Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Business||CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select|
|Sign-up bonus||60,000 points||50,000 miles||50,000 miles||70,000 miles|
|Yearly rewards||38,000 points||52,000 miles||57,000 miles||47,000 miles|
|Free checked bag?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Status upgrade points?||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Annual fee||$99||$195||$0 1st year, $95 after||$0 1st year, $99 after|
In this chart, we’ve included the American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles, the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Business and the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select (American Airlines) to help you see how the Southwest card compares to a car with a high annual fee (AmEx) and a similar annual fee (Chase/Citi).
The Citi card has the biggest sign-up bonus and the United card provides more yearly rewards based on $30,000 in spending. Your yearly rewards will fluctuate depending on how your business spends money but, in most cases, the United card will give you the most rewards because it provides a 2x bonus for restaurants, gas, United purchases and office supply stores.
As far as benefits go, the Southwest card trails behind the others because it doesn’t provide you automatic priority boarding or a free companion ticket. The card does provide the chance to earn status upgrade points but those point come at a much slower rate than what you’d get with the AmEx Platinum Delta card.
APR and annual fee are two more weak spots for the Southwest card. The AmEx and Citi cards have better APR’s and both the United and Citi cards waive your annual fee the first year.
The main benefit that the Southwest card has over the other three cards is that Southwest’s rewards seats are cheaper than Delta, United and American, in most cases. Also, you get two free checked bags per flight, whereas the other cards offer you one.
The Final Word: How You Can Use This Card to Your Advantage?
Using the Chase Southwest card for your business will be most effective if you either already fly Southwest frequently or you plan on flying Southwest. This observation, while simple, points to the fact that only Southwest purchases get points while the United business card gives you double points in four different spending categories.
Also, this card will have tremendous value if you frequently travel with two bags. While getting two free bags is a perk for all Southwest fliers and not just those with the Premier Business card, it is worth mentioning considering that the other three cards in the chart we presented only offer one free bag.
If you fly four times a month with two bags, the Southwest card can save you around $200 a year in baggage fees alone.
Finally, think about the level of luxury you expect when you fly. If you don’t mind boarding in the main cabin, the Southwest card will most likely make you happy because what you sacrifice in boarding priority you make up for in rewards fares that tend to be cheaper than Delta, United and American’s.