Southwest Airlines is one of the most popular domestic airlines in the United States. They also have several co-branded credit cards with Chase because of such popularity. Southwest and Chase released the Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card in June 2019 to much acclaim.
The Southwest Performance card is aimed at businesspeople who frequently fly on Southwest. It has a $199 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) and a very attractive sign-up bonus. Furthermore, it has some of best earning opportunities and perks of any Southwest card.
The Southwest Performance Card is a nice earner and the best of the Southwest card lineup. It earns 3x Rapid Rewards points per dollar on Southwest Airlines purchases. Also, it earns 2x points on internet, cable, and phone services as well as social media and search engine advertising. Furthermore, it also earns one point per dollar on non-bonus spend. This is a great earning structure for many businesses, especially those whose personnel fly Southwest. Its also far better than the personal Southwest Premier card, despite having about twice the annual fee.
The Southwest Performance card also comes with a sign-up bonus worth 80,000 Rapid Rewards points. You will earn the points after spending $5,000 within the first three months. This is an attractive bonus because you will be very close to earning a Southwest Companion Pass for one year. The pass is worth 110,000 points.
Furthermore, the Performance Card comes with an anniversary bonus worth 9,000 points. This bonus comes each year when you pay the $199 annual fee. It’s also enough points to justify half of the annual fee, assuming a valuation of 1 cent apiece (CPP). However, many people value Southwest Rapid Rewards points higher. This means that the anniversary bonus can justify more than half of the annual fee. Exactly how much depends on how you value the points. You’re mileage may vary.
This is the most valuable and easy way to redeem Rapid Rewards points. Southwest does not publish an award chart online. Instead, you must go to their website and enter the dates you would like to travel. They will then show a list of flights and how much they cost in points and cash.
Wanna Get Away fares are the least expensive of the bunch while Business Select tickets are the most expensive. However, the cost of your award ticket is tied to the cash price of the flight. That means there is no need to worry about getting the highest possible redemption value.
Southwest lets you redeem Rapid Rewards points in other ways too. Merchandise, gift cards, and hotel stays are some of the other ways to redeem points. Your mileage may vary here as these options will often net you less than 1 CPP in value.
Southwest also gives you the option to redeem points for hotels, car rentals, or experiences. However, any of these options will provide you at most 1 CPP in value. I would rather pay cash or use another type of points to redeem for such expenses.
Co-branded cards commonly come with benefits that will make traveling easier. The Southwest Performance Card is no exception as it comes some nice perks. However, the card does not come with any luxury perks such as lounge access. That’s because Southwest is a low-cost carrier.
Free Checked Bags
Southwest will give you your first two checked bags for free from having the card. Assuming a value of $50 per bag, just two checked bags per year will justify half the card’s annual fee.
Southwest will also give you four complimentary upgraded boardings (upgraded seats) per year for having the Performance card. Note that the boardings may only be purchased at the departure gate or ticket counter on the day you travel only.
Free Cancellation and Fare Changes
This benefit lets you cancel or alter your plane tickets for no additional cost. Many other airlines have cancellation or fare change fees and they charge people who need to cancel.
Furthermore, Southwest will give you back your points if you used points to book a flight and you need to cancel or change. This is nice because many airlines don’t do this either.
Pre-TSA / Global Entry Fee Waiver Credit
This perk is commonplace among premium cards, but it’s also there on some mid-tier cards. The Southwest Performance Card is one of the mid-tier cards with this benefit, which saves you up to $100 depending on which program you pick.
In-Flight Wi-Fi Credits
Southwest provides you with 365 in-flight wi-fi credits per year with the Performance Card. These credits are valued at $8 each. That’s one credit per day for every day of the year (except for leap years).
This is a very nice perk that you don’t see on too many business cards. I love it because of how many credits you will receive and its uniqueness. Sole proprietors and small businesses could maximize this perk because there are fewer people who would be able to use it.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Save 3% with the Southwest Performance Card when you use it to travel outside the United States.
Check out one of the following cards if the Southwest Performance Card is not for you:
Chase Ink Business Preferred
The Chase Ink Business Preferred is the most comparable card to the Southwest Performance. Moreover, it’s a better option for business travelers who are not loyal to a certain airline or hotel. Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points that it earns can be transferred to Southwest.
The Ink Business Preferred earns one UR point on non-bonus spend and 3x UR points on the following categories:
- General Travel
- Cable & TV Services
- Internet Services
- Phone Services
- Social Media and Search Engine Advertising Purchases
There is a limit of $150,000 per year across all categories. That means you can earn up to 450,000 UR points per year if you spend within the categories. Chase has a broad list of what includes travel. Their list includes airfare, hotel stays, a car rental, and toll road fees. This is the same list for qualifying purchases as the Chase Sapphire cards.
The Ink Business Preferred earns more points on more categories than the Southwest Performance Card does. Therefore, it’s a better all-around earner.
The Ink Business Preferred also comes with a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) and a sign-up bonus worth 80,000 UR points. This bonus can be obtained by spending $5,000 within the first three months. It also comes with a slew of benefits and travel insurances that the Southwest Performance Card does not come with.
Chase Southwest Priority Card
This card is the personal equivalent to the Southwest Performance Card. But the Performance Card is better even for individual consumers.
The Southwest Priority Card earns just 2x Rapid Rewards points per dollar on Southwest purchases and one for non-bonus spend. This earning structure is standard among personal Southwest cards and it pales in comparison to the Performance Card.
The Priority Card has a lower $149 annual fee (NOT waived the first year). But it comes with an anniversary bonus worth 7,500 Rapid Rewards points. The card also comes with an annual $75 Southwest credit. These two perks together should be enough to justify the Priority Card’s annual fee.
The Priority Card also comes with the same other perks as the Performance Card. The exceptions are the Wi-Fi Credits and Global Entry / Pre-TSA fee waiver credit. You will also receive Four Upgraded Boardings (upgraded seats) per year.
The Southwest Performance Card is the better card for Southwest loyalists. However, the Priority Card is a great alternative for those who don’t qualify for a business card.
The Southwest Performance Business Card is the best of the bunch Southwest loyalists and many travelers. It comes with useful perks such as the wi-fi credits and free checked bags that will save cardholders money. The Performance card’s sign-up bonus can also be a way to obtain the Southwest Companion Pass.
For $199 per year, this is a great card for Southwest loyalists and businesspeople who fly Southwest often. I am also impressed that it’s a better earner than any of the personal Southwest cards.
Apply Today: Chase Southwest Performance Business Card