Southwest Performance Business credit card review: A welcome bonus worth $3,000+ in flights
With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card, you can earn a welcome bonus offer of up to 100,000 Southwest points — far more than any other Southwest card. The airline is a favorite with flyers thanks to its great customer service, no change fees and free checked-bag policies. Now, there is a larger-than-ever intro bonus worth at least $1,500 in Southwest flights, based on MMS valuations of Southwest points value. But I’ll show you why you can expect up to $3,750 in value after you complete the card’s tiered spending requirements.
Apply for the Southwest Performance Business card here.
Although this is a business card, you don’t need to own a large corporation to qualify. Mowing lawns, reselling items on eBay, tutoring or any number of things you do outside your full-time job can qualify you as a business owner to become eligible for this card. The Southwest Performance Business even makes our list of the best airline credit cards.
Who is the Southwest Performance Business card for?
Southwest is perfect for flying domestically and to tropical destinations around the Caribbean and Mexico. It’s also excellent for anyone who finds themselves with lots of checked bags, like families or athletes with gear, as the airline allows each traveler to bring two checked bags for free. Read our Southwest Rapid Rewards review.
If you’re a small-business owner who flies Southwest, the Southwest Performance Business card is one of the best cards you can get. Note that it’s issued by Chase, so it is subject to some application rules, such as the 5/24 rule. Chase will not approve you for most of their cards if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (not counting Chase business cards and certain other business cards) in the past 24 months.
Yes, this is a business card — but you do not need to own a large business to qualify. And you’re eligible even if you have the other Southwest business card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card.
Here’s our guide on how to complete a Chase business credit card application.
- 70,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
- 30,000 additional bonus points after spending $25,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening
Southwest points value tends to stick around 1.5 cents each toward Southwest flights. That means this 100,000 point bonus is worth $1,500. But after you complete spending requirements, you’ll have 125,000 Southwest points, which will give you ~$1,875 in free flights. That’s more than enough to justify the card’s $199 annual fee. But that’s not even the best part. Read on!
Benefits and perks
Southwest Companion Pass
One of the more common ways of earning the Southwest Companion Pass is by accumulating 125,000 Southwest points in a calendar year. After meeting the minimum spending requirement for the welcome bonus on the Southwest Performance Business Card, you’ll have at least 125,000 qualifying Southwest points, and you’ll immediately earn the Companion Pass.
Once you earn the Companion Pass, you can take a friend or family member with you every single time you fly Southwest (through December 31, 2021). There’s no limit to how many times you can use the pass, so it can literally save you thousands of dollars. For instance, I used my pass to buy tickets for my wife and me to various destinations like Mexico, Chicago and Philadelphia — we saved $1,000+ last year alone.
Here’s more about how to use the Southwest Companion Pass.
TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
The Southwest Performance Business card offers up to $100 in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit every four years. With TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, you’ll skip long airport lines and save a ton of time when you travel. And if you already belong to one of these trusted-traveler programs, you can use this credit against the application fee when you renew your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership (they expire every five years).
Four upgraded boarding certificates per year
When available on your day of travel, you can buy upgraded boarding to positions A1 to A15 and be among the first to get on the plane. Just use your card for the upgrade (which costs $30, $40 or $50 depending on the flight) and you’ll receive a statement credit up to four times per cardmember year. That’s worth up to $200.
Inflight Wi-Fi credits
You’ll receive 365 $8 credits for purchases of Southwest inflight Wi-Fi. Fly Southwest 25 times a year and this perk alone pays for the annual fee.
9,000 anniversary points
Every year on your account anniversary, you’ll receive 9,000 Southwest points (worth ~$135 in Southwest airfare), which covers a good portion of the card’s annual fee.
Earn tier-qualifying points toward elite status
If you need more points to earn A-List or A-List Preferred elite status with Southwest, the Southwest Performance Business card card gets you 1,500 tier-qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 in purchases, up to $100,000 in spending annually (which equals 15,000 TQPs).
This could give you the boost you need if you’re just short of your qualifying-points threshold for the year. Having Southwest elite status means you get bonus points on paid flights, priority check-in and boarding and free same-day standby. A-List Preferred members also get free inflight Wi-Fi.
Additional employee cards at no extra cost
If you have employees, a good way to quickly rack up points is to have them use the card for all business expenses. These additional employee cards are free.
How to use points from the Southwest Performance Business card
With the Southwest Performance Business card, you can earn bonus points in a number of different categories:
- 3 Southwest points per dollar on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car purchases
- 2 Southwest points per dollar on social media and search advertising
- 2 Southwest points per dollar on internet, cable and phone service
- 1 Southwest point per dollar on everything else
- 9,000 Southwest points each cardmember anniversary
You can read our full guide for how to earn Southwest points here.
Using Southwest points is pretty straightforward. There’s no Southwest award chart — just find a flight on the Southwest website and as long as there are seats available, you can book it with cash or points.
A few things to know about Southwest points:
- Southwest points are typically worth about 1.5 cents each and award prices are based on the cash price of a flight
- Since they’re tied to the cash price, there are no blackout dates
Here’s an example of how to find and book a Southwest award flight:
Step 1. Enter your trip details on the Southwest home page
Head to Southwest.com and put in the details of your flight, including departure and arrival airports, travel dates and number of passengers.
Make sure you check the box for “Points” in the upper right-hand corner of the search box.
Step 2. Select the flight you want
Once you’ve entered the details of your trip, you’ll be given a page with available flights, along with their corresponding point costs.
One great thing about Southwest is they do not charge change fees. If you ever need to cancel a reservation altogether, the points you originally redeemed for the flight will simply be deposited back to your Southwest account.
Check out our post with ideas on the best ways to use Southwest points.
Is the annual fee worth it?
Absolutely yes. At $199, the Southwest Performance Business card has the highest annual fee of all of Chase Southwest cards but it has a ton of perks. Here’s a summary:
- The intro bonus alone is worth $1,500 based on our valuations.
- The intro bonus gets you halfway to the Companion Pass.
- Speed through the airport with a statement credit of up to $100 for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
- Receive four upgraded boarding certificates per year, worth up to $200.
- Get inflight Wi-Fi credits worth $8 per flight, up to 365 times per year (and save hundreds of dollars).
- Boost your progress toward Southwest elite status by earning tier-qualifying points.
- You’ll earn 9,000 bonus points each anniversary year, worth ~$135.
Chase small-business cards have superpowers.
Remember, Chase won’t approve you for most of their cards if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank in the last 24 months — not counting Chase business cards and certain other business cards. That’s right, as long as you’re under 5/24, you can still apply for this card and it won’t hurt your chances of being approved for any other Chase cards you want. Essentially, most business cards don’t count against Chase’s 5/24 rule.
Additionally, Chase will not approve you for multiple cards under the same brand (for example, you can’t hold two personal Southwest cards at once). However, this rule doesn’t apply to Chase small-business cards. Even if you have a Southwest personal credit card (and another Southwest small-business card), you can be approved for this card.
New cardmembers with the Southwest Performance Business card can earn a welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Southwest points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.
The welcome bonus alone is worth at least $1,500 in Southwest airfare (and much more if you utilize the Companion Pass regularly), which is more than enough to cover the card’s $199 annual fee. You’ll also get additional perks like 9,000 bonus points each account anniversary (worth ~$135), Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, inflight Wi-Fi credits and four upgraded boarding certificates per year.
The points earned from the welcome bonus also count toward the Southwest Companion Pass, for which you’ll qualify if you earn 125,000 Southwest points in a calendar year. It’s the best deal in travel because a friend or family member flies with you for nearly free (just pay taxes and fees) on paid and award tickets.
For the latest news, tips, and tricks to traveling cheap, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.