CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. Sometimes we receive a commission through The Points Guy affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective.
Southwest just released an elevated offer that's even better than the recently expired one on its personal credit cards. This time, though, it's on one of the airline's business credit cards.
With the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, right now you can earn up to 100,000 bonus points — 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months, plus an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. This is the highest public offer we've ever seen on any Southwest credit card.
Southwest's points are consistently worth about 1.5 cents per point when redeeming them for the airline's lowest "Wanna Get Away" fares. That means with the bonus alone, you can get as much as $1,500 in Southwest travel.
Not only will you earn a ton of points with this offer, it's perfect for earning the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. To get the pass, you need to earn 125,000 qualifying Southwest points within a calendar year. Since the airline counts all Southwest credit card points toward the Companion Pass — including sign-up offers and regular spending on the card — hitting the full offer on this particular card will earn you exactly 125,000 points.
The Southwest Companion Pass allows a companion to fly with you for free (plus taxes) for the rest of the year it's earned, plus the entire following year. So if you earn the pass now, you can use it an unlimited number of times until December 31, 2021.
Benefits of the Southwest Performance Business card
Aside from earning a massive number of points along with the Southwest Companion Pass, this card also comes with many other benefits, which regular Southwest flyers will find extremely useful:
• Upgraded boarding positions
Southwest has a different type of seat assignment policy than most other airlines. There are actually no assigned seats. Instead, the carrier has an open seating policy where you pick your preferred seat upon boarding the plane. Your boarding position, which you get when you check in for your flight, determines when you board the plane. All passengers receive somewhere between an A1 and C60 boarding position, with A1 being first to board and C60 being last.
With the Southwest Performance Business card, you get four upgraded boarding positions per year to use on Southwest flights. This means you can purchase an A1-15 boarding position at the gate (if available) — giving you the opportunity to board the plane before most other passengers — and you'll receive a statement credit for the amount charged.
Purchasing an upgraded boarding position normally costs between $30 and $50, so this benefit is worth $120 to $200 per year.
• Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
Similar to many other popular credit cards such as the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, the Southwest Performance Business card will also reimburse you for either your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, up to $100 once every four years. Just pay for your application using your Southwest Performance Business card, and if you're approved, you'll be on your way to receiving expedited access at TSA security checkpoints in the U.S. and quicker re-entry into the country with Global Entry after traveling abroad.
And even if you already have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you can use this benefit for a friend or family member who doesn't have it. Just use your card to pay for their application fee — the names don't have to match.
• In-flight Wi-Fi credits
If you like to have Wi-Fi when you're flying, this benefit can be a huge money saver. With the Southwest Performance Business card, you can get complimentary Wi-Fi on essentially every Southwest flight you take. All you have to do is pay for your in-flight Southwest Wi-Fi with your card, and you'll receive a statement credit for the charge.
Theoretically, you're limited to 365 statement credits per year. But for most travelers, that should be more than enough. Other passengers traveling with you can also take advantage of this perk, as there's no cap on the number of credits you can use each day. For example, my husband and I recently flew Southwest to Salt Lake City, and we both used my Southwest Performance Business credit card to pay for the onboard Wi-Fi. Both of our charges were credited, meaning we were both able to utilize complimentary Wi-Fi on the same flight.
The value of this benefit is entirely based on the number of Southwest flights you typically take each year. If you fly once every three months with a companion, that equates to eight round-trip flights per year. With Southwest Wi-Fi typically costing $8 each way, that's a savings of $64 per year.
What if I don't have a business?
Even if you're not a huge corporation, you may still be eligible to get a business credit card. That's because you might already have a business and not even know it. If you're a ride-share driver, or you sell products online, or even if you just have a side hustle that you do in your spare time — basically, if you participate in the "gig economy" at all, you may very well have a business as a sole proprietor.
If that's you, you can legitimately apply for a Southwest business credit card using your own name and Social Security number instead of a company Employer Identification Number. And if your business is new, don't let that dissuade you — just be honest about your business and personal income on the application, and the fact that you've only been in business for a short while.
Should you consider the Southwest Performance Business card?
If your main goal is to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, then this is a card you should definitely consider as long as you can spend enough to meet the minimum spending requirements. However, do not spend more money than you would otherwise just to get the bonus points or Companion Pass. It's a great perk, but it loses its value if you pay any interest at all because you spent more than you could afford.
But even if you're only comfortable spending $5,000 on purchases within 3 months, the 70,000 bonus points you'll earn for it will still put you more than halfway toward earning the pass, and it's a better offer than any of the other Southwest credit cards right now.
And even if you're not interested in the Southwest Companion Pass, this Southwest Performance Business bonus offer is still a great way to increase your Southwest Rapid Rewards account balance and receive benefits that far surpass the card's $199 annual fee. In just the first year, you'll receive a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee waiver valued at up to $100, four upgraded boarding positions worth a minimum of $120 and complimentary Wi-Fi up to 365 times a year. Taking all those benefits into consideration along with up to $1,500 in Southwest travel you can get from the sign-up offer, you'll see that this card has a lot to offer.
Learn more about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card.
Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as its "Best credit cards of 2020."
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.