Is the Southwest Premier Business worth the annual fee?

There are many reasons to love Southwest Airlines: free checked bags, no change fees and easy cancellation for maximum flexibility. If you’re a small-business owner who flies regularly and loves these unique Southwest perks, you’ve probably wondered whether a Southwest business card is right for you.

If you’ve been considering it, now is a great time to get the Southwest Premier Business Credit Card. It’s currently offering an impressive welcome bonus that could allow you to get a Companion Pass from the welcome bonus alone.

But beyond the welcome bonus, does the Southwest Premier Business have enough benefits to make it worth paying the $99 annual fee each year? Here’s what you need to know before adding it to your wallet.

Welcome bonus

Currently, the Southwest Premier Business card is offering a fantastic welcome bonus. You can earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening and an additional 60,000 points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first nine months. This offer ends Aug. 28.


TPG values these 120,000 bonus points at $1,800, but you can get even more value by earning a Companion Pass with this bonus. After you complete the full $15,000 spending requirement, you’ll have 120,000 bonus points and at least 15,000 points from your spending. This means that earning the welcome bonus will give you the 135,000 points needed to earn a Companion Pass.

However, remember that Companion Pass qualifying points start over each calendar year. So, you’ll want to earn the full bonus before the end of this year if you’re planning to snag a Companion Pass.

Related: The best time to apply for these Chase cards based on offer history


The Southwest Premier Business card earns 3 points per dollar on Southwest purchases; 2 points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental purchases as well as on local transit and commuting (including ride-hailing services); and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.


Beyond Southwest purchases, this is far from the most valuable earner available. If you spend a large portion of your business budget on specific business expenses beyond travel, you’ll likely benefit more from the earning structure on one of our other favorite business cards.

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Related: 10 considerations for your small-business credit card strategy

Other benefits

With the Southwest Premier Business card, you’ll get these Southwest-specific perks:

  • 6,000 points every year on cardmember anniversary
  • Two Early Bird check-ins per year
  • Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status for every $10,000 spent
  • $500 fee credit for points transfers
  • 25% back on inflight purchases

TPG values the 6,000-anniversary points at $90, and the two Early Bird check-ins are worth at least $30. These two benefits alone can make the $99 annual fee worth paying, even before you take advantage of any status-earning opportunities or inflight purchase discounts. Plus, if you regularly transfer your points to other accounts, the $500 transfer fee credit will be especially valuable.


Additionally, you can get employee cards at no additional cost.

This card also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which is helpful if you find yourself abroad. Even so, given Southwest’s limited international routes, you’ll likely want to build loyalty with a different airline if you travel internationally often.

Related: Maximizing the Rapid Rewards program


Of course, no one card is right for everyone. If you want more Southwest perks or flexible rewards, you may find that a different card fits your business better.

If you frequently fly Southwest and want a card that offers additional perks, the Southwest Performance Business Credit Card might be a better choice. It comes with a higher $199 annual fee but has a stronger earning structure as well as perks like inflight Wi-Fi credits and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit every four years. For more details, check out our full review of the Southwest Business Performance card.


If you want to earn bonus points on business expenses as well as travel, you may prefer the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. It carries a similar $95 annual fee and earns 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent yearly on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising with social media and search engines. It earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to Southwest or any of Chase’s other travel partners. For more details, check out our full review of the Ink Business Preferred.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Ink Business Preferred

Bottom line

If you’re a small-business owner who flies Southwest regularly, the Southwest Premier Business card‘s 6,000 anniversary points and two Early Bird check-ins provide enough value to offset the $99 annual fee. This could be enough to justify adding it to your wallet, especially while the welcome bonus is so valuable. However, if you spend a lot on business categories other than Southwest-specific travel, you’ll likely get more value from a different business credit card.

For more details, please see our full review of the Southwest Premier Business credit card.

Apply here: Southwest Premier Business

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