Something I Realized About the New Southwest Airlines Business Visa

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I applied for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card because I want to earn a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, which will allow me to take my wife with me on Southwest flights for just the cost of security taxes. Our daughter is still just one year old and flies free as a lap infant, but with Southwest’s open seating as long as there’s even one open seat on the flight it’s going to wind up next to us since no one wants to sit in a middle seat next to a baby.

The goal was to get the card now, earn the bonus at the beginning of 2020, and finish off the Companion Pass so that it’ll be valid for most of 2020 (the rest of the year in which it’s earned) and all of 2021 (the full year following the year in which it’s earned).

That, to me, made the card’s $199 annual fee worthwhile. And that’s even before getting to the bonus, which is currently 70,000 points after $5000 spend within 3 months (worth about $1050 in airfare by my calculation, and double that with the companion pass). You can also use the card’s statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry in the first year, so getting the card is a no brainer on a value-versus-cost basis.

However I’m realizing there’s a simple reason for me to keep the card into the future, and not just because spending on the card helps earn a Companion Pass (and can help renew my status). Actually there are two reasons.

  • 9000 bonus points each year after cardmember anniversary (which I value at $135, or much of the cost of the annual fee)

  • Inflight wifi credits – I’m going to get the annual fee back in rebated internet alone since you can generate the credit up to 365 times per year, including more than once a day. My wife and I, traveling together, are two credits at a time.

Seeing those wifi statement credits post, from more than one use a day, made me realize this card will easily pay for itself.

Just before getting the card I paid for A1 – A15 boarding when I arrived at the airport. My elite status had just expired unexpectedly, and I didn’t check in 24 hours prior to flight, so I was stuck with a C group boarding pass and an inevitable middle seat for my DC – Austin flight home. The money was worth it to get an aisle and a bit more space to work for the flight.

I don’t even need to get to the four times a year that the card will rebate this expense to know that I’m getting more than my money’s worth.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Gary

    Thanks for this insight. Just got the card myself and flying SW on Friday with a family of 5. Will definitely use the card for each of our devices.

    How quickly did the credits post in your experience?

  2. Are you sure multiple Wifi credits can be used in one day? I saw other blog posts after the card launched indicating you only got a credit for one card per 24 hours. Great news if that policy changed (or the posts were wrong). Thanks!

  3. @Gary

    Question #2

    Can I use the card’s upgraded boarding position benefit on someone other than me?

  4. Also didn’t realize that those benefits existed. Being an empty nester my wife and I don’t travel with either of our daughters as often as when theY were young, but when we did, we did not mind the Southwest product at all. Family of three on a bench together works pretty well. With 32” pitch I found the seat comfortable.

  5. PJ,

    They would have to be present and give their ticket to the desk, but then you can use your card to pay for the upgrade and you will get credit. My credits have posted within 2 business days, and usually the next day.

  6. You say that you and your wife can get the WiFi credits. Does the WiFi credit extend to the companion?

  7. @John – I believe those blogs must have misunderstood the policy (365 uses per year sounds like it must be once per 24 hours). I have done this multiple times and gotten the credits successfully.

  8. Gary, if I saw you on a plane, I’d sit in the middle seat next to a baby, to be able to chat with you.

  9. Nice, using your baby as a weapon to get an empty middle seat. I always thought couples who book aisle and window for themselves are pretty selfish if they don’t offer to switch if middle turns out to be occupied (happened to me before), but on SW it’s an even more BS selfish move. Another reason for me to never fly SW, not until they change their boarding process.

  10. I think if I was stuck in a middle seat between 2 passengers who were obviously flying together, I would make sure to keep my head in their eyeline when they talk to each other.

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