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VS

Compare the Features and Benefits of Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card and
United℠ Explorer Card

Detailed Comparison Overview

Key Facts
Annual Fee
Avg. Min. Credit Score
Ongoing APR
Balance transfers fees
Best Multiplier
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
Bonus Offer
Rating
Review
Key features
Unique Card Benefits
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Trip Protections
Free Checked Bags
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Annual Statement Credits
Roadside Assistance
Does Not Report Credit Line to Personal Credit Profile
No Fees for Authorized Users
Airport Lounge Access
Priority Boarding
Concierge Services
Free Access to Credit Score
Annual Fee
$199
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
Ongoing APR
21.49%-28.49% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.
Best Multiplier
4x Airfare

Applies only to Southwest Airlines booked directly with Southwest; Otherwise earn 1X

2x Cable / Internet / VOIP Phone
2x Cellular Phone Service
1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.014
Bonus Offer
Earn up to 120,000 points. Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening and an additional 40,000 points when you spend $15,000 in 9 months.
Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(4.25) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card should be the go-to card for Southwest frequent travelers that own a small business. Don’t let the $199 annual fee scare you off. This card comes packed with perks that can easily justify that fee.

Southwest-specific perks include four Upgraded Boardings each year, virtually unlimited inflight WiFi passes, and the ability to spend toward A-List status. Plus cardholders get premium travel perks like a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee statement credit.

Cardholders earn 4x Rapid Rewards points on Southwest Airlines purchases. That’s a higher rewards earning rate on Southwest purchases than you’ll find on any other Southwest credit card. Plus you’ll earn 3x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners.

However, this card doesn’t just reward travel purchases. Cardholders earn 2x Southwest Rapid Rewards points on a wide range of purchases, including social media and search engine advertising; internet, cable, and phone services; transit and commuting, including ride-hailing services. Earn points on all other purchases at a rate of 1 Rapid Rewards point per dollar spent.

Enjoy Upgraded Boardings, free WiFi, and more on Southwest Airlines through the Southest Performance Business Card

Cardholders will earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status for every $5,000 spent on purchases annually. While you probably don’t want to put that much spending on the card, you can conceivably spend all the way to A-List Preferred status by spending $470,000 on the card in a calendar year.

The only real downside to this card is the limited redemption options. The best way to redeem Rapid Rewards points is for Southwest flights. And since the Rapid Rewards structure is a fixed-value program, you won’t get more value from some flights than others. The good news is that means there are no blackout dates when you want to redeem points.

You can add employee cards for no additional cost, meaning you can be rewarded for employee spending. The card also offers up to a $500 statement credit for points transfers. That means you can transfer points to employees without additional cost.

Lastly, this card is great for getting more than halfway to a Southwest Companion Pass with the bonus offer. Read our guide on earning a Southwest Companion Pass for up to two years via new account bonuses.

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Trip Protections
yes
Free Checked Bags
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes
No Foreign Transaction Fees
yes
Annual Statement Credits
yes
Roadside Assistance
yes
Does Not Report Credit Line to Personal Credit Profile
yes
No Fees for Authorized Users
yes
Airport Lounge Access
no
Priority Boarding
no
Concierge Services
no
Free Access to Credit Score
no
Annual Fee
$0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $95
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
Ongoing APR
21.99%-28.99% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Best Multiplier
2x Airfare

On United flights only; otherwise earn 1X

2x Dining Out / Food Delivery
2x Hotels
1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.012
Bonus Offer

Earn 60,000 United MileagePlus® Miles after spending $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months of opening an account, plus the Annual Fee waived for the first year. Offer ends August 7, 2024.

Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(4.05) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

The United Explorer is one of the best credit cards out there for occasional United flyers. That’s because you’ll get useful perks, such as free first checked bags, priority boarding privileges, a 25% food and beverage discount on board United operated flights, and even get a taste of airport lounge access with two anniversary United Club passes. Plus. the annual fee is waived the first year, then just $95 thereafter.

Consider this scenario: Even if you only fly United a couple of times per year, the Explorer Card is worth it for the free checked bag benefit alone. Keep in mind, this applies to the primary card holder and one companion on the same reservation, as long as you use the card to pay for your ticket. At $35 for one checked bag, and $140 for a round-trip flight for two people, it’s easy to get value that exceeds the card’s annual fee.

In addition to the sign-up bonus earned after account opening, the United Explorer card earns a decent 2X miles on United Airlines purchases, 2X miles on dining, including eligible delivery services, 2X miles on hotel stays when booked with the hotel and 1x miles on all other purchases. Also, the card helps to fast track your United elite status goals with 500 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $12,000 you spend on purchases (up to 1,000 PQPs in a calendar year). These PQPs can be applied toward your Premier status qualification — up to the Premier 1K level.

And don’t forget the ability to earn PQPs towards elite status from spend. You’ll earn 25 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $500 you spend on purchases – up to 1,000 PQPs per year.

If you’re in need of extra miles besides flying on United flights, keep in mind that Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the United Mileage Plus program at a 1:1 ratio to help you top up your miles balance.

While the United Explorer card is a fantastic option for the occasional United flyer, those that travel more often with the airline might want to consider other options, including United’s other, more premium, credit cards.

In more simple terms, the Explorer card fits the “occasional United flyer” once or twice per year mold, while the $250-per-year United Quest fits the “semi-frequent United flyer.” Then, there’s the United Club Infinite Card for the “frequent United flyer.” If you’re looking for a United Club membership and need more than just two one-time passes, you’ll probably be better off with the United Club Infinite Card, which comes with a full United Club membership but also charges the highest annual fee of the United cards at $525.

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Trip Protections
yes
Free Checked Bags
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes
No Foreign Transaction Fees
yes
Annual Statement Credits
no
Roadside Assistance
no
Does Not Report Credit Line to Personal Credit Profile
no
No Fees for Authorized Users
no
Airport Lounge Access
yes
Priority Boarding
yes
Concierge Services
yes
Free Access to Credit Score
yes

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