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VS

Compare the Features and Benefits of Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier 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
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
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
Concierge Services
Free Access to Credit Score
Annual Fee
$99
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 transfer, whichever is greater.
Best Multiplier
3x Airfare

Earn 3X on Southwest flights booked directly; otherwise earn 1X

2x Transit
2x Hotels

Only when booked via the Rapid Rewards portal; Otherwise earn 1X.

2x Car Rentals

Only when booked via the Rapid Rewards portal; Otherwise earn 1X.

1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.014
Bonus Offer
Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(3.9) 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

Small business owners that occasionally fly Southwest should consider getting the Southwest Premier Business Credit Card. You’ll get a solid earning rate on Southwest Airlines purchases and select travel purchases, a statement credit for two EarlyBird Check-Ins each card membership year, plus 25% back on inflight purchases.

Get onboard earlier thanks to two EarlyBird Check-In purchases annually.

In addition to the bonus points earned after account opening, cardholders earn points at a rate of 3x Rapid Rewards points on Southwest purchases, 2x points on Southwest Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases, local transit, commuting, and ride-hailing services, and 1x Rapid Rewards points on all other purchases.

When you earn points through the Southwest Premier Business Credit Card, they count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass. Plus you’ll earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points toward A-List status for every $10,000 spent on the card in a calendar year.

You can boost your point earnings by adding employee cards at no additional cost. If you want a unique way to reward your employees, the Southwest Premier Business Card reimburses up to $500 in fees for points transfers.

Earn points that have no blackout dates on Southwest Airlines flights.

When you go to redeem points, Southwest offers a simple rewards structure. You’ll pay between 81 and 83 Rapid Rewards points per dollar of base fare on Southwest flights, valuing the points around 1.4 cents each. While there are no blackout dates, that also means there’s no way of getting more value from your Rapid Rewards points.

Although the Southwest Premier Business Card is a solid card, Southwest frequent travelers should strongly consider getting the Southwest Performance Business Credit Card instead. For a $199 annual fee, you’ll earn higher rewards in several rewards categories: 4x bonus points on Southwest purchases, 3x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases, 2x points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services, and 1x on other purchases. Plus, you’ll get four Upgraded Boardings each year and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee statement credit.

Lastly, this card is great for getting 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
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
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
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
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
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
yes
Concierge Services
yes
Free Access to Credit Score
yes

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