Booking Southwest Flights with Chase Ultimate Reward Points

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This is post #10 in a series discussing the Southwest Rapid Rewards program:

This series contains:

  1. Southwest Credit Card 50,000 Point Offer
  2. Earning and Redeeming Southwest Rapid Reward Points
  3. Earning Status with Southwest and the Benefits
  4. Changing and Canceling a Southwest Ticket
  5. Earning the Southwest Companion Pass
  6. Converting Southwest Credits to Free Flights
  7. Transferring Points to Southwest
  8. Transferring Points/Credits between AirTran and Southwest
  9. Extending the Life of Free Flights from Rapid Reward 1.0 Program
  10. Booking Southwest Flights with Chase Ultimate Reward Points
  11. Canceling a Flight Booked with Points
  12. Changing a Flight if Booked as a Roundtrip
  13. Getting Money Back if the Flight Goes Down in Price

A reader recently emailed me asking:

“What is a better value, using my Chase Ultimate Reward points to book a Southwest flight, or transferring my Ultimate Reward points to Southwest and then booking my flight through”

This is actually a very easy answer without doing the math. Unfortunately, as of today you cannot book a Southwest flight through the Chase Ultimate Reward portal. I did a search from Islip to Ft. Lauderdale (which has a few non-stop Southwest flights a day) and look what it pulled:

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 10.27.54 AM

So if you’ve accumulated a bunch of Chase Ultimate Reward points with the intentions of using them on Southwest flights, your only option is to transfer them to Southwest and then book through your Southwest account.

While some might be disappointed by this, the good news is that this option actually gives you a better value then booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal anyways! When booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal each point equals 1.25 cents. However, when transferring your points from Chase to Southwest and booking with Southwest directly, each Chase point actually equals 1.43 centsRemember, transferring Chase Ultimate Reward points to Southwest does NOT count towards the Southwest Companion Pass (read more about this here).

Keep in mind though with this option you will not earn Southwest points when redeeming for a free flight and you won’t be eligible for any bonus promotions.

Credit card to help earn the companion pass:  As mentioned previously, there are three different Southwest cards – ALL of them have the same bonus offer after meeting the minimum spend requirements, but different annual fees and annual bonuses. You can view all three cards and the differences in this prior blog postYou can learn more about all Airline credit card offers here.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As always, thanks for supporting the blog and enjoy traveling on a deal!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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rob black
rob black
8 years ago

It is my understanding that you can not transfer UR directly to SWA. Do you have to first transfer to Hyatt and then SWA? What loss/cost going through Hyatt?

8 years ago
Reply to  rob black

@rob – you absolutely can transfer chase ultimate reward points directly to southwest, however, they will not count towards the companion pass. If you want to count for the companion pass then you are best first transferring to Hyatt and then southwest. However, you will lose value in each point.

rob black
rob black
8 years ago

Thanks for the clarity. Already have the companion pass and 150K SWA points. I will hold onto the UR points for a different use. Even with the increase in cost to use on United, it still might make more sense to use there or even Hyatt stays.

Points with a Crew
8 years ago

From what I’ve seen it’s almost never the “right” move to book a flight / reward through the Chase UR portal itself (rather than transferring to the program of choice)

Chris N
Chris N
8 years ago

Points with a Crew: There are occasional great deals through airlines that aren’t part of larger reward programs. For example, I can book DIA to PDX on Frontier for 14,200 UR points through the portal. For a domestic ticket, this is pretty good redemption value (cash is 178 right now).

8 years ago

don’t see a way to xfer. maybe a specific chase card is needed?

8 years ago

thanks! yeah, I have the no-fee sapphire. I think that’s why I don’t see it (can only purchase with pts which is just 1-1c).

Amy Knight
6 years ago

My husband I purchase some tickets back in November 2015 for departure from Grand Rapids Michigan to Orlando Florida on Sunday, December 13, 2015. We noticed there has been a sale on the flight so we had the lower prices adjusted accordingly through Southwest. At that time I had purchased a ticket for my son, as well. My husband and I each had $48.96 apiece for our remaining balance money from the other flights and half of that would only apply towards the other flight in which I hold it on a credit card. Now, the flight has disappeared and it is four times the amount being $294 compared to $93. We are scheduled to leave tomorrow and you not know what to do. It was flight 194 from Grand Rapids to Orlando departing at 12:15 and arriving in Orlando at 3:10 or something like that.
Ugh! We are in a Huge dilemma.
Please help.


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