For years, you haven’t been able to book Southwest Airlines flights online through credit card travel portals, such as those affiliated with American Express, Bilt, Chase and Citi. Finally, that has changed … well, somewhat.
You can now redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points via its online portal for travel on Southwest. However, it appears that only Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away Plus fares are currently available to book via the portal. While this change may not be appealing to customers who wish to book a Business Select fare or even a refundable ticket with the airline’s Anytime fare, it is beneficial for those hoping to snag a base fare or the airline’s Wanna Get Away Plus fare.
Plus, this option could be more appealing than transferring your Chase points to Southwest Rapid Rewards since Southwest announced it’ll devalue its points in 2024 by about 4%.
Here’s what you need to know about redeeming your Chase points for Southwest flights.
Booking Southwest flights with Chase points
As a holder of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 transfer ratio.
But again, since Southwest is slashing the value of Rapid Rewards points from a projected 1.4 cents apiece to 1.3 cents apiece, point transfers from Chase to Southwest are about to become less advantageous.
But now, you can potentially get a better redemption rate by redeeming your Chase points directly in the Chase portal for Southwest flights. After navigating to the Chase portal, search for your Southwest flight the way you’d book any other flight through the Chase portal.
The value of your Chase points when used for airfare in the portal will differ based on the card you have:
- 1.5 cents apiece: Chase Sapphire Reserve
- 1.25 cents apiece: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- 1 cent apiece: Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Ink Business Cash Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card (note that you can’t transfer Chase points to transfer partners solely with these cards.)
Even if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, it’s still almost certainly a better use of points to book directly in the Chase portal instead of transferring to Rapid Rewards. That’s because you’ll generally earn Rapid Rewards points when you use Chase points to book Southwest flights in the Chase portal and include your Rapid Rewards number on your reservation. As a reminder, you can’t earn Rapid Rewards points on award travel (i.e., when you book by transferring Chase points to Rapid Rewards).
Here’s what you earn as a Rapid Rewards member:
- Wanna Get Away: 6 points per dollar
- Wanna Get Away Plus: 8 points per dollar
- Anytime: 10 points per dollar
- Business Select: 12 points per dollar
Southwest status members also receive a bonus:
- A-List: 25% bonus
- A-List Preferred: 100% bonus
So, in the sample screenshot above, a general member would earn 358 Rapid Rewards (the base fare is $59) on this Wanna Get Away fare. That option certainly beats the 5,650 Rapid Rewards points plus $5.60 (and no opportunity to earn points) Southwest is slotted to charge for this flight from 2024.
You can now use Chase points directly in the Chase portal online, which is good news since Southwest will devalue Rapid Rewards redemptions starting Jan. 1, 2024.
In fairness, if you want to get the most value for your Ultimate Rewards points, there are better ways to maximize Chase points, such as transferring them to partners like World of Hyatt and Air Canada Aeroplan for high-value redemptions.
Still, if you want to use your Chase points for Southwest Airlines travel, there’s now another way to do it.
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- What it’s really like flying Southwest Airlines all the way to Hawaii