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Can you use Chase points to book a Southwest flight? Yes — but it’s not as easy as it may appear.
Those who carry a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, can use those points to purchase Southwest Airlines tickets — though to get the most value out of your points, you’ll have to book it over the phone with an agent.
Although you can transfer points from Chase to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio, you can also book Southwest flights directly from the Ultimate Rewards® portal. The snag? These flights cannot be booked online — you’ll have to call Chase to book it.
Here are the different ways you can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for Southwest flights.
Best value option: By phone using Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Cardholders can call the Chase Travel Center at 855-234-2542 to use Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for their Southwest flights. These flights don't appear on Chase’s portal, so you will have to call to book.
For Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders, 1 point used toward travel this way is worth 1.5 cents instead of the standard 1 cent per point. (So, for instance, 10,000 Ultimate Rewards® points would be good for a $150 flight.) Chase Sapphire Preferred® Cardholders receive a 25% bonus on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, bringing their points value to 1.25 cents apiece. In this case, 10,000 points would be good for a $125 flight.
» Learn more: How to earn and use Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Tickets redeemed in this manner are registered as if they were paid for with cash instead of points; meaning travelers can receive Southwest Rapid Reward points on the flight and credit toward elite status. In contrast, tickets booked directly with Southwest Rapid Rewards points won’t accrue additional points or count toward elite status.
Since Southwest points are worth 1.4 cents, those who hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can get 1.5 cents from each point.
Average value option: By statement credit
Holders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can simply book travel on Southwest using the card, then offset the purchase by redeeming the cost of the flight as a statement credit.
By using this strategy, cardholders forfeit the 50% point bonus awarded to travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel center. In other words, you’re only getting 1 cent per point, so it's not the best value.
However, as with tickets booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards® Travel via phone, cardholders will still earn Southwest Rapid Reward points and move toward elite status.
» Learn more: Find the best airline credit card for you
Low-value option: By transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards® to Southwest
As mentioned, cardholders can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to Southwest Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 transfer ratio. This may be the best redemption strategy if you'll be able to book the same flight with fewer Southwest points than Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, but it largely depends on which Chase card you have.
Still, it's nice to have the option to transfer points between programs, especially to top up your Rapid Rewards account if you're just short of the amount you need for a ticket.
Final thoughts on booking Southwest flights on Chase
If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and you book Southwest flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards, you will be able to redeem your points at a fixed 1.5 cents and 1.25 cents, respectively. In addition, you’ll earn Southwest points on that ticket because it will be treated as a cash purchase.
Although not as good as the prior option, if you redeem the cost of the flight through a statement credit, you’ll only get 1 cent per point, but at least you’ll earn Southwest points since it will be a cash purchase.
The least favored option is transferring from Chase to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio because there isn't a bonus and you won’t earn any Southwest points on that booking.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card