Southwest Now A Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner

by on January 6, 2012 · 13 comments

in Chase, Southwest, Ultimate Rewards

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Update: As of April 2013, Chase Ultimate Rewards has added Virgin Atlantic as a new airline transfer partner.

Well, the big day is finally here. As of yesterday, Southwest is now officially a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. Sapphire Preferred and certain Ink Bold cards will be able to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio and then redeem those points towards any Southwest flight.
Since Southwest’s points program is a fixed-value system based on award type, points vary in value depending on the type of fare you redeem for. (Obviously points’ values vary a lot with other programs as well, but here it’s a bit more regimented than with other airline or hotel programs.)

Wanna Get Away: 1.67 cents per point
Anytime: 1 cent per point
Business Select: .83 cents per point

For the mathematically challenged, a $200 Wanna Get Away flight would cost 11,976 Southwest/Ultimate Rewards points.

Here’s a reward chart for Southwest points with an example of how many points you’d need to book each kind of fare:

This is a great enhancement for both Ultimate Rewards and Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. The one downside is that these transferred points will not count towards qualifying for the Companion Pass, which is one of the best benefits in the airline loyalty program world. This could also be a sign that Southwest is going to be clamping down on Companion Pass Qualifying points and no longer counter hotel transfers and credit card sign-up bonuses, like they currently do. If you are holding out to transfer a ton of points to start your 2013 qualification, it may be a risk, and you could see the value of those points devalued.

On the other hand, in my opinion this just strengthens the Ultimate Rewards program, making it that much more versatile by adding another airline partner. In addition to landing more transfer partners, the one major feature I’d love to see from Ultimate Rewards is to start running transfer bonuses, like American Express does (with their current British Airways 30% bonus) to stay competitive with Amex.


Disclaimer: 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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  • Nick

    I assume you can redeem points transferred from Ultimate Rewards to Southwest Rapid Rewards for gift cards. One can only hope Southwest will again offer those gift cards at a 25% bonus like they did between October and December 2011.

  • Gpapadop

    Should we fairly assume that transferring UR points to Southwest will extend the life of the Sothwest points? So we can safely sacrifice the Southwest cards to add room for haggling with Chase to get another one of their cards? :-)

  • PJ

    it is a one way street ie ultimate UR can go into Southwest and Southwest can NOT come back to UR ?

    either yes or no would make no difference to how awesom Chase UR is : a EWR LAX ( SNA) costs aobut 10,500 points ( sorry no Non Stop to SNA) but compensated with the flexibility of the SW program no change fees no quick ticketing fees etc..

    Bravo CHase :) and good headup from Brian

  • PJ

    i think the extra % rebate on Southwest still hangs in there so will the annual anniversary bonus.. which is common among Chase Cards: Marriott Hyatt all have anniversary free night making making for the annual memebership fees a no brainer

  • Anonymous

    I can’t see why anyone would ever redeem for anything other than Wanna Get Away fares, since UR points are worth 1.25 cents each.

  • David B

    The SWA points no longer expire. But if you earn the points with the Southwest Card you still can qualify for the companion pass.

  • Anonymous

    Another “clamping down” might be your strategy of downgrading a credit card after six months.
    Just tried it with my citi AAdvantage PLMC & was told new rules only allow downgrading after one year. Cancellation the only option to avoid annual fee, or if lucky, a second year waiver…?

  • ali

    I read on flyertalk today that the points earned from balance transfer do not count towards companion pass. Can anyone confirm or deny that? I don’t think it makes sense that the signup bonus of 50k would count, but the balance transfer points wouldn’t count. I was planning on balance .transferring 10k to my new southwest card in order to gain the companion pass. This rumor has me confused. Don’t want to spend the 3% fee on the balance transfer if the points won’t count.

  • JML

    I’m also curious to know what PJ asked: will it be possible to transfer points back and forth between SW and UR?

  • Clay

    2x if you have the companion pass..

  • Anonymous

    No- you cannot transfer from southwest to UR.. Only UR- Southwest

  • PJ

    do you know a wanna get away one way ticket from SFO ( SDC) to LAX ( SNA) costs as little as $59 = <3400 points ? a nobrainer gift when Southwest put out 50K sign on bonus.. we got 50K 3 times

  • Carol

    Can I earn points with a balance transfer?

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