Southwest Now A Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner

Jan 6, 2012

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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.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
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Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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