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LAST DAY: Get a 20% bonus when you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest

Oct. 30, 2020
5 min read
Southwest BWI planes
LAST DAY: Get a 20% bonus when you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest
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Today is the last day to take advantage of Chase's Southwest transfer bonus promotion. You can get a 20% bonus on transfers to Southwest Rapid Rewards through Oct. 31, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

This is not a targeted offer and Chase cardholders with an eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit card can take advantage of the offer. You can transfer points to Southwest in increments of 1,000 points, equal to 1,200 points with the 20% bonus.

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Chase Southwest Transfer Bonus
(Image courtesy of Chase)

This bonus isn't hard-coded into the transfer ratio on the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Instead, it looks like the bonus is processed by Southwest, so you will see the bonus when you log into your Southwest Rapid Rewards account.

I did a test transfer of 1,000 points and immediately saw 1,200 Rapid Rewards points in my account. The 200 bonus points are listed as a separate line item on the "Points activity" page on Southwest's website.

Southwest Transfer on Southwest Website
(Image courtesy of Southwest)

Related: The best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Is this a good deal?

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
This transfer bonus is an excellent deal for Companion Pass holders. (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Southwest Rapid Rewards prices award tickets dynamically based on the cash cost of the flight. So the higher the cost of the flight in cash, the more points you'll spend.

TPG values Southwest Rapid Rewards points at 1.5 cents per point and Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2.0 cents per point. With this transfer bonus, you're effectively getting 1.8 cents per point from your Ultimate Rewards points.

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While still under our Ultimate Rewards valuation, it can be a great deal if you have a Southwest Companion Pass that lets you take a companion with you on all Southwest flights for just the cost of taxes. This effectively boosts the valuation to 3.6 cents per point.

This can be a great deal for solo travel, too. I generally recommend that those with a Chase Sapphire Reserve stay away from Southwest transfer redemptions as they can redeem points towards cash flights at 1.5 cents per point and earn redeemable points on their flights. (Though you have to call Chase to book Southwest flights via Chase at 1.5 cents per point.) That said, since this transfer bonus gives you a higher point value than a cash flight redemption booked via Chase, I recommend transferring points to Southwest to book Rapid Rewards tickets while this transfer bonus is in effect.

Related: How to book flights using Chase Travel

Should I speculatively transfer my points?

We rarely recommend transferring points before you have a specific redemption in mind. However, with this bonus, I think it's worthwhile for Companion Pass members to transfer more points than immediately needed if they plan to fly Southwest with a companion over the next year. A 20% bonus means more flights in the future, and having a Companion Pass effectively doubles the value of your points.

Thankfully, this isn't a one-time bonus — you can make as many transfers as you'd like to Southwest before the promotion ends on Oct. 31. There's no pressure to transfer all of your points at once, so you have time to plan out your late-2020 and 2021 travel before you transfer.

And since we all know things can change these days, know that Southwest allows for free award redeposits and changes. While you won't be able to move the points all the way back to Chase, you can put the points back in your Rapid Rewards accounts if your travel plans don't work out.

Related: How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Bottom line

It's great to see Chase and Southwest launch a lucrative transfer bonus -- the first Chase has ever offered to Southwest. This is an excellent way for Southwest loyalists to get more value from their Ultimate Rewards points and Companion Pass. If you don't have a Companion Pass or aren't a Southwest regular, consider how much you'll really fly Southwest before transferring points. A 20% transfer bonus is exciting but probably not worth moving over a ton of points if you don't have specific plans on how you'll use them.

Featured image by Southwest Boeing 737s lined up at Baltimore/Washington International Airport. (Image by Edward Russell/TPG)