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One of the more popular credit card reward programs for frequent travelers is the Chase Ultimate Rewards Points program. Since Southwest Airlines is a Chase travel partner, you can transfer the points at a 1:1 ratio to Southwest’s loyalty program for discounted and even free flights.
There is a long list of Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards, including the Sapphire, Freedom, and Ink product lines. While each card has its own terms for point-to-dollar ratios or bonuses, all of the cards earn at least one point per dollar on all purchases. The points can be used for everything from Amazon purchases and cash back to travel, but it’s using them on Southwest that will get you the best deal if you’re flying domestically.
Transferring Chase Points to Southwest
Making the transfer is easy. For the best value, you’ll want to go to Southwest.com and find the flight you’d like to take. Look for the cost of the flight in Rapid Rewards points, Southwest’s loyalty program currency.
Next, log into your Chase account and click Go to Ultimate Rewards, found at the top of the page once you’re logged in. If you have multiple Chase card accounts, choose the card you’d like to use the points from.
Click Use Points, then Transfer to Travel Partners. Scroll down through the list of available partners until you get to Southwest Airlines; just click the Transfer Points button next to Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. When you do this, you’ll be prompted to enter your Rapid Rewards account information so Chase knows what account to send the points to. Click Add Member ID when you’re finished.
Finally, put in the number of points you’d like to transfer. Keep in mind that you’ll need to transfer in increments of 1,000, and all transfers are final, so make sure you transfer the correct amount. Review the transaction on the next page, and then click Confirm to make the transfer. The move is instantaneous—you’ll be able to see your points in your Rapid Rewards account right away, and you can go ahead and buy the flight you want.
What to Watch Out For
There are a few caveats when you transfer Chase points to Southwest. First, you can only transfer to yourself or an authorized user on your credit card account; you can’t gift your Ultimate Rewards Points to anyone else. You can, however, combine points from your different cards and transfer them all to Southwest.
The points transfers do not count toward qualifying for a Companion Pass; the good news, however, is that you can cancel or change your flights on Southwest without any penalties. If the price of your flight drops after you book, you can rebook your flight under the new price and get the difference in points refunded back into your Rapid Rewards account.
Getting Help When You Transfer Points
If you have trouble with the steps we mentioned above, you might have questions or need some support. If you do, you can call Chase at 1-800-935-9935, or call Southwest Airlines at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
Jeff Gitlen writes about a wide range of finance topics including everything from student loans to credit cards to small business financing. Jeff's work has been featured on a number of sites including Bloomberg, CNBC, Forbes, Market Watch, and more.