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My Southwest Rapid Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are two of my most used points programs that I am a part of. I’ve been a member of Southwest Rapid Rewards for ten years, and it was one of the first travel programs I ever joined. On top of that, one of the first credit cards I ever got was a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
Needless to say, I’m well-seasoned in both of these programs and have learned many ways to take advantage of them. One of the most exciting things I have ever learned about these two programs is that they are a transfer partner, meaning I could transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards at no cost.
I will go over exactly how to transfer Chase points to Southwest or any other travel partner you see on the list. I’ll also give you a hack that Chase and Southwest do not want you to know about to save you some significant cash.
Bottom Line Up Front
You must first join the Rapid Rewards program to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards. If you are already a member, log into your Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. Then locate the “Earn/Use Points” menu on the top of the screen and click “Transfer to Travel Partners.”
Scroll through the list of travel partners until you find Southwest Rapid Rewards and click “Transfer Points.” Enter your information, hit continue, and you’re done!
Signing Up For Rapid Rewards
When transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest, you will essentially turn them into Southwest Rapid Rewards points for a flight booked through the Southwest website. That means you must set up a Rapid Rewards account with Southwest, and it’s free and super straightforward to do.
How to Sign Up
You will first need to go to Southwest Airlines’ website and click on the Rapid Rewards tab in the top right corner. Or your can click on THIS link. It will then ask you to fill in all your information and ask if you would like to sign up for emails. I recommend signing up for emails because they send you good deals and promotions.
Once you have entered all your information, you will be assigned a rapid rewards number. You will want to save this number somewhere so you can book future flights with it, and you can use it to log into your Rapid Rewards account. That’s it!
Why I Love Southwest Rapid Rewards
There are so many advantages to this points program other than being able to book flights with your transferred Chase points. I have been a member of this program for ten years and still think it’s one of the best. Here are a few reasons why:
- It’s free to sign up and start getting points.
- Your points never expire.
- There are multiple ways to build points by shopping through the Southwest Rapid Rewards portal, like at select online stores, booking hotels, dining at participating restaurants, and renting cars.
- There are no blackout dates or flights, including weekends and .
- You can transfer points to another member or buy points if you’re short on points for a trip.
- One Southwest point is worth up to 1.5 cents (.25 cents more than two of the three Chase cards that you can transfer from)
Chase Cards That Allow the Transfer
Not every Chase credit card allows you to transfer points to partners, like Southwest. The cards that do not allow you to transfer points are Ink Business Premier, Ink Business Unlimited, Ink Business Cash, or any Chase Freedom cards. Below are the three cards that allow you to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards points:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Annual fee: $95
This is the credit card I have and probably my most used card out of every card I own. Right now, they have a bonus offer of 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That’s $600 or $750 if you use the points in the Ultimate Rewards portal. I got 80,000 points when I got the card, so keep your eye out for a better deal.
Other than that, you get five times points on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, three times points on dining, two times points on other travel, and one times points on everything else. They also started including a $50 credit for a hotel booked through Ultimate Rewards every year!
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Annual fee: $550 and $75 for each additional authorized user
This annual fee may seem a bit outrageous, but honestly, based on how much I get back every year with just the preferred card, you’ll get way more than that fee back on this card. First, you get $300 credited back every year on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Second, you get ten times points on travel booked through the portal after the credit. That’s double what you get with the preferred card.
On top of that, your points used in the Ultimate Rewards portal are worth double what they are with the preferred card, 50% vs. 25% more. You also get lounge access in 500 airports and a statement credit every four years for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. I may have just talked myself into a card upgrade.
Ink Business Preferred
Annual fee: $95
This may be the card for you if you travel for business. You can build points fast, and they are worth the same amount as the Sapphire Preferred card. You get a bonus offer of 100,000 bonus points when you spend $15,000 in the first three months, which can be transferred to Southwest for $1,000 worth of flights. After that, you get three times points when using your card for travel or other business-related expenses.
How to Transfer Chase Points to Southwest Rapid Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards and Southwest Rapid Rewards are partners, making it extremely easy to transfer. Because of this, they also transfer at a 1:1 ratio, meaning 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 Rapid Rewards points. You can transfer points in 1,000-point increments.
Login to the Ultimate Rewards Portal
If you’ve owned a Chase card for a while now, you probably already know how to do this, but I’ll explain it for all of you newbies. You’ll first need to log into your chase account, which you should have set up when you got your Chase card. You can then click on your Ultimate Rewards Points, which will take you to the portal.
Click “Transfer to Travel Partners”
To locate the “transfer to travel partners link”, you can either click on the drop-down menu with three horizontal lines in the top left-hand corner or click “Earn/Use Points” next to the drop-down menu. The “Transfer to Travel Partners” link will be under one of these menus. If you use the “Earn-Use Points” menu, it has an arrow icon with it.
Find Southwest Rapid Rewards
You will then find a list of all their travel partners for which you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio divided into two categories, including airlines and hotels. Scroll through the airlines until you find Southwest Rapid Rewards, and click the transfer points button. If you aren’t a Rapid Rewards member yet, you can join the program by clicking the drop-down arrow, which gives you a description of the program and a link to join.
Enter the Amount You Want to be Transferred
Once you are on the Southwest Rapid Rewards transfer page, you will need to enter the name of the traveler you’re transferring points to (yourself if the points are for you) and the rapid rewards account number associated with that traveler. You can transfer points to another Rapid Rewards member, but they must be an authorized user on your Chase credit card. Click continue, and you’re done!
Why Transfer Instead of Building Rapid Rewards?
With so many ways to build Rapid Rewards points, you may wonder why you would even bother transferring and not simply collecting points directly through the Rapid Rewards portal. Some of the offers given in the Rapid Rewards portal are very advantageous, like five points per dollar at Clinique and over 15 points per dollar on select hotels. However, these offers are particular and sporadic.
Here are just a few reasons that you may decide to transfer your Chase Ultimate Reward points instead of simply building Southwest Rapid Rewards Points.
You Can Earn Points Quicker
Saying you can earn points quicker with Chase Ultimate Rewards may sound contradictory to the examples I gave you above. Still, it’s true on a broader scale, especially if you have the Sapphire Reserve card. The offers I gave above are extremely rare. The average you can earn in points with the Rapid Rewards portal is much lower than what you earn overall with Ultimate Rewards.
My advice is to check the Southwest Rapid Rewards portal first and see if they have a better offer than what you get with your card on something you want, especially when booking hotels.
There Are More Opportunities For Earning
When you earn points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, it’s on a category, like dining or travel. When you earn points through Rapid Rewards, it’s on specific brands, like Addidas or Hertz. Offers on specific brands are much more restrictive than earning points on everything under an umbrella. Plus, you earn at least one point per dollar spent on every single purchase made with your Chase card.
It’s More Convenient to Earn Through Chase
I am not someone who enjoys bargain shopping; if you are, then forget this reason. To earn points through Rapid Rewards, you must scroll through all the deals they have and see if they just so happen to have what you’re looking for. With Chase, you know you’re getting points no matter what you buy, so you just swipe wherever you are and skip the searching.
Transfer Chase Points if You Don’t Have Enough Rapid Rewards
Even if you do everything you can to build Rapid Rewards points, there are always going to be instances where you will have to use your chase card instead to build points. Luckily, if you don’t have enough Southwest points to purchase your desired flight, you can transfer those missing points from your Chase Ultimate Rewards to fulfill the rest of the points needed to get a free flight.
Pro Hack: Don’t Transfer Just Yet!
Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards may seem like your only option because Southwest flights do not appear on the online Ultimate Rewards portal. HOWEVER, you can indeed use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a Southwest flight directly, and there is one huge benefit in doing so.
How to Book Southwest Flights Without Transferring Points
You can use your Ultimate Rewards points to directly book a Southwest flight by calling the Chase Travel Center at (855) 233-9462. You’ll first need to go to Southwest’s website to find the flight you want to book. Tell the agent on the phone your desired flight details, and they will apply your Ultimate Rewards points to that flight purchase.
When You Should Book Through Chase Ultimate Rewards
It may seem less convenient to have to call someone to book a flight than to take a minute to transfer points online, but doing this could save you money in the long run. Especially if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, where your points are worth the same amount as (most likely more than) Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
You’ll need to do some math to determine if transferring or booking through Ultimate Rewards is the better deal. You can do this by dividing the price of the Southwest flight by the number of Rapid Rewards points that the flight costs. For example, a flight from Denver to La Guardia costs $174 or 12,306 points. 174 divided by 12,306 equals 1.41 cents per point.
If you have a Chase card that only rewards you with 1.25 cents per dollar, transferring the points to Rapid Rewards would benefit you. If you have a Chase card that rewards you with 1.5 cents per dollar (Chase Sapphire Reserve), you’re better off booking through their travel center.
One More Benefit to Booking Through Chase Travel Center
When you book a flight using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Southwest treats it like you spent cash to purchase the flight. Therefore, you can build Rapid Rewards points when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Using the example above, if you were to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book that flight directly, you would also gain 890 Rapid Reward points for a future flight. If that future flight was also 1.41 cents per point, that’s $12.55 worth of points you’ve gained.
Question: How long does it take Chase Points to transfer to Southwest?
Answer: Your Chase Ultimate Rewards points will transfer immediately to Rapid Rewards points. Once you fill out the information in the Chase transfer portal and hit continue, you can hop over to your Southwest Rapid Rewards portal and see the change. Transferring Chase points to other travel partners may take a bit longer.
Question: Can I book Southwest through Chase travel?
Answer: Yes, you can. It just won’t show up in the online portal. You must call Chase Travel Center to book your Southwest flight with Ultimate Rewards points. This may benefit you if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Question: Do you get points by booking through Chase?
Answer: You get points by booking through the Chase Travel Portal, which is highly beneficial. In my case with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, I get five times points if I book my travel through the portal versus two times points if I book travel through another service. Some of the other Chase cards may have even better benefits.
Question: How many points on Southwest equals a free flight?
Answer: This varies depending on your flight, but a one-way flight on Southwest can cost anywhere from 6,600 to 58,000 points. Where your flight is going, where it departs from, what fare you choose, and any add-ons you may want to purchase with points.
How to Transfer Chase Points to Southwest: Final Thoughts
Personally, for my specific situation with the Chased Sapphire Preferred card, I think transferring points to my Southwest Rapid Rewards account is much more beneficial than booking through the Chase Travel Center. The amount the Southwest points are worth has always been more than the 1.25 cents my Chase points are worth.
Plus, transferring online is much easier than going through a phone call and its hold times. I don’t think the Rapid Rewards points I would build by booking through Chase Ultimate Rewards equals the amount I would be saving by transferring to Rapid Rewards.
However, booking by calling the Chase Travel Center will always be way more beneficial if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Southwest Rapid Rewards points will never be worth more than Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, and you can build Rapid Rewards points simultaneously. Don’t bother transferring when you have the Chase Reserve card unless you hate talking on the phone.