The Ability to Pay for Southwest Airlines Tickets With Chase Points is Back

You can use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for Southwest Airlines award tickets. You can do this either by transferring Chase points from a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred Card to Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program, or by using Chase points directly to purchase the ticket.

For some time it hasn’t been possible to use Chase points to buy Southwest Airlines tickets.

  • Southwest Airlines tickets are bookable on their own website, but generally not other websites.

  • You used to be able to call Chase’s travel provider and book Southwest tickets over the phone.

  • But Chase switched travel providers to Expedia and the ability to do this was lost.

When Chase announced the move to Expedia, plenty of websites parroted the official line that this was good for customers because of the much wider variety of hotels that would be bookable. I disagreed, because they were moving to Expedia and that’s never good for anyone.

Expedia Dancers Don’t Provide Customer Service. Flickr: Juggernautco

Well there finally is a positive development. The ability to book Southwest tickets over the phone using Chase points as payment is back. (HT: Healthy Grain)

So do you actually want to do this?

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards generally charges 78 points per dollar of base fare for award tickets. Factoring in taxes you’re getting about 1.5 cents per point.

If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card you can buy airline tickets with your points at 1.5 cents apiece. In many cases it’s better to buy Southwest tickets with Sapphire Reserve’s points than redeem for them (other cards get a lower per-point value, and transfers become a better deal). Paid tickets earn points while award tickets do not.

Even if you have a Sapphire Reserve and can pay for travel at 1.5 cents apiece there are still reasons why you’d prefer to transfer points to Southwest and redeem for a ticket rather than purchase a paid ticket with points.

  • You have plenty of Southwest points already, and just need to top off your account for an award. Transferring, then, means using fewer Chase points for your ticket.

  • There’s a good chance you’ll need to cancel your award. If you can an award (no fee) you get your points back. If you cancel a paid ticket you get a travel credit to use within a year (unless you’ve purchased a refundable ticket).

Now Chase and Expedia just need to bring back Disney theme park ticket redemptions.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. By far the best way to book Southwest revenue tickets with points is to have a US Bank Altitude Reserve (or Flexpoints) card, and sign up for Real Time Rewards. Then you just use your US Bank card to buy the ticket on the Southwest Web site. You immediately receive a text asking you whether you want to redeem points at 1.5 cents each to reimburse the cost.

  2. If you use Real Time Rewards for your Flexpoints, you will not get your $25 spending bonus. Call the flexperks booking people to get Southwest flights.

  3. You definitely never want to transfer points if you don’t have to. This is way better.

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