According to reports over the weekend, Southwest Airlines flights can once again be booked with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. While Southwest flights have never shown up in the UR travel booking portal, it used to be possible to book Southwest flights over the phone with an Ultimate Rewards agent using your Ultimate Rewards points. However, when Chase switched to using Expedia on the back end last year, the ability to book Southwest flights with UR points ceased. Several reports now indicate that you can once again book Southwest flights over the phone with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The ability to book Southwest flights via the Chase UR portal isn’t typically very appealing. That’s because you’ll either get 1.25c per point in value towards flights with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or 1.5c per point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You could alternatively transfer Ultimate Rewards to Southwest Rapid Rewards and potentially get up to 1.9c per point in value. Transferring and booking with Rapid Rewards points adds flexibility as flights booked with Rapid Rewards points can be canceled up until about 10 minutes before departure for immediate re-deposit (and you’re then free to use your points when and how you wish). Flights booked with “cash” (such as those booked through Chase) can be canceled, but you’ll get a Southwest credit that is good for 1 year from the date of booking and locked to the person(s) listed on the original flight confirmation.
That said, there are times when booking through the UR portal might provide slightly more value and keep in mind that you’ll earn Rapid Rewards points on flights purchased through Chase (and they also count towards elite status, promotions, etc).
Overall, this is a win as it provides another tool in your belt for booking flights. Now let’s hope Chase finds a way to bring back other low-cost-carriers as well.
H/T: View from the Wing