The Chase Ultimate Rewards program seems to be getting better and better by the minute! While American Express Membership Rewards has been diminishing their program, Chase Ultimate Rewards has done the complete opposite and might be one of the more lucrative travel programs out there.
To start off with a bang in 2012, they have added Southwest as a transfer partner. Similar to all the other transfer partners, points transfer at a 1:1 ratio. Since Southwest has a very straightforward value on their points, this means that each Ultimate Reward points is equivalent to $0.0167 if transferred to Southwest. While this is probably not the most strategic partner to transfer your points to, it is still a decent value and is definitely a great option for those who are loyal to Southwest. The best transfer option in my opinion is Hyatt or Continental (if used properly).
If you have already jumped on the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus credit card bonus offer, this will allow you to transfer those points to Southwest giving you a straightforward $1.67 per point (so $833 gor Chase Ink Bold and Plus cards) in free travel on a “Wanna Getaway” fare.
Which card offer is better? The The Southwest credit card or one of the Chase Ultimate Reward earning cards? This really depends on the person, so lets take a look at some pro’s/con’s:
Southwest credit card (detailed prior blog post):
- Annual 3,000 bonus points, which is equivalent to $50 in free travel on a “Wanna Getaway” fare (pro)
- Bonus points from new credit card sign up count towards a Southwest companion pass (pro)
- Points from credit card spend count towards a Southwest companion pass (pro)
- Earn double points when using your Southwest credit card to purchase Southwest flights (pro) – however, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card gives you double points on all travel purchases
- Receive bonus points after your first purchase on the card, no minimum spend needed like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (pro)
- Yearly annual fee is NOT waived the first year (con)
- Can only use your points on Southwest travel – at least for the best value (con)
- Foreign transaction fees at 3% (con)
Chase Sapphire Preferred card (detailed prior blog post):
- Points can be transferred to many partners and give you more flexibility depending on your travel needs – United, British Airways, Korean Airways, Hyatt, Priority Club, Marriott, and Amtrak (pro)
- Ultimate Rewards shopping portal has had some amazing bonus offers recently (pro)
- Double points on all travel related purchases (pro)
- No foreign transaction fees (pro)
- Annual fee is waived the first year (pro), but is then slightly higher than the Southwest credit card thereafter (con)
- Transferred points do not count towards a Southwest companion pass (con)
In my opinion, the main reason the Southwest credit card is worth getting over the Chase Sapphire preferred is if you are able to get the companion pass. Other than that, the Chase Sapphire Preferred seems to be the winner if looking for Southwest free flights. Chase has also started to crack down a bit and I’d recommend only applying for one personal card and one business card within a 90 day period. If you do apply for both (or any two Chase cards for that matter), assume that one will be declined, but calling the reconsideration line and switching some credit limit around will possibly get you approved.
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links where I receive commission for some of the credit cards if you sign up and get approved. I will only promote the best offers and the cards that I fully believe have the best value. Thanks for supporting the blog!