When Chase began using Expedia to power its Ultimate Rewards® travel booking site in August 2018, the phone booking option was temporarily lost, although Chase cardholders still had the option to transfer points 1:1 to Southwest Rewards and book flights that way.
With the reinstatement of the phone booking option, Chase cardholders now have three ways to use Ultimate Rewards® points to fly Southwest.
By phone using Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Cardholders can call the Chase Travel Center at (866) 951-6592 to use Ultimate Rewards® points for their Southwest flights.
For Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders, 1 point used toward travel this way is worth 1.5 cents instead of the standard 1 cent per point. (So, for instance, 10,000 Ultimate Rewards® points would be good for a $150 flight.) Chase Sapphire Preferred® Cardholders receive a 25% bonus on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, bringing their points value to 1.25 cents apiece. In this case, your 10,000 points would be good for a $125 flight.
Tickets redeemed in this manner are registered as if they were paid for with cash instead of points; meaning travelers can receive Southwest Rapid Reward points on the flight and credit toward elite status. In contrast, tickets booked directly with Southwest Rapid Rewards points won’t accrue additional points or count toward elite status.
By statement credit
Holders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can simply book travel on Southwest using the card, then offset the purchase by redeeming the cost of the flight as a statement credit.
By using this strategy, cardholders forfeit the 50% point bonus awarded to travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel center. However, as with tickets booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards® Travel via phone, cardholders will still earn Southwest Rapid Reward points and move toward elite status.
By point transfer
Points enthusiasts can always transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to Southwest Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 transfer ratio. This may or may not be the best redemption strategy, depending on which Chase card you have and the cash cost of the ticket.
Still, it’s a perk to have the option to transfer points between programs, especially to top up your Rapid Rewards account if you’re just short of the amount you need for a ticket.