Chase Ultimate Rewards has just launched its latest transfer bonus, which some members may want to take advantage of.
Chase offering 20% bonus on Southwest transfers
Chase is offering a 20% bonus when you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards. This bonus is valid through Saturday, October 31, 2020.
The bonus isn’t hard-coded into the transfer ratio, meaning that when you transfer Ultimate Rewards points you won’t see the bonus on the transfer page. While the standard Southwest Rapid Rewards points will post to your account immediately, it could take up to a couple of days for the 20% bonus to show up.
Chase is offering a 20% bonus on points transfers to Southwest
Should you transfer Chase points to Southwest?
This is the first time we’re ever seeing a transfer bonus from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest Rapid Rewards, so the promotion is noteworthy in that sense.
Southwest Rapid Rewards is a revenue based frequent flyer program, which means that redemption values are tied closely to the cost of a paid ticket.
As a general rule of thumb, at the time this article was posted, you could expect that Southwest points can be redeemed at the following rates towards ticket costs:
- Southwest Airlines Wanna Get Away fares cost 76-78 points per dollar
- Southwest Airlines Anytime fares cost 78 points per dollar
- Business Select fares cost 78 points per dollar
At the time of posting, I valued Southwest Rapid Rewards points at about 1.3 cents each, because that’s roughly the rate at which they can be redeemed towards flights.
With a 20% transfer bonus you’re getting 1.2 Southwest points per Chase point, meaning that each Chase point is getting you roughly ~1.56 cents towards the cost of a flight on Southwest.
I’d say that’s a decent redemption opportunity, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a slam dunk:
- Personally I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, based on the ability to transfer them to programs like Singapore KrisFlyer, World of Hyatt, etc., which can offer outsized value for premium redemptions
- Ultimate Rewards points can also be redeemed for 1.25-1.5 cents towards the cost of a travel purchase, or at the same rate towards groceries and dining through the Chase “Pay Yourself Back” program
- 1.56 cents per point is a marginally better redemption rate than you’d get redeeming Chase points for 1.5 cents each towards other purchases, but there are pros and cons to each redemption option (for example, when you redeem Southwest points towards a flight you’re not earning points, so you’re giving up some value there)
- While points earned on co-branded Southwest Airlines cards count towards Southwest Companion Pass, points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards don’t
If you’re a Southwest loyalist, and/or if you have Southwest Companion Pass, this promotion could make sense. But personally I wouldn’t be speculatively transferring points to Southwest to take advantage of this.
Transferring Chase points to Southwest could be a marginally good deal
How often does Chase have transfer bonuses?
In the history of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, this is only the third-ever transfer bonus:
- In April 2019, Chase offered a 20% bonus on points transfers to British Airways Executive Club, which potentially represented a good deal
- In August 2020, Chase offered a 60% bonus on points transfers to IHG Rewards Club, which absolutely didn’t represent a good deal, as I only value IHG points at 0.5 cents each
Of the four major transferable points currencies, Chase offers the fewest transfer bonus, though maybe we’re slowly seeing that trend change over time.
This is only the third transfer bonus we’ve seen from Chase
Which Chase cards earn Ultimate Rewards points?
The following three cards directly earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® (review)
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review)
Then the following four cards can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but only if you also have at least one of the above three cards:
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review)
- Chase Freedom FlexSM (review)
- Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (review)
- Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (review)
Quite a few cards potentially earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Chase Ultimate Rewards is offering its third-ever transfer bonus, and its first-ever transfer bonus to Southwest Rapid Rewards. Currently you can get a 20% bonus when you transfer Chase points to Southwest.
I’d say this is potentially a reasonably decent deal, but by no means an amazing one. You can essentially get a bit over 1.5 cents of Southwest airfare per Ultimate Rewards points, which is marginally better than the 1.5 cent threshold for otherwise redeeming Chase points.
Do you plan on transferring Chase points to Southwest?
FWIW, I transferred points tonight and the bonus came through for me within a few minutes.
I think the answer is no, but would these URs transferred to SW count toward companion pass?
Chase needs to add value to the Ultimate Rewards ecosystem. Their airline partners have devalued so much that the points are now much less valuable. I am steering folks to Amex.