Trouble Booking Southwest Flights Online With Chase Points? Here’s What to Do

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A few weeks ago, we let you know the Chase travel portal is now powered by Expedia.  And while that’s mostly a good change, there’s one drawback.

You can’t book Southwest flights with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points – either online or by calling – for the cards using Expedia’s platform.

Chase wants to change this.  But for now, your only options might be a statement credit, booking by phone, or transferring your points directly to Southwest, depending which card you have!

Kristi B Success Story
If You Want to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Southwest Flights Online, You’ll Have to Be Patient While Chase Works on Their New Booking Platform

I’ll share what we know so far!

Trouble for Some Folks Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Book Southwest Flights

Link:   Expedia Is Now Powering the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

We reported the Chase travel portal was revamped for Chase Freedom cardholders (Chase Freedom® & Chase Freedom Unlimited®).  When you search for travel, you’ll notice it runs through Expedia.  You cannot book Southwest flights either online or phone with points from these cards.

Other cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, will change to the new platform this fall – but we don’t know exactly when.  So for now, you can still use points earned with these cards to book Southwest flights via phone.

Chase Freedom Cardholders Get the Same 1 Cent per Point Rate Whether They Book Travel or Get a Statement Credit.  But Chase Sapphire Cardholders Need to Run Their Numbers When Booking With Southwest

When you book travel with a Chase Freedom® & Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, your points are worth 1 cent per point – the same as when you redeem them for a statement credit.  So you can book the flight directly through Southwest, then redeem your points later for a statement credit.

But folks with a Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred card get better rates booking travel through Chase’s travel portal:

Chase Ultimate Rewards CardHow Much Are Points Worth Toward Travel?
Chase Freedom1 cent
Chase Freedom Unlimited1 cent
Chase Sapphire (no longer available)1 cent
Chase Sapphire Preferred1.25 cents
Chase Sapphire Reserve1.5 cents
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card1 cent
Chase Ink Bold (no longer available)1.25 cents
Chase Ink Plus (no longer available)1.25 cents
Chase Ink Business Preferred1.25 cents

I called Chase to confirm you can still book Southwest flights over the phone with points earned from these cards for now.  And, those cards all let you transfer your points directly to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio.

Southwest points are worth ~1.43 to ~1.5 cents on average, so you usually get the same or better deal by transferring them.  But not always!

Also, you don’t earn Southwest points when you take an award flight, so you won’t get credit toward elite status or a Companion Pass.  Sometimes it’s better to book through Chase because those flights are treated like cash payments.

I asked the agent if Chase anticipates trouble once all cards are on the Expedia platform, but she wasn’t certain.  And said Chase definitely knows about this and is working on a solution.  So hopefully they’ll figure it out before all Ultimate Rewards earning cards switch to the new system.

Bottom Line

If you have a Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred card, you’ll notice you can’t book Southwest flights through the Chase travel portal.  But you can still book over the phone using your points.  Or potentially transfer your points directly to Southwest to get a better deal.

Folks with a Chase Freedom® or Chase Freedom Unlimited® card can NOT book online or over the phone, but it doesn’t materially affect them because their points are worth 1 cent each no matter how they’re used.

Hopefully, Chase will fix these issues soon.  We will keep you posted when we know more!

Hat Tip:   The Points Guy