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One of the more frustrating parts of redeeming points for Southwest flights has been the inability to book those flights via travel portals from Chase, Amex, Citi, and others. Sure, you could pick up the phone and call to make these bookings, but it's 2023. Well, nearly 2024 at this point. Luckily, we may have just moved into the 21st century.
Southwest Airlines flights are now showing in the Chase Travel portal (as first pointed out on Reddit), making it a step in the right direction for convenience. And while this may not seem like a big development, this newfound ability to book flights online comes at an especially convenient time as Southwest plans to devalue its points in 2024.
Here's why this new feature matters — and what you should be careful of before confirming your reservation.
Booking Southwest Flights With Chase Points Before Now
Sure, you could always move your Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest. After all, Southwest is one of Chase's transfer partners. Points transfer from Chase to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio and tend to show up immediately in your Rapid Rewards account.
So why the fuss?
Until now, you had two options for booking Southwest flights with your Chase points: Either call Chase Travel to book or transfer points to Southwest Rapid Rewards. Given that so many other ways to use Chase points provide better value, having to call to book Southwest flights fell low on the list.
Buying a flight with your Chase points has the advantage of counting as a paid flight. That means you'll earn points when you take the flight. Plus, booking a Southwest flight can provide better value than transferring points to Southwest. That's especially true for those with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which allows cardholders to redeem their Ultimate Rewards through Chase Travel at 1.5¢ apiece.
Booking Southwest flights through the Chase Travel Portal also gives cardholders with no-annual-fee credit cards a way of booking Southwest points with their earnings, as these cardholders don't have the option to transfer points to Southwest.
Now: Booking Southwest Flights Online Using Chase Points
Who wants to wait on the phone to book a flight? Not us. It's much better to be able to see your flight options and book directly online. Plus, you won't have to go through the trouble of reading off your name, date of birth, trusted traveler number, Chase card information, etc.
Finding your Southwest flights in the Chase portal is obviously simpler, but there's a huge catch here. The flights are sometimes considerably more expensive.
Consider this flight on March 23, 2024 from Los Angeles (LAX) to Las Vegas (LAS). The 9:50 p.m. flight (flight 487) prices at $44 when purchasing directly from Southwest.
In the Chase portal, that same fare is $83 — nearly double the price!
However, not all flights priced differently. This flight from Atlanta (ATL) to Orlando (MCO) on March 13, 2024 prices the same. It's $99 from Southwest.
And it costs the same $99 through Chase.
The moral of the story is that you should definitely comparison shop.
It's also worth pointing out the timing here. Southwest has announced plans to devalue its points by 4% next year, so gaining another option for using your points online (and seeing the prices clearly, rather than someone telling you over the phone) is great. Prices may shift in Chase's favor starting next year.
The ability to book Southwest flights in the Chase portal (rather than needing to call) is excellent news for those who want to use their Chase points for Southwest flights. It provides an extra layer of ease. But make sure you aren't paying more for this convenience. Some flights we saw were priced higher (sometimes much higher) in Chase's portal than what Southwest was charging on its website.
As Southwest moves to devalue its points in the new year, the ability to book online with the Chase portal may gain additional fans.
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