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Chase just announced a brand new transfer bonus for Ultimate Rewards points. This time, it's for transfers to Southwest Rapid Rewards. Through October 31, 2020, Chase customers can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards and receive a 20% bonus. That means for every 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points you transfer, you'll receive 1,200 Southwest points.
This is only the third transfer bonus Chase has ever offered for Ultimate Rewards, and the second we've seen in two months. I'm going to get into why I think this is a great opportunity. Regardless of whether you opt to use this bonus, it's a great trend to see more Chase transfer bonuses.
Transfer Bonus Key Terms
- Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest and receive a 20% bonus.
- You can receive this bonus for transfers executed through 11:59 PM ET October 31, 2020.
- Chase allows transfers in increments of 1,000 points, with a minimum transfer amount of 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points (1,200 Rapid Rewards points after the 20% bonus).
- There is no limit to the number of points you can transfer under this promotional transfer bonus.
- Points typically transfer between Chase and Southwest instantaneously.
It appears that Southwest is processing the bonus directly, instead of Chase. When you go to complete a transfer, you'll see this little message:
Then, on the confirmation screen, you'll get another pop-up. This one discloses that Southwest will add the 20% bonus after you complete the transfer.
I did a small sample transfer, and sure enough, I can see two separate transactions in my Southwest account. The first is the initial 1:1 transfer, and the second is the 20% bonus.
How Valuable is this Bonus
Unlike Chase's last transfer bonus to IHG, this bonus presents a solid value for Southwest fliers. To demonstrate, I'm afraid I need to use some math.
First, it's important to point out that Southwest utilizes a fixed point value for Rapid Rewards points. After factoring in taxes and fees, Rapid Rewards members usually get between 1.3–1.5¢ per point. This pricing prevents award travelers from receiving outsized value. But, it also means that if the cash price is good, the award price is equally good.
With a 20% transfer bonus, you can get 20% more value from your Ultimate Rewards when transferring to Southwest. Mathematically, this translates into a respectable 1.56–1.8¢ per point.
For example, take this itinerary from Burbank (BUR) to Indianapolis (IND):
While the cash price is $228.98, the award price is 16,692 points.
If you subtract the $5.60 you'll pay for the taxes, this presents a value of 1.33¢ per point:
($228.98-$5.60) / 16,692 = 0.013
However, if you take advantage of Chase's 20% transfer bonus, you'll only need to transfer 14,000 Ultimate Rewards points:
14,000 URs * 1.2 = 16,800 Southwest points
That translates into the rate of 1.6¢ per Ultimate Rewards point:
($228.98-$5.60) / 14,000 = 0.016
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Cardholders
Besides boosting point values for other Ultimate Rewards-earning products, this bonus also changes the award strategy for Southwest fliers who hold a Sapphire Reserve.
With the Sapphire Reserve, you can book travel through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal at a rate of 1.5¢ per point. This is a better value than the 1.3–1.5¢ per point value typically offered on Southwest point redemptions—especially considering portal bookings earn elite-qualifying miles and Rapid Rewards points.
Consequently, Sapphire Reserve cardholders are usually better off booking Southwest flights through the portal instead of transferring points to Southwest. Just note that to book Southwest flights this way, you'll need to call Chase Travel.
However, with a 20% bonus, transferring points to Southwest should deliver even better value than booking through the portal. So, for the next month, I recommend Sapphire Reserve cardmembers transfer points to Southwest instead of booking via the portal.
The only exception is if you're working toward A-List elite status and/or the Companion Pass. If so, you'll still want to book through the portal so you can continue to earn elite-qualifying and Companion Pass-qualifying points.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
- One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
- 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit
- 3X points on dining at restaurants
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest Companion Pass is perhaps the most unique “elite status” of any frequent flyer program. Once earned, Southwest travelers can bring a designated companion along on any flight. You'll only have to pay taxes and fees—which is just $5.60 on many routes.
I'm mentioning the Companion Pass here because your point values are potentially doubled if you have one. That's because the same amount of Ultimate Rewards transferred will allow you to book two tickets total. That's an incredible deal.
Over the course of two months, Chase has tripled the number of transfer bonuses it's ever offered. The latest offers a 20% bonus to Southwest—which is already one of Chase's better transfer partners. This is a fantastic trend that I hope Chase continues.
How do you feel about Chase's 20% transfer bonus from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest?
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