Southwest Airlines can now be booked through the Chase Travel Portal. Is it a good deal?


Update 11/20/23: Over the weekend we did a test booking of a Southwest Wanna Get Away Plus fare using Ultimate Rewards from Nick’s account in the Chase Travel Portal. The good news is that we were able to confirm that it is possible to apply a companion pass to these tickets. The bad news, as we feared, is that Nick was not able to make changes to the ticket through the app/Southwest website. It gave him a pop-up message, telling him that all changes need to be processed though the travel agency (in this case, Chase). When he cancelled, the funds were not processed as a Southwest credit, but as a Chase Travel credit (meaning that it can only be used towards a booking with Chase Travel). With this being the case, I’d prefer not to use Chase for even moderately speculative bookings.

Original post follows


Southwest Airlines usually can’t be found on online travel sites like Expedia, Google, etc. This is because it wants us to purchase tickets directly from its own website, so it can avoid having to pay commissions to a third party. This has historically applied to the various bank travel portals as well, such as Chase, Amex and Citi.

This week, a Reddit user discovered that Southwest is now appearing as an option on the Chase Travel Portal. Southwest is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, so it’s long been possible to use Chase points to book Southwest flights. What makes this an interesting opportunity is that Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can use their points to purchase travel at 1.5 cents each through the portal, which now applies to Southwest as well. In addition, purchasing through Chase Portal counts as a paid fare, so you’d earn additional Rapid Rewards points that you wouldn’t earn if booking an award flight.

Rapid Rewards points are worth ~1.4 cents each towards booking its flights, when you factor in fees and taxes. This means that, theoretically as a Sapphire Reserve cardholder, it should be a better deal to purchase through the Chase Travel Portal than to transfer points to Southwest and book award flights directly.

Let’s see if it really is.

screens screenshot of a flight scheduleThe Deal

Things to Know

  • Southwest offers easy cancellation and your Rapid Rewards points will go right back into your account. If you book through Chase, a cancellation will be processed as a credit with Chase Travel that’s good towards future bookings (instead of your originally transferrable points or a credit to your Southwest account).
  • If a fare drops in price, you can easily rebook with Southwest. Again, this will be a hassle with Chase, as you’ll need to contact them to process the change and the difference in price will end up as a Chase Travel credit.
  • Flights booked through the Chase Travel Portal with Ultimate Rewards will earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points and 5x Ultimate Rewards for booking through the travel portal. Southwest award tickets that are booked directly will not.
two men standing in front of a plane
Nick and Greg would still be able to travel together on a companion pass if they booked through the Chase Travel Portal

Chase Travel Portal vs.

It looks to me like Chase only has access to Southwest’s two lowest fares classes: Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away Plus.

Here’s what a comparison looks like between Chase and Southwest on a non-stop, one-way flight between Seattle and San Jose. First, the fares that are listed on Chase:

screens screenshot of a flight ticket

In two cases, Chase is offering both Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away Plus fares. All three Wanna Get Away tickets are pricing at $104.

Here’s what we see for the same flight on

a screenshot of a website

Interesting. Both of the Wanna Get Away Plus fares that Chase is offering are the same price as Southwest. But 2/3 of the cheapest Wanna Get Away fares are 14% higher.

If you compare the points prices on the one flight that does have an equal Wanna Get Away price, the 11:10am, booking through Chase will cost you 6,932 Ultimate Rewards points:

a white background with black text

Booking through Southwest will cost you 6,879 Rapid Rewards points + $5.60, seemingly less points than Chase:

a screenshot of a website

The reason why this is the case is that Southwest points are only worth 1.2 cents per point (cpp) towards the base fare. But, Southwest waives many of the taxes and fees on an award ticket, which is why the value tends to be closer to 1.4cpp when all is said and done. Booking through Chase, you’re paying for all of those fees, even though the points are actually worth more in “cash value.” The cheaper a ticket is, the higher a proportion of the total cost those fees will tend to be.

It should also be noted that booking through Chase would earn you an additional 482 Rapid Rewards points because it counts as a paid fare. So, in reality, it would actually cost 7,361 points to book via Southwest. Booking through Chase would save you 429 points or about $6.44 in value based on our Reasonable Redemption Value for Ultimate Rewards. Add in the $5.60 that you have pay in taxes on the Southwest award ticket and the difference is closer to $12 on a $104 fare.

The more expensive the fare is (and thus, the lower a proportion of the total cost fees and taxes are), the larger that number becomes. But, the percentage difference seems to be never be more than 6-10%.

a blue airplane stuffed toy on a counter

Quick Thoughts

In my quick spin around Southwest fares on the Chase Portal, it seemed like the majority of the more expensive Wanna Get Away Plus fares were the same price as booking direct with Southwest. The majority of the cheaper Wanna Get Away fares were more expensive.

To my mind, it might not be worth using Ultimate Rewards to book Southwest flights through the portal if:

  • The fare that you want to purchase is cheaper on Southwest. The difference in cost will most likely offset the difference in point value and not be worth the trouble
  • You’re unsure if you’ll actually be taking the flight. The hassle to make changes/cancel might not be worth the points savings.

In the event that the prices are equivalent and you’re reasonably sure that you’ll be taking the flight, it could be worth considering, especially after Southwest devalues their points on January 1st. After that, I would expect the spread between the points cost of booking with Ultimate Rewards directly vs. transferring to Southwest to grow closer to 9-13%. On more expensive redemptions, that juice might be worth the squeeze.

Want to learn more about miles and points? Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Spicy B

Calculus also changes a bit if you are an infrequent SW flyer with a zero RR balance. Transferring will require orphaning some points in RR. However I always have a balance of UR just sitting there also so I guess it could be a wash since neither earn interest.


If you can get the same prices, buying cash through Chase seems like it could be a winner because of the extra UR in the portal.

Allan Sanchez

I imagine booking with Chase vs Southwest is a better cash saver for international flights to Mexico with high taxes. I’d you can cover the entire flight including taxes with Chase points it’s a better deal than to transfer to Southwest and pay the taxes cash.

Curtis Leasure

I assume there still isn’t a way to have the total points spent count toward companion pass status?

Liam Ran

Question – if you book a SWA flight through the Chase Travel Portal and attach your RR number, wouldn’t it be easy to cancel your reservation after 24 hours? All we had to do was to click the “CANCEL” button and the credit would go back to your account.


I’d love to know how your experiment turned out. I don’t care what they charge for tickets–I’d just like a way to turn UR in SW credits at $.015. Thanks!


Thanks for the info. Bummer! Pre-pandemic I used to cash out UR for SW flights back when you had to call in to book SW tickets. Back then canceled itineraries were treated as a credit with the airline just like any other canceled flight. Sorry to know that’s not possible anymore, especially now that SW credits never expire. It doesn’t work with Amex either.


nice artical <a href=””> mypromax </a>


How odd that Chase and Southwest held hands and got themselves to a point where Southwest’s currency was the lesser way to book awards.


A data point on pricing and using $$$ to buy a ticket using the CSR – I was looking at a flight from LGB to STL. The portal, for the Wanna Get Away fare, was $166. SWA came in at $146. Even getting 5x point using the CSR, I don’t think it would be worth it on a flight with that big of a price difference.

Trifecta guy

Not sure if you’re wrong but I have my doubts on the companion pass limitation. If your rapid rewards number is attached why would not be able to book one ticket for yourself then add a companion to that reservation after the fact through Southwest website or by calling southwest?

Do you know for a fact companion pass can’t be used with these? Not doubting your expertise but I’d like a fact check if anyone else can weigh in from personal experience.


Agreed. The companion pass ticket can only be “booked” after the CP holder books so would not think it would matter if you used cash or Chase rewards to book the CP holder’s ticket. It would still show up in your SW account which is where the CP ticket is added anyway.


Thank for the update. Much better news!


I was thinking the same thing.