Are Southwest Points worthwhile, with a Chase Sapphire Reserve?

A friend of mine MilesWhip pointed out to me a rather significant development with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. He pointed out that Southwest Points are no longer valuable if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve. While I don’t fly Southwest often, I do fly Southwest a few times a year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve, courtesy of ThePointsGuy.

Why do I say this? Because, if you go based on the argument that Southwest Points are worth roughly 1.5 cents per point, and you can book travel via the Ultimate Rewards Travel (over the phone), with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you get 1.5 cents per dollar. In other words, you get the same value, however, going through Ultimate Rewards, you can still earn Southwest Points on your flight.

So lets break this down to the options once you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points:

  • You could transfer points to Southwest and then book awards at roughly 1.5 cents of value, and earn nothing for your travel.
  • You could use Ultimate Rewards Travel and book flights on Southwest for 1.5 cents per point, and earn Southwest Points for your travel.
  • You could transfer your ultimate rewards points to United and fly Lufthansa First Class. Ok… maybe not that.

And if you have a Southwest Companion Pass, fear not, booking through Ultimate Rewards Travel is no problem. Book your ticket, then call up Southwest and add in the companion pass. Simple as that.


With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, transferring Ultimate Rewards to Southwest doesn’t make sense. You can actually earn more by booking through Ultimate Rewards.

6 thoughts on “Are Southwest Points worthwhile, with a Chase Sapphire Reserve?

  1. Does the UR Travel site have Southwest flights? I didn’t see any last time I checked.

    And even if this did work, you would lose out on the ability to re-book at a lower rate and get your points back without an expiration date. That’s a big selling point for anyone who flies Southwest frequently.

    • I think you have to call to book Southwest… and if you fly Southwest frequently, why does the limitation of using a credit from a cancelled flight matter? For the infrequent flyer, I could see this as an issue though.

      • The biggest advantage is booking flights speculatively. For example, I travel to a lot of sporting events and usually the game times aren’t announced until a few weeks beforehand. So I might book two flights out – one on Friday night and another Saturday morning – then cancel the one that I ultimately don’t need. Trying to use up hundreds of dollars in vouchers before their expiration date (and trying not to shorten their expiration by combining them inefficiently) would be a lot more difficult than just using points.

        If vouchers never expired then it would be a non-issue, but their currently expiration policy makes points way more valuable to me personally, but I could see how someone with more definitive plans wouldn’t really be affected as much.

    • @Dan – I missed your post – but, yes, in theory, you can get more than 1.5 cpp, but remember, when you are booking with UR points, you earn more points too. So in theory, you’re really getting 3 cpp UR.

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