Chase has just announced that starting January 5, 2012, Southwest Rapid Rewards will become a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, the program associated with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Ink Bold card.
Oddly Southwest has been the “missing link” for a while, given that you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to just about any program they have a co-branded credit card with, including British Airways, Continental, and United on the airline front, and Hyatt, Marriott, and Priority Club on the hotel front.
Now of course I’m not rushing to transfer points to Southwest, but it’s yet another option that makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred card the most well rounded card in the industry.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is literally a Chase “super card,” worth well more than the $95 annual fee that comes with it. Hell, if they added a couple more benefits, they could slap on an American Express Platinum-esque annual fee and probably get away with it.
Per The Points Guy, the redemption values are something like this:
Southwest points can be redeemed towards any Southwest flight and each point varies in value depending on the type of fare you redeem for.
Wanna Get Away: 1.67 cents per point
Anytime: 1 cent per point
Business Select: .83 cents per point
I really have to wonder about the economics behind these cards as they relate to their airline and hotel partners. In other words, aren’t the airlines and hotels slowly getting miffed that Chase has created a card that earns more points for everyday spend than the individual card with the program does?
Take the Chase Southwest Visa, for example, which earns one point per dollar on all purchases and two points per dollar on select travel categories. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers the same, not to mention there’s a 7% annual points dividend, so you’re really earning more points for booking a ticket on Southwest with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card than you are with the Chase Southwest Visa. And that doesn’t even factor in that Ultimate Rewards points are so much more flexible than Rapid Rewards points, since you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points instantly to all of the above programs. The only thing worth noting is that points transfers from Ultimate Rewards don’t count towards a Southwest companion pass.
As more and more savvy consumers turn to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, I have to wonder at which point Chase will get a bit of backlash from the airlines.
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