Information was collected on Jan 7, 2012.
Chase Bank on Jan. 5 announced a new partnership with Southwest Airlines that will allow Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, and Ink Bold cardholders to transfer their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards accounts instantly and at full value. The move comes just a few months after the October announcement of a similar relationship between Chase and United Airlines and significantly increases the value of Chase rewards credit cards.
“By adding Southwest to its network of rewards affiliates, Chase is continuing its efforts to build the ultimate co-branded credit card,” WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou said. “A Chase credit card can now act like a centralized hub for rewards points, which the customer can then deploy to different rewards programs depending on their needs. This gives Chase credit card customers the opportunity to redeem for travel with some of the world’s leading airlines, hotel chains, and railroad companies, in addition to the standard merchandise, cash back, gift cards, etc. The fact that you don’t sacrifice value in doing so also provides a stark contrast to most other points credit cards, which usually only allow full-value redemption for one type of good or service.”
Chase’s stable of rewards partners now includes the likes of British Airways, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Korean Air, Hyatt Hotels, Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Amtrak, and of course, Southwest Airlines. That means that any Sapphire or Ink credit card can now serve as a de facto affinity card for all of these companies simultaneously, and people other than the most brand-loyal customers can now truly benefit from a card offering company-affiliated rewards.
As was the case with the partnership between Chase and United, the Chase-Southwest joint venture creates an interesting opportunity for savvy consumers. Both the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card credit cards offer great rewards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, offers twice as many points – the Rapid Rewards Plus and Rapid Rewards Premier charge $69 and $99, respectively. That means Chase now offers a better Southwest-oriented initial bonus than the Southwest-branded credit cards themselves.
Furthermore, the Chase credit cards eligible for point transfers (Preferred, Ink Bold, and Ink Plus) do not have foreign transaction fees either, which should be music to the ears of consumers looking for travel rewards to help pay for overseas journeys. This also perhaps indicates a growing trend in the overall credit card industry – Discover recently joined Capital One in abolishing such fees for all of its cards.