We’re working on one final hurrah for the Companion Pass – I’m going to snag a few vacation days, and we’ll plan 4 or 5 days in Havana, Cuba sometime around the end of the year! Obviously, I couldn’t just let the Companion Pass sit there and collect dust. My pass expires at the end of this year, and I knew I needed to get one more international trip. Southwest’s limited route network left me with a handful of option, and we settled on Cuba.
Only problem? I’m starting to run low on Southwest Rapid Rewards.
In keeping with the theme from earlier this week…that’s where flexible points come in!
So far we’ve got the following trips on the Companion Pass:
- Mexico, August-September 2016
- Washington DC, October 2016
- Chicago, October 2016
- Baltimore MD, February 2017
- Costa Rica, April 2017
- Austin TX, June 2017
- Denver (to visit family in South Dakota), July 2017
- Nashville TN, August 2017
- Chicago, October 2017
- Havana, November 2017
I’d say that makes the Companion Pass totally worth it! I’m working on a post outlining all of the Companion Pass redemptions, the value we got out out of it, and other information, so keep an eye out for that towards the end of this year.
Anyway, with all that extra travel booked this year, you can see how I’m burning through those Rapid Rewards points.
Cue: Flexible points.
Although my Membership Rewards won’t get me anywhere, Southwest is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards and of Marriott. Again, the Marriott points convert in the form of a Travel Package, securing 7 nights in a hotel an addition to some Rapid Rewards. I don’t typically stay in one place for 7 nights, and I don’t have enough Marriott points anyway, but this is a great option when you can use it.
I’ll focus on those Ultimate Rewards. Now, I could book these flights by actually paying with the points themselves, but I’ve opted to transfer the UR points into Southwest Rapid Rewards. There’s two great reasons to transfer in this case:
- Transfers to Southwest are instant. Once submitted, I refreshed my girlfriend’s Southwest account, and the points were in her Rapid Rewards balance in just a few seconds!
- Rapid Rewards offer fantastic flexibility. I can always cancel, and get the Rapid Rewards returned to her account at no charge. This is something I’m really going to miss once my Companion Pass runs out and I’ll be flying other airlines more frequently.
How do I transfer points?
Transferring points from Ultimate Rewards to Rapid Rewards is simple.
Step 1: Log into Chase and Use Points.
Once logged into Chase, click on your Ultimate Rewards balance on the left of your screen, underneath your credit card account. This will link you to the Ultimate Rewards page.
Open the “Use Points” drop-down menu, and then click “Transfer to Travel Partners.”
Step 2: Input your Southwest information, and select the number of points to transfer.
Easy! Make sure you get the right Rapid Rewards number and name, and you’ll be good to go. If this is your first time, you’ll see a page of options to link to. Southwest is at the bottom, and we also get a chance to peruse Chase’s other transfer partners.
If you’ve transferred previously, any linked account will show up at the top of the page as a “saved Frequent Travel Program.” You can see Southwest saved to the right, since I’ve already transferred there.
Step 3: Refresh your Southwest account, and book flights!
Just click the Southwest option, choose the number of points you’d like to send, and confirm!
The process will be instantaneous. I’d allow 5 minutes or so just to be safe, perhaps longer if you have a slow internet connection. At any rate, if it takes longer than 10 minutes, something probably isn’t right. Call Chase to make sure everything is fine on your end, and remember, not all Ultimate Rewards earning cards can transfer their points! This option comes with the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve, but neither the Freedom nor the Freedom Unlimited offer the same level of flexibility.
After experimenting a bit myself, I’m really starting to appreciate the value behind a good balance of flexible rewards. This is my first trip booked using flexible points, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to explore Havana later this year!