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People often ask me, “What’s the best Chase credit card for travel I should try for?” I’ve had some friends and readers ask if they should go for the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Southwest credit card. I almost always recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards can be great too.

However, it’s a tricky situation since Chase will most likely decline you for either credit card if you’ve applied for 5+ cards in the last 24 months, so you’ll want to choose wisely. Luckily, we are going to break down the pros and cons of these cards to help you make the best decision.

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Southwest Credit Cards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Southwest Credit Card

So if you’re wondering if the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Southwest Credit Card makes the most sense for you, here’s my advice…

Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred if…

1) You like to travel internationally

I love to travel abroad. That’s where the real value is when we’re talking miles & points, especially when you’re redeeming points for international premium cabin flights. These flights can get up to the $10,000 mark! I don’t think I will ever be in a financial situation where I could pay that kind of coin for a plane ticket.

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  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
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I’ve used Ultimate Rewards points earned from my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card towards premium cabin flights on Lufthansa (many times), Thai Air, and Singapore Airlines. It’s a little sexier than using my Southwest Rapid Rewards to fly to, say, San Diego. Even though I love San Diego, Las Vegas, and many other domestic destinations, buying those plane tickets with $$ is more feasible than paying for international travel.

chase sapphire preferred southwest credit cards
Lufthansa A380 first class can be booked through United with Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Plus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has updated its signup bonus.

New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $1250 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This is the highest bonus offer ever for the Chase Sapphire Preferred!

It also has no foreign transaction fee, which makes it great for international travel. The Southwest Premier card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, but the Plus has a 3% fee.

It’s worth noting that you can fly to some Mexico/Caribbean locations with Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

2) You want a solid daily card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is hands-down a better daily card. You earn unlimited 2x Ultimate Rewards points on dining, including takeout and delivery, and travel worldwide. Plus, the annual fee is only $95.

On top of that, there are some added perks that can be used frequently. You can read more about them below or visit our other post about the 7 best perks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

3) You don’t like boarding like a herd of cattle

I have a love/hate relationship with Southwest. I usually enjoy the customer service, but I dread the boarding process even when I’m not in the A group. I’m usually traveling with a companion, so there’s always that awkward moment when I’m holding a seat, trying not to make eye contact with the people passing by. It’s a cluster.

What’s worse is when the departing plane already has passengers on it and they’ve taken all the good seats. How dare they! I’ve even paid for the privilege of boarding first (Early Bird), only to find the cabin already full of people when I boarded.

4) You want respect

This isn’t really an important point, but I remember the first time I pulled my Sapphire Preferred out of the envelope. I almost dropped it. This is a legit card that’s heavy and made out of real metal. Every time a friend or family member gets the Chase Sapphire Preferred, they always call me afterward pumped about how cool it looks, and how every time they pay with it, the cashier is blown away by its sleek design.

Adding to the aesthetic delight, Chase put the numbers on the back of the card. Brilliant. Anyway, it’s just a cooler card than the Southwest cards, for what that’s worth.

5) You like the flexibility

Ultimate Rewards points transfer into Southwest anyway. Plus, they are extremely flexible because they can be transferred into many other top travel programs such as Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, United, British Airways, and Air France. Yeah, great options.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners can help keep points active.

6) You shop online or want to maximize your rewards

The Sapphire Preferred gives you access to the point-maximizing Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Don’t buy anything online without seeing if you can earn an extra point bonus by shopping through the UR portal. It’s legit, and a great way to double-dip if your Ultimate Rewards card gets a category bonus already. For example, Kohl’s randomly will have a 10x Ultimate Rewards bonus.

7) You will use the additional Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits

Additional Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits include unlimited deliveries with no delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with a DoorDash DashPass subscription. Activate your card by December 31, 2021.

Cardholders also earn 5x points on Lyft rides, through March 2022. 

Additionally, cardholders can earn up to $60 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021.

Points are worth 25% more now through Sept. 30, 2021, when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature.

Points are also worth 25% more when redeemed through the new Chase Dining hub in Ultimate Rewards, now through Sept. 30, 2021.

Let’s move along in this Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Southwest Credit Card comparison.

Get the Southwest Airlines Credit Card if…

So, I made a really strong case for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card there, but here are a couple of reasons why you would choose a Southwest card over the Sapphire Preferred. They are:

1) You can make special use of the multiple versions

There are more options to choose from with the Southwest-branded cards. There are the personal Southwest credit cards and business Southwest credit cards, so you have options.

2) You want to travel only domestically (though there are a couple of international routes available)

If you want to only travel domestically and/or Southwest services your specific routes best, then it’s a no-brainer to go for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

It’s still a close call though because I often use Ultimate Rewards points to transfer to British Airways Avios for short-haul domestic flights.

Photo Credit: Stephen M. Keller, Southwest Airlines Co.

3) You want the Southwest Companion Pass

This is the biggest perk of the Southwest loyalty program and is probably the best domestic travel deal…in the world. To receive the Southwest Companion Pass you must earn 125,000 qualifying miles in a calendar year. The Companion Pass allows you to bring a guest with you on revenue and award flights. It’s nice.

To truly maximize on the Companion Pass, you want to meet the qualifications as early in the year as possible. That’s because you receive the Companion Pass for the remainder of the year you met the 125,000 tier in, plus the full year following.

And just so you know the points earned from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card do count towards the Companion Pass.

Plus, you can redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.

Signup Bonus Offer

New (consumer) Southwest Airlines credit cardholders can earn 65,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. 

Additionally, Southwest consumer cards earn 2x points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases.

Note that points (Ultimate Rewards/hotels) transferred into Southwest do not count towards the Companion Pass.

Conclusion

So, between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Southwest credit cards, which one works best? I have had both of the Chase Sapphire Preferred (still have) and Southwest cards and enjoyed the specific benefits of each one. But, I value international travel, especially in premium cabins, higher than domestic travel. However, the Companion Pass is a very good deal if you can reach the qualifications and will be flying from the Southwest hubs. If you’re looking for which credit card to try for, look at what best suits your spending and your travel goals.

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Southwest Credit Card:

Advertisement

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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APPLY NOW
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

27 Comments On "Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Southwest Credit Card?"
  1. Anonymous|

    Omg I’ve been trying to decide between these exact 2 cards for a while!! Good to know that at least I picked the top contenders…. Does the Companion Pass let you bring another person on for free? Or is it just giving you the option of sharing your points??

    1. Anonymous|

      Hi Lucy. The Companion Pass lets you bring a passenger with you for free. You don’t actually share the points, it’s just priced as one ticket. You will pick one special person in your life to be your companion for upcoming revenue or award flights. You can change this person (up to two times) if you would like in the future. Hope this helps!

      1. Anonymous|

        Wow! that’s pretty sweet. Decisions, decisions….

        thanks for the info! keep it up!

        1. Anonymous|

          You really can’t go wrong with the Sapphire Preferred or Southwest cards. It’s a win, win.

  2. Anonymous|

    I love love your new website re-design… I loved your old one too, great job Geoff, your loyal reader – Geno

    1. Anonymous|

      Thanks Geno! I’m glad you like the remodel.

  3. Anonymous|

    I’m one of those people who don’t have the Sapphire Preferred, and don’t understand the hype. I personally prefer Membership Rewards points and their partners.

    1. Anonymous|

      Nothing wrong with Membership Rewards points. I encourage readers to earn both. :)

  4. Anonymous|

    I was on the fence about the Sapphire Preferred until I learned more about the ultimate rewards program with Chase. As this blog explains those points are the most flexible of all the reward programs.

    1. Anonymous|

      Agreed! Earning Ultimate Rewards points is my #1 strategy, but it’s still important to diversify.

  5. Anonymous|

    What are your thoughts on applying for these cards on the same day? I want them both!

    1. Anonymous|

      First only apply for credit cards if your credit score is in good condition, and you can handle the minimum spending requirements. It is possible to get two Chase cards on the same day, but I suggest doing one personal and one business card if possible.

  6. Anonymous|

    Thanks for the info, as i was having a difficult time deciding between these two cards. Is the Sapphire a mastercard or visa?

    1. Anonymous|

      I’m glad you liked the post. The Sapphire Preferred is a Visa credit card.

  7. Anonymous|

    I went through your site, I hope you get credit

    1. Anonymous|

      Thanks for the support. I truly appreciate it!

  8. Anonymous|

    So I just applied and was approved for the Southwest premier card but now I think I should have went with the Sapphire. What would happen if I went and applied for the Sapphire?

    1. Anonymous|

      It’s possible to get two personal cards – if your score is in good condition, and you haven’t applied for any other Chase cards recently. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions.

  9. Anonymous|

    For the 110k miles, do you have to earn all of them within Jan 1 – Dec 31st of a year? Or is 12 months from when you get the card? Or is it more like your Southwest points will just amass over the years, and whenever you pass 110k, you get the companion flights?

    1. Anonymous|

      You need to earn 110,000 miles in a calendar year to qualify for the Companion Pass. Hope this helps!

  10. Anonymous|

    As you mentioned you can transfer sapphire points to southwest rapid rewards, so you would have the southwest card for what other reason, thnaks

    1. Anonymous|

      Personally, I have both cards. :) The SW card does come with a nice sign-up bonus, and you can earn more point per $1 on SW purchases.

      1. Anonymous|

        Doesn’t the Sapphire card give 2X points for travel purchases? If so, wouldn’t it be comparable to the Rapid Rewards card for that reason? I’m looking at getting the RR card(s) for the Companion pass, and then getting the Sapphire for regular use afterwards.

  11. Anonymous|

    What does 110,000 qualifying miles actually break down to? Like how many times would you have to travel/how far to earn that many miles, and if you do not earn them all in one year, do they continue to build or do you start fresh every year?

    Also, can you combine chase sapphire and chase freedom ultimate rewards with rapid rewards points, or are they separate points?

    1. Anonymous|

      Yes, you can combine your Freedom points to the Sapphire Preferred, so you can then transfer out to Ultimate Rewards points.

  12. valerie|

    Should you do the Chase sapphire reserve or Chase sapphire preferred?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      It really depends on your travel needs and spending, but both are great cards. I slightly prefer the Sapphire Preferred.

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