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If you have one of the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® credit cards, you were probably doing a little happy dance when they recently announced nonstop flights from California to Hawaii. Southwest even offered a limited time, promotional $49 fare (which sold out before you could say Honolulu). If you weren’t able to grab the $49 fare, don’t be too bummed. You can still use your Southwest Rapid Rewards® credit card points to help get you to Hawaii.

Hawaii webcams

Here is Southwest Airlines’ current line-up of credit cards:

Here’s are a few different options to use your points to get you to Hawaii.

First, calculate your points

The general rule of thumb for rewards miles or any credit card rewards is that they are usually worth $0.01 each. Figure out the value of your points based on Southwest’s Wanna Get Away fare, which is the lowest priced fares they offer.

At the time of writing, a roundtrip ticket from Oakland to Hawaii will run you over $450 (plus $48 for taxes) on Southwest’s Wanna Get Away fare.

If you were to use points to get to Honolulu on that same flight, it would run you about 33,000 points for a roundtrip flight on their Wanna Get Away fare. That means the points value for this flight would be about 1.37 cents per mile.

Generally speaking, points from Rapid Rewards will run you about:

  • 1.5 cents per point for Wanna Get Away fares
  • 1.1 cents per point when you use them for Southwest’s more pricey Anytime fares
  • 0.9 cents per point for the Business Select fares

Of course, this was with my example. However, these numbers are a good general estimate.

Option 1: Transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Airlines

If you use Chase credit cards that are part of Chase Ultimate Rewards and have some points to spare, you can transfer them directly to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account at full value, anytime. Your transfer rate will be at a 1:1 rate and you can do this right on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website that is linked to your credit card.

Since Southwest Airlines is one of Chase’s 13 travel partners, you can transfer in 1,000-point increments to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account.

The following credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards points:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Freedom®
  • Chase Freedom® Unlimited
  • Ink Business Preferred® Card
  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

You can also transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to Southwest at a 3:1 ratio.

Note that you can transfer points to your Southwest account but won’t be able to move them back to your Chase credit card account.

Should you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Airlines?

You probably need to do some thinking before you transfer your points from Ultimate Rewards to Southwest, which is perfectly understandable. Here are some things to consider if you’re not familiar with flying Southwest.

Here’s the good:

  • Southwest consistently offers low-cost fares
  • You get two free checked bags (other airlines charge around $30 for the first checked bag)
  • Flexible change and cancellation — they don’t charge fees if you change your flight. If you cancel your award ticket, you can get your miles refunded.
  • The infamous Southwest Companion pass — your spouse, buddy, bestie, lover, neighbor, etc. can fly with you for free (minus taxes and fees for the ticket). You can earn this pass after accumulating 125,000 points for one calendar year.

Here’s the not-so-good:

  • They don’t offer as many routes as major airlines.
  • There’s no assigned seating.
  • There’s no first-class or business seating.
  • Points expire after 24 months if there is no activity in your account. As long as you keep your account active, i.e. use your Southwest credit card, buy points, book a hotel, it should not be a problem.

Take all of this into consideration, especially if you live near an airport that Southwest is part of.

Option 2: Book Southwest Airlines travel through Ultimate Rewards

Use can also use the Ultimate Rewards portal to book or redeem your Southwest travel, which gives you more value for your points.

Specifically, you may earn:

You’ll have to call in order to book your flight since Southwest flights don’t show up in an Ultimate Rewards search. Call a Chase travel advisor at 866-951-6592 to book a Southwest flight.

More Ways to Earn Points (to Get you to Hawaii) with Southwest Airlines

southwest airlines hawaii
A beautiful sunrise in Kaanapali, Maui.

If you’re a Rapid Rewards member, you can earn the following points for tickets you buy on Southwest:

  • Wanna Get Away: 6X points per dollar on the base fare
  • Anytime fares: 10X points per dollar on the base fare
  • Business Select fares: 12X points per dollar on the base fare

Don’t forget to maximize on points for certain spending categories for your Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card.

Use your Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card to buy your Southwest Airlines ticket online or make purchases on their Rapid Rewards Hotel and car rental partners to earn 2 points per $1.

Pro tip: Sign up for Rapid Rewards Dining program to earn 3 points per $1 spent at restaurants in their dining program.

Before You Pack Your Bags (Remember, the First Two are Free on Southwest Airlines)

If you find yourself traveling frequently on Southwest, it may make sense for you to consider transferring your points. Maximize your points by using your Chase Ultimate Rewards with your Southwest Rapid Rewards account. Once you understand how it works, it’s a pretty straightforward process that can be completed instantly on Ultimate Rewards.


Non-stop routes from California to Hawaii are available in the following airports via Southwest Airlines:

  • Nonstop San Jose to Honolulu flights start May 5, 2019
  • Nonstop San Jose to Maui flights start May 26, 2019
  • Inter-island flights from Honolulu to both Kona and Maui start May 12, 2019

Also, if you don’t already have one of Southwest Airlines’ credit cards, here’s a brief rundown:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Annual fee: $149
  • Perks: $75 annual Southwest travel credit, four boarding upgrades per year, 7,500 bonus points on your anniversary
  • Bonus offer: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Perks: 6,000 bonus points on your anniversary
  • Bonus offer: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Annual fee: $69
  • Perks: 3,000 bonus points on your anniversary
  • Bonus offer: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Perks: 6,000 bonus points on your anniversary
  • Bonus offer: 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

  • Annual fee: $199
  • Perks: 9,000 bonus points on your anniversary
  • Bonus offer: Earn up to 100,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points. New cardholders earn 70,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, they’ll earn an additional 30,000 points after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.

Are you planning a trip to Hawaii using your Southwest credit card? Let us know in the comments below.

Claire Tak

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

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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.

2 Comments On "Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards & Ultimate Rewards to See Hawaii"
  1. TD2304|

    If I no longer hold one of SW Rapid rewards card but still have the points in my rapid rewards account, can I apply for a Chase Ink card and transfer the bonus points to my RR account to use on travel?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Yes, you absolutely can!

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