What Happens to My Points If I Cancel a Southwest Flight Booked Through Chase Ultimate Rewards?

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Jim, commented:

If I transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest and book an award flight, I can cancel my flight up to 10 minutes before my flight and get all of my points back.  Can you tell me what happens if I need to cancel a Southwest flight that I booked through Chase using Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

Great question, Jim!

When you cancel a Southwest flight booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you will be reimbursed according to the Southwest cancellation policies.  Just as if you booked directly with Southwest!  But you will not receive your Chase Ultimate Rewards points back.

What Happens To My Points If I Cancel A Southwest Flight Booked Through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Southwest Has the Most Forgiving Cancellation Policy of Any Airline!

I’ll explain Chase’s airline cancellation policies to help you decide if booking with Chase is a good idea for you.

Chase Adopts Each Airline’s Cancellation Policy

Chase doesn’t have its own airfare cancellation policy.  Instead, they use the cancellation policy of the airline you booked through them.  So make sure of the cancellation policies for the airline you want to book!

Chase does have a 24-hour cancellation policy regardless of the airline you book.  Beyond that, you’re subject to the cancellation policy your airline enforces.

So when you book a Southwest flight through Chase Ultimate Rewards, think of it as a direct reservation with Southwest.  You will earn miles on the flight, and you will receive the same cancellation policies offered by Southwest.

When you book a Southwest ticket through Chase Ultimate Rewards, Chase redeems your points, and then purchases a Southwest ticket for you.  In other words, Southwest sees the ticket as being paid in cash.

Because of this, you will not receive any Chase Ultimate Rewards points back when you redeem for travel.  You will receive a Southwest credit (or you can get a a cash refund instead if you cancel within 24 hours of your flight), depending on what type of fare you booked.

What Happens To My Points If I Cancel A Southwest Flight Booked Through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Fly Southwest to Florida and Spend the Winter in the Warmth of West Palm Beach

Note:   Southwest flights do not appear online through the Chase travel portal.  But you can book a Southwest flight through Chase Ultimate Rewards by calling the Chase travel center at 866-951-6592.

Should You Book Your Ticket With Chase or Transfer Points to Southwest?

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents per point towards travel purchases.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it could make sense to buy your ticket through Chase Ultimate Rewards instead of transferring your points to Southwest.  That’s because Southwest points are generally worth about 1.43 cents per point.  However, they fluctuate in value, and can be worth more than 1.5 cents per point, so do the math and make the right decision for your situation!

Plus, when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll earn Southwest points for your flight!  Transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest for an award flight will not earn you any Southwest points.

Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Rewards does not have one cancellation policy for all airlines.  Instead, they adopt each airline’s cancellation policy.

When you book with Southwest, you’ll be held to Southwest’s (generous!) cancellation policies.  So if you book using Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you will not get them back.  You’ll receive a refund for the amount of your cancelled ticket or a Southwest credit, depending on the type of fare you purchased.

So be sure you understand your airline’s cancellation policies before you book, just in case you need to cancel your ticket.

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7 responses to “What Happens to My Points If I Cancel a Southwest Flight Booked Through Chase Ultimate Rewards?

  1. “or you can get a a cash refund instead if you cancel within 24 hours of your flight”

    Please explain this. I can use UR points (by calling) to reserve a flight, then cancel the flight and score a cash refund?

  2. It’s true, a 24hr cancellation gets a full refund, but the refund goes to the original form of payment. Meaning if UR’s travel department uses their own credit card to make the booking Southwest will refund the money to their credit card.

  3. To reiterate – when cancelling a flight booked with TY points (or UR, or US Bank Flexpoints, or any bank currency) DO NOT REQUEST A REFUND, or you will get nothing – the bank will get the money. Instead, ask Southwest (or any other airline) to hold the funds for future use.

    Also, when booking with TYP, I recommend using just your first and last names – not your middle name. When I booked a Southwest TYP flight including my middle name, my first and middle names were “smushed together” in WN’s reservation system, with no space in between. I couldn’t reuse the funds online, because the names didn’t match. (Fortunately a Southwest res agent was ready, willing, and able to help me book new flights and pay for them with the TYP funds.)

  4. Is this the same for Hyatt or do you get the UR points back?

    • When you book hotel rewards through the UR portal and you cancel, your refund is always back to the original form of payment (whether it be points, points+cash or cash). If you transfer the points to Hyatt Gold Passport and cancel, they will refund the Hyatt points back to your Hyatt account, but you will not be able to convert them back to UR points.