JetBlue or Southwest: Which Is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?

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JetBlue or Southwest:  Which Is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?

DevonJetBlue or Southwest:  Which Is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?Million Mile Secrets Team

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Did you see the news?  JetBlue is now a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner!

This new transfer option is great for folks who have Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred, and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

If you don’t already have one, head over to JetBlue to create a TrueBlue rewards account so you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio.

JetBlue or Southwest: Which is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?
Showdown!  Is It Better to Transfer Your Hard-Earned Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to JetBlue, or Southwest?

So, how does JetBlue fare as a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner?  Let’s take a look at how it compares to another Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner with a similar award program, Southwest.

Should You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to JetBlue or Southwest?

Link:   Chase Adds JetBlue as Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner

Transfer Ratio

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to both Southwest and JetBlue at a 1:1 ratio.

Citi ThankYou and AMEX Membership Rewards programs are also partners of JetBlue, but only transfer at a 5:4 ratio (unless there’s a transfer bonus).

Southwest is not partners with the Citi ThankYou or AMEX Membership Rewards program.

JetBlue vs. Southwest: Which is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?
You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to JetBlue Now!

Value When Transferring Directly to JetBlue and Southwest

Both airlines have a revenue-based award program, which means the number of points you’ll need for an award flight is based on the cash price of the ticket.  Below, you’ll see that the value of the points fluctuate and that you’ll need to determine their worth when viewing your specific itinerary.

JetBlue points are generally worth between 1.4 and 1.5 cents each towards paid airfare.  And Southwest points are typically worth a minimum of ~1.4 cents per point, but sometimes up to ~1.75 cents per point.

When paying with points or cash, you’ll have to pay ~$6 each way on domestic flights due to the mandated US September 11th Security Fee.  This means that we have to subtract ~$6 from the cash price of the ticket before we calculate the cents per point value.  Otherwise, there are no extra fees when paying with points!

Let’s take some examples of non-stop, one-way flights on the same date.  We are only looking at JetBlue Blue fares and Southwest Wanna Get Away fares, which are the cheapest coach seats.

Here’s What the Southwest Page Looks Like When Searching for Award Travel
Boston to Denver

JetBlue:  ~$115 – $6 = ~$109 / 7,300 points = ~1.49 cents per point

Southwest:  ~$116 – $6 = ~$110 / 7,386 points = ~1.49 cents per point

Winner:  Tie

JetBlue vs. Southwest: Which is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?
Here’s What the Southwest Page Looks Like When Searching for Paid Travel
Providence to Fort Lauderdale

JetBlue:  ~$112 – ~$6 = ~$106 / 7,300 points = ~1.45 cents per point

Southwest:  ~$104 – $6 = ~$98 / 6,515 points = ~1.5 cents per point

Winner:   Southwest

Las Vegas to Los Angeles Area

JetBlue:  ~$55 – $6 = ~$49 / 3,100 points = ~1.59 cents per point

Southwest:  ~$45 – $6 = ~$39 / 2,234 points = ~1.75 cents per point

Winner:   Southwest

JetBlue vs. Southwest: Which is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?
Southwest Wins Head-to-Head Against JetBlue in These Examples

Southwest seems to generally offer a better value when you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points because you can get up to ~1.75 cents per point.  Remember, this is just a snapshot of the bigger picture.  You’ll need to determine the value of your points at the time of your booking.

What About Available Routes?

JetBlue and Southwest both have over 100 destinations under their belt, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding places to fly in North America.

JetBlue has multiple hubs that offer plenty of non-stop flights to many destinations daily.  They are:

  • Boston
  • Long Beach
  • New York City
  • Newark
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Orlando
  • San Juan,

Take a look at this JetBlue flight map to see exactly where JetBlue can take you.

JetBlue vs. Southwest: Which is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?
JetBlue’s Flight Map Includes Lots of Flights to the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America

While Southwest doesn’t use the traditional hub system like most domestic airlines, it does have a few cities it designates as “rolling hubs”.  They include:

  • Chicago
  • Baltimore
  • Las Vegas
  • Denver
  • Phoenix
  • Dallas
  • Houston

Take a look at this Southwest flight map to exactly where Southwest can take you.

JetBlue vs. Southwest: Which is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?
Southwest Has Fewer Destinations in the Tropics (but Hawaii Is Coming Soon!)

You’ll notice that JetBlue has a heavy footprint in the Northeast of the United States and the Southwest has a solid network in the Southwest, hence the name 😉

Consider the Experience

What do you get with your base fare?

Southwest offers:

  • 2 free checked bags
  • Free changes and cancellations
  • Above average legroom in coach
  • Wi-Fi starting at $8
  • Free movies and live TV using the Southwest mobile app

JetBlue offers:

  • First checked bag for $30 and a 2nd for $40
  • Changes and cancellations starting at $75
  • Most legroom in coach
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • TVs in every seat with DIRECTV and movies

Southwest is known for their customer experience.  On almost every flight, the flight attendants are fun and friendly.  But there is also something to be said about that extra legroom JetBlue offers, because comfort is king!  Plus, most folks on the Million Mile Secrets team agree that JetBlue has better snacks.

When Is It Better to Book Directly with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?

You can book both JetBlue and Southwest directly with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Generally, this option is only worthwhile if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, because your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents per point.  You can book JetBlue flights directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and Southwest by calling 866-951-6592.

Note:   I don’t have the Chase Sapphire Reserve so my screenshot shows the Chase Ultimate Rewards points needed for a Chase Sapphire Preferred user.  To find out how many points you need, just take the dollar amount of the ticket and divide by .015 (1.5 cents).

I searched the Boston to Denver route in the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal and found the same JetBlue flight as above.  For 7,680 Chase Ultimate Rewards points you can purchase this flight. The ~$6 U.S. September 11th Security Fee is already lumped into the cash price of the ticket!  If you take ~$115 and divide by 7,680 points, you’ll get 1.5.

Your points are always worth 1.5 cents each when booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal as a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder.

JetBlue vs. Southwest: Which is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?
Booking a Flight Directly Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal Could Be Worthwhile

In this case, it makes more sense to book directly through the Chase travel portal.  Booking directly through the portal or over the phone still earns you loyalty points through the JetBlue and Southwest frequent flyer programs.

You’ll earn 6 points per dollar on JetBlue Blue base fares and Southwest Wanna Get Away base fares.  So I’d earn 6X points on ~$109 (~$115 – $6) which is 654 TrueBlue points!  That’s ~$9 worth of points, assuming ~1.4 cents per point.

JetBlue vs. Southwest: Which is the Better Chase Ultimate Rewards Partner?
JetBlue and Southwest Will Earn You 6 Points per $1 Base Fare When Booking Through the Chase Travel Portal

Again, you’ll need to determine the value of your points at the time of your booking due to fluctuations.  But if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you will always get 1.5 cents per Ultimate Rewards point you redeem in the Chase Travel portal.

Easy Ways to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

You can earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the following cards:

And the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the following no-annual-fee cards can be pooled onto the “premium” cards listed above, and then transferred to Chase’s travel partners:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is our favorite card for beginners.  You can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.  The first year’s annual fee of $95 is waived but even after the first year, this is one of the most lucrative cards to keep in your wallet. Just ask team member Scott, because he’s paid the annual fee 5 times!

If you have a small business or even a side-hustle that qualifies, you can sign up for the NEW Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card.  It’s a no-annual-fee card that earns 1.5% cash back (1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on every purchase!  And it comes with a $500 cash bonus (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Bottom Line

Having JetBlue join Chase’s travel partner list is a win for the Chase community, and Chase currently offers the best transfer ratio to JetBlue at 1:1.

And because Southwest and JetBlue are so similar, it can be hard to know when it’s better to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to JetBlue or Southwest.  We’ve found that Southwest often offers slightly better value when transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  You’ll also get 2 free checked bags and free changes and cancellations with Southwest!

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll sometimes get a better deal by booking JetBlue directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and Southwest by calling 866-951-6592.

You can spruce up your Chase Ultimate Rewards point balance by earning a sign-up bonus on lots of Chase’s cards.  We always recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred because of its long-term value, or the new Chase Ink Business Unlimited with it’s unusually large sign-up bonus for a no-annual fee business card.

Oh, and one last thing, there are never any blackout dates when redeeming points through JetBlue, Southwest, or the Chase Travel PortalIf you can buy the ticket with cash, you can redeem points for an award flight!

Which Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner do you prefer?

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Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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  • $95 Annual Fee

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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My wife and I use Southwest 10 to 15 times per year. 2 free bags each saves a lot. No cancellation fees is also wonderful. But for us, having the SW companion pass, BOGO it is hard to go to any other airline and pay for 2 tickets. SW only charges us for 1. We will use Jet Blue for the locations they serve which SW does not.

Jason Brandt Lewis

As the author points out, jetBlue is strong in the Northeast; Southwest is strong — well, in the Southwest, but really it’s much more than that. You can go throughout the country on WN, even though it may not be a non-stop, or even a direct, flight.

My confusion comes from the above graphic that shows you only get 3x on base fares + another 3x points for Mint, versus 5x for Blue Flex…kinda, sorta sucks, IMHO.

JetBlue is a very poor substitute for Korean Airlines. Korean airlines miles could be worth 5+cpp for international business/first while JetBlue only helps people without CSR. Chase UR are barely worth more than 1.5cpp anymore. I personally prefer AmEx MR going forward unless CUR adds a high value partner.

Jason Brandt Lewis

It’s not a substitute. I seriously doubt anyone at Chase said, “I have a great idea! Let’s dump Korean Air for jetBlue….”

When you don’t live anywhere near an airport that either airline serves, neither one is the better option.