Chase Sapphire Preferred is hands-down my favorite travel credit card.

There are lots of reasons, but a big one is that the points it earns, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, transfer instantly to Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards.

I believe Southwest has the best frequent flyer program for people like you and me, who want to travel free as much as possible and bring friends and loved ones along with us!

southwest engine vertical

The Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one person fly free with you, is unbeatable in value (how else can you eliminate the cost of ONE person’s flight ENTIRELY and for up to TWO YEARS?), the airline charges much lower points prices for flights (which go even lower during sales) AND it’s easy to collect points through Southwest credit cards, Rapid Rewards Shopping, and more!

SO… I am always looking for how I can collect MORE Southwest points.

Enter Chase Sapphire Preferred.


[Read 7 Ways Chase Sapphire Preferred Can Help You Travel Free]

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About Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

I recommend this card to EVERYONE, because there’s flat out no reason NOT to have it … if you enjoy traveling :).

Unless you want to go for its big brother, Chase Sapphire Reserve (you can only hold one “Sapphire” card), but that one is better for more advanced travel hackers and it comes with a hefty $550 annual fee.


[Should I Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve?]


Chase Sapphire Preferred Go to Travel Gal
Chase Sapphire Preferred is my FAVORITE travel credit card and it can earn you TONS of Southwest points for FREE!

 Here are some key things to know about Chase Sapphire Preferred:

  • 60,000 bonus points upon card approval and spending at least $4,000 on the card within 3 months
  • $95 annual fee 
  • Earn TRIPLE points on all dining, online grocery and streaming purchases
  • Earn DOUBLE points on all travel expenses
  • Points transfer INSTANTLY at a 1:1 ratio to Southwest Rapid Rewards points
  • Points also transfer at a 1:1 ratio to other airlines and hotel brands like British Airways, IHG and Hyatt
  • 5x points on Lyft rides
  • Complimentary DashPass from DoorDash for one year, which includes free delivery for orders more than $12. Read more about DoorDash benefits.
  • No foreign transaction fees


[Read my full review of Chase Sapphire Preferred]


4 Ways Chase Sapphire Preferred Earns Southwest Points

Chase Sapphire Preferred


Now, let’s delve into how this card can earn you even MORE Southwest points! Remember, it has NO annual fee the first year, so you’re earning points FREE!


1.  60,000-Point Bonus Offer

Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve has increased its annual fee for new cardholders to $550, but we still think it’s worth it!

Spend $4,000 in 3 months upon approval and BAM! you’ve got at least 64,000 points (at least 1 point per $1 to meet that minimum spend) that you can use for free travel on Southwest.

Meet that minimum spend by paying ordinary expenses you’d be paying anyway (don’t go into debt for any reason, because then this is no longer a good deal!!).

Check out my post below with ideas for how to responsibly meet the $4,000 minimum spend…


[11 Creative Ways to Meet a Minimum Spend]


The first year we delved into miles and points, we earned 110,000 Southwest points to get our first Southwest Companion Pass (you now need to earn 135,000 points to get Companion Pass) by signing up for one personal and one business Southwest card and then got the additional 54,000 from Chase Sapphire Preferred.


Southwest credit card
My family in San Diego on our first trip in 2015 where we ALL flew free using points.


That 160,000+ points funded all four of us to travel to SIX destinations within one year for less than $100 per flight (for all of us)!

The cost comes from annual fees we paid on the Southwest cards, airline security fees and some points we purchased from Southwest early on to get us going.

We flew to:


Just to give you an idea of the cost of points on Southwest to fly to a destination, we flew all four of us to New York City for ~21,000 points and to Grand Cayman from Ft. Lauderdale for ~13,000 points.

One of us always flies on the Companion Pass, so we don’t have to use any points for them.

But you can see, if you choose destinations with cheaper fares, fly on cheaper days and buy during sales, you can stretch Southwest points quite far!


2.  TRIPLE Points on Dining & DOUBLE Points on Travel

Bologna restaurant

My family either uses this card or my husband’s Chase Sapphire Reserve for most dining and travel expenses.

This adds up rather fast and tends to fund our future travels quite well!

Our Chase Ultimate Rewards account always has points in it, which are ready to transfer as soon as we need them to book a flight on Southwest :).

The travel expenses category includes everything from flights and hotels to cabs and parking fees.

For example, we used our Sapphire card to pay for all the taxis we hailed in New York City, as well as to pay for subway tickets!

There are also no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a great card to use on travel and dining expenses when out of the country.


3. Everyday Expenses

You can also pay your everyday expenses using this card, which will earn you 1 point per $1.

If you purchase online groceries or streaming services, they’ll reward you with 3 points per $1.

Alternately, if you hold the Southwest cards, which I advise getting prior to this one if earning the Southwest Companion Pass is a priority for you, you can use those for everyday expenses to earn 1 point per dollar.

The difference is that points earned through spending on the Southwest cards qualify for the 135,000 points you need to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, while the points earned on Chase Sapphire Preferred DO NOT qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, but CAN be used to book FREE travel on Southwest.


4. Referral Points

Chase Sapphire Preferred ALSO allows you to earn 20,000 points per person you refer who signs up for the card up to a maximum of 100,000 points each year.

That’s a lot of free travel on Southwest!!

Southwest Priority Card
Refer friends and family to this card to get more points for FREE flights!

Be sure to tell friends, family and colleagues about the amazing travel benefits you’ve been able to enjoy thanks to this card, because they may be interested in getting their own card using your referral link.

Don’t forget to share on your links on social media, as well!

To find your referral link, you’ll need to use the Chase Refer a Friend feature. 

It can sometimes take a month or two for the referral points to roll in and unfortunately, there’s no way to know if someone successfully signed up.


To Sum It Up

Chase Sapphire Preferred pool

Chase Sapphire Preferred is a definite no-brainer way to easily add to your Southwest points balance for MORE FREE FLIGHTS!

Take advantage of:

  • Sign-up bonus
  • Double points on dining and travel
  • Everyday expenses
  • Referral points

These points can really boost your ability to travel free!

If you get the sign-on bonus and all referral points, that’s 164,000 points. Amazing.


Thanks again for using the links in this post or the CREDIT CARDS links in the main menu above to review and apply for any credit cards.


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  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.

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