Southwest Airlines is my favorite airline. There are a ton of reasons I prefer to fly Southwest instead of other airlines. Below are some tips for booking flights with Southwest and reasons to fly Southwest.
1. Cancellation Or Change Fee: The best thing about Southwest is they don’t charge any fees for canceling or changing any tickets, whether it’s a revenue ticket or an award ticket.
- If it’s a revenue ticket, you have 1 year from the ticketing date to use the funds
- If it’s an award ticket, the points will be returned to your account immediately.
2. Bags Fly Free – There are no fees for your 1st or 2nd bag. Weight and size restrictions apply.
3. Cancellation Policy: You have up to 10 minutes before departure to change or cancel your “Wanna Get Away” fare without penalty. If you are a no show and haven’t cancelled the flight, you will forfeit the fare paid and will not be able to use it for future purchases. I have personally cancelled tickets very close to departure. This no show policy does not apply to international travel.
4. Flies to international destinations: The route map includes destinations to Mexico and the Caribbean
5. Rebook when the fare drops: If the fare drops, you can easily change your revenue or award ticket since there are no change fees. This is done easily online or on the phone. The refund is instant.
6. Offers the companion pass: This is by far the best perk for a domestic airline. Get 110,000 qualifying Rapid Rewards points and you can have a companion fly with you free (plus taxes) for the rest of the year in which you get the pass and also the entire next year. That companion can fly for free (plus taxes) whether it’s an award ticket or a revenue ticket, domestic or international. That’s up to two years of travel for a person for free. For now, “Southwest says it has no plans to change the pass.”
7. If you have the companion pass, you can change your companion: You are allowed to change your companion up to 3 times over the life of the companion pass. This is handy if you get in a fight with your first companion
8. Cancelled flight funds cannot be used by a different person: If you cancel a revenue “Wanna Getaway” ticket, the held funds can be used to book another ticket in the future, but only by the person whose name was on the ticket. You cannot use the funds for someone else. This does not apply to tickets booked with Rapid Rewards points or fully refundable tickets. Thus, booking with points offers the most flexibility.
9. The Advantages of booking with rapid rewards points:
- If you cancel a trip booked with points, they are returned instantaneously to your account
- As mentioned above, using points to book prevents funds being stuck in a person’s name. Points allow greater flexibility
- If you have enough points, you can book multiple flights if you are unsure of the one you are going to take. Later, you can cancel the ones you don’t want without any penalty.
- You can book the same passenger twice on the same flight. Why would anyone want to do that?
10. It’s an Ultimate Rewards partner: You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest. If you can acquire Ultimate Rewards cheaply, you can get ~1.5 cents of value out of them by transferring them to Southwest.
11. It’s cool map search function – If you are looking for cheap destinations from your choice of airport, you can use the map search page to find destinations that fit your dates and are within your budget.
12. Southwest credit cards – You can get an easy 50,000 points on these cards offered by Chase. They offer them many times during the year. Don’t apply when the bonus is 25,000 points. Wait for the 50,000 point bonus.
- Rapid Rewards Premier Visa (Personal)
- Rapid Rewards Plus Visa (Personal)
- Rapid Rewards Premier Business Visa
14. The Southwest shopping portal – You can earn extra Rapid Rewards points by doing your online shopping through the portal.
15. Online check-in opens at exactly 24 hours before flight time: It’s best to check in as soon as the online checkin is available to secure a low number boarding pass. Aside from the people who pay extra to board earlier, the checkin is essentially first come first serve. So, the lower your boarding pass number, the earlier you will get to board.
16. No assigned seats: It’s open seating on Southwest, so you can sit in any available seat. This is also why it’s important to check in as early as possible. If you are the last person to checkin, chances are you will not the seat of your choice. Some people love the idea of open seating and others hate it.
17. Southwest gift cards: You can frequently buy discounted Southwest gift cards on Ebay. This is especially great when Ebay offers bonus Ebay bucks. You can also buy gift cards at places like office supply stores or grocery stores where an appropriate credit card earns you bonus points. For example, buying these gift cards at Office depot with Chase INK will get you 5x bonus points.
18. Drink vouchers: You can also buy discounted drink vouchers on Ebay.
19. Southwest is a “contrarian airline:” It has made a profit for the past 42 years.
20. The best of all – friendly staff and employees: Of all the times I have flown Southwest, I have found that for the most part, their employees are happy, friendly, and helpful.