Book Holiday Travel: Southwest and AirTran Schedule Open Through January 4, 2015

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You can now book paid and award flights on Southwest and AirTran up to January 4, 2015 (instead of October 31, 2014).  If you have plans for the holidays, you can book your travel now.

Southwest will start flying to international destinations like Mexico, Aruba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas on July 1, 2014.

Book Holiday Travel Southwest And AirTran Schedule Open Through January 4, 2015

Maybe You’d Like to Spend the Holidays in the Tropics!

Other airlines open their schedule ~11 to 12 months in advance, but Southwest only opens their schedule ~6 to 8 months in advance.

Book Holiday Travel Southwest And AirTran Schedule Open Through January 4, 2015

You Can Now Book Southwest Flights Through January 4, 2015

Southwest Companion Pass

If you have a Southwest Companion Pass, your companion will fly almost free with you, on BOTH paid flights and points bookings.

You can book a seat for yourself, and add your companion later if you don’t currently have a Companion Pass.

Read this post for all you need to know about the Southwest Companion Pass!  You get the Companion Pass after earning 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points in a calendar year.

Note:   The Southwest 50,000 points credit cards are back!  So it’s easier now to earn the points needed to qualify for the pass.

Ways to Earn Southwest Points

1.   Paid Flights on Southwest

You’ll earn points when you fly Southwest on paid (NOT award) tickets.  Southwest calculates points on the base fare and excise taxes, but not the government taxes and fees.

  • Business Select Fares:  12 points per $1 you spend
  • Anytime Fares:  10 points per $1 you spend
  • Wanna Get Away Fares:  6 points per $1 you spend
Book Holiday Travel Southwest And AirTran Schedule Open Through January 4, 2015

Southwest Calculates Points Earned Based on Fare, *NOT* Distance

2.   Southwest Credit Cards

Link:   Southwest Premier (Personal) Card

Link:   Southwest Premier (Business) Card

Link:   Southwest Plus (Personal) Card

Link:   Southwest Plus (Business) Card

I’ve written about the Chase Southwest credit cards and how you can use them to earn LOTS of Southwest points.

All 4 versions of the Southwest card are currently offering 50,000 Southwest points after meeting the minimum spending.  And the 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonus counts towards the Southwest Companion Pass!

You can earn 1 point per $1 you spend on regular purchases, and 2 points per $1 you spend on Southwest, AirTran, and certain hotel and car rental partners.

50,000 Southwest points are worth ~$710 in Southwest flights or $500 in gift cards.  There are no blackout dates when you redeem points on Southwest, so you can book as many seats as Southwest is selling!

Book Holiday Travel Southwest And AirTran Schedule Open Through January 4, 2015

You Can Earn Southwest Points Without Even Flying

3.   Transfer Points From Chase Ultimate Rewards

You can instantly transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus to Southwest Airlines at a 1:1 ratio.

Book Holiday Travel Southwest And AirTran Schedule Open Through January 4, 2015

You Can Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest

Note: Transferring points directly from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest does NOT count towards the Companion Pass.

I prefer earning Ultimate Rewards points and then transferring the points to Southwest when I need them.  That’s because I can earn 2X points on all travel and dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and 5X points on Wireless, Telecom, & Office Supply Stores stores with the Ink Bold or Ink Plus.

4.   Earn Bonus Points

There are lots of other ways to earn extra Southwest points.  You don’t need to have a Southwest credit card to earn bonus points from shopping, dining, participating in partner promotions, or by transferring hotel points.

For example, I earned 1,750 extra Southwest points on Valentine’s Day just by ordering flowers through 1-800-flowers.com.

Book Holiday Travel Southwest And AirTran Schedule Open Through January 4, 2015

Buy Flowers and Earn Lots of Southwest Points

These are also great ways to earn the extra points needed for the Southwest Companion Pass!

AirTran Schedule Also Open Through January 4, 2015

You can now book flights on AirTran up to January 4, 2015.

Book Holiday Travel Southwest And AirTran Schedule Open Through January 4, 2015

You Can Also Book AirTran Flights, but After November 2, 2014, Bookings Must Be Made on the Southwest Website

Southwest and AirTran have connected their networks, so you can usually book AirTran flights (within the US and NOT to international destinations) on the Southwest website.  But flights after November 2, 2014 must be booked on the Southwest website.

If you book AirTran flights from the Southwest website, you won’t pay for 2 checked bags and you won’t pay a fee for cancellations!

Book Holiday Travel Southwest And AirTran Schedule Open Through January 4, 2015

Happy Snowfolks…They Must Have Booked Their AirTran Flight on Southwest’s Website!

You should book on the AirTran website if you want to pay for the privilege of getting an assigned seat, but you’ll also have to pay for your checked bags.  I’d personally prefer saving money on checked bags than getting an assigned seat.

AirTran charges for cancellations while Southwest doesn’t:

  • You have to call AirTran at 800-247-8726 and request a credit (less the cancellation fee) when you cancel a paid flight.
  • You have to call at least 1 hour prior to departure
  • AND you will pay a $150 fee per passenger

You will be issued a credit for the remaining balance valid for up to 1 year after the booking was made.  If you don’t call at least 1 hour prior to departure you’ll lose your airfare.

Bottom Line

Southwest and AirTran schedules are open through January 4, 2015.

It doesn’t hurt to book your holiday travel now, even if you’re not 100% sure of your plans.

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17 Responses to Book Holiday Travel: Southwest and AirTran Schedule Open Through January 4, 2015

  1. Are we able to book an international destination that Airtran flies for travel after Nov. 2?

    Also, I am finding issues with picking flights out of MDW to any international destinations that Southwest is supposedly flying.

  2. I just checked and Aruba is not valid destination on Southwest website.

  3. According to the a previous post from Darius, for now, you can’t fly non-stop to the Caribbean unless you depart from Baltimore, Atlanta or Orlando. Or if you are departing from Boston or Pittsburgh and connecting in the three international departure cities.
    If you search for a flight from Austin to Aruba, you will get a message asking you to choose another destination.
    Southwest is testing their reservation system.

  4. @Will. I found Aruba flights on the Southwest website. However I could only find flights out of certain airports (Atlanta, Baltimore). When I tried starting the flight out of Seattle, I got an error message. I had to book the trip in 2 segments. One from Seattle to Atlanta, then go back and book Atlanta to Aruba. Hopefully this glitch will be fixed in the near future…

  5. If you go to the intl travel section of the southwest website, it clearly shows which intl destinations will be flown starting from which departure city and what dates the service will start.

    The one from Flint to Cancun made me laugh. Intl service starts Oct 28 and last day of flights between Flint and Cancun for the summer season is Oct 28. So you basically have a window of 1 day to fly.

  6. Will companion passes be good for international flights as well when they open up flights on SW to Mexico and the Carribean?

  7. @Amy & Linda: thank you for your help. So I have to book 2 separate flights for one way flight from San Francisco to Aruba? That would mean more miles to burn, right? Is there any other way to save the miles used for SFO-Aruba?

  8. Unfortunately, booking a flight from ATL to Aruba for Nov is still not showing much availability. Using the low fare calendar it looks like after August 9th, the availability for flights changes to Saturdays only. Maybe they’ll fix it soon.
    @Daraius, do you know anything about this?

  9. @rilys : really…wow…..I also plan to go to Aruba from SFO on Nov….any idea how to get around this? Is it possible if I can book direct flight from SFO to Aruba by calling?

  10. I just do dummy booking on the Southwest website, to my surprise the point needed from SFO to ATL one way is around 56,000 points, so it will cost 112,000 point for round trip…..that means I already burned my 110,000 points earned from 2 southwest credit cards sign ups and no more point to use for ATL to ARUBA….so sad now, my dream vacation using miles/point for the first time maybe just a dream……can anybody suggest better idea from SFO to Aruba please, thanks in advance.

  11. Btw 56,000 points is for business class, as I learned that the points will be worth it if redeemed for business or first.

  12. @Robert – You can use the Companion Pass for international flights on Southwest.

    @Will – I’d wait until they change their reservation systems to better handle international flights.

  13. Daraius! Thanks a lot for your reply. If they do have change in their reservation system, and if you have chance and willing to, please wrote about their change in your blog…..it will be a great info for us readers and fans of your blog, I will appreciate it and I am sure many people will do, too. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  14. If your companion pass expires the end of this year, can you get around this by booking for next year right now with the companion pass?

  15. @Taylor – That doesn’t work!

  16. Pingback: Southwest Companion Pass Rules: Can You Book Tickets Now for Travel After Pass Expires? | Million Mile Secrets

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