Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
You can now book paid and award flights on Southwest up to January 4, 2016.
So you can start booking your holiday travel now!
Many airlines open their schedule ~1 year in advance. But you can only book Southwest flights ~6 to 8 months ahead of time.
Even if you aren’t certain about your plans, you can book flights now and cancel later if you change your mind. That’s because you can cancel or change Southwest flights for a refund up to 10 minutes before your flight.
Big Travel With the Southwest Companion Pass
Southwest recently changed their award pricing. So certain award flights during busy travel times are more expensive.
But Emily and I still fly Southwest almost exclusively within the US. That’s because I have the Southwest Companion Pass and Emily flies with me for close to fee, on BOTH paid and award tickets!
With the Southwest Companion Pass all of your flights are essentially half price because your friend or family member can fly with you for (almost) free.
If you don’t currently have a Companion Pass, you can still book a seat for yourself, and add your companion later.
You need to earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year to get the Companion Pass. The easiest way to earn most of those points is by signing-up for 1 business and 1 personal Chase Southwest card:
- Chase Southwest Plus Personal Card – 50,000 Southwest points when you spend $2,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account
- Chase Southwest Premier Personal Card – 50,000 Southwest points when you spend $2,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account
- Chase Southwest Premier Business Card – 50,000 Southwest points when you spend $2,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account
Emily and I don’t earn commission on these cards, but we always tell you about the best deals!
Need Southwest Points?
Here’s a look at some of the ways you can earn Southwest points.
1. Paid Flights on Southwest
On paid Southwest flights you’ll earn:
- 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
Points are earned on the base fare and excise taxes, but NOT the government taxes and fees.
2. Southwest Credit Cards
You can quickly earn lots of Southwest points with the Chase Southwest cards. All 3 versions of the Southwest card are currently offering 50,000 Southwest points when you meet the minimum spending.
Other benefits that come with these cards include:
- 2 points per $1 you spend on Southwest flights and certain hotel and car rental partners
- 1 points per $1 you spend on everything else
- 6,000 Southwest bonus points (Premier cards) or 3,000 bonus points (Plus card) on your card anniversary each year
- No foreign transaction fees
The $99 annual fee for the Premier cards ($69 for the Plus card) is NOT waived the 1st year.
There are no blackout dates when you redeem points on Southwest, so as long as there are seats available for sale, you can use your points!
3. Transfer Points From Chase Ultimate Rewards
Note: Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Southwest do NOT count towards the Companion Pass.
4. Earn Bonus Points
You can also earn Southwest bonus points by:
For example, you can use Choice hotels points plus cash to earn points towards the Southwest Companion Pass!
Southwest’s schedule is now open through January 4, 2016.
So you can book your winter travel now. And if your plans change you can cancel and get a refund.
If you cancel a paid Southwest flight up to 10 minutes before your flight, you receive a credit that you can use towards future flights. The credit is good for 1 year.
And if you cancel an award ticket, Southwest will also deposit the points back into your account.
* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 20,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!