Via Deals We Like, you can now book paid and award flights on Southwest and AirTran up to June 6, 2014 (instead of only up to April 6, 2014). So you can book your Memorial Day and summer travel now!
Unlike other airlines which usually open their schedule ~11 to 12 months in advance, Southwest opens their schedule ~6 to 8 months in advance.
Save Points By Booking Now for Flights Up To June 6, 2014
There is no penalty to cancel a Southwest flight paid with points (the points go back to your account when you cancel), so you can book your spring travel before you confirm your plans.
You can save your Southwest points if you redeem your points before March 31, 2014 for flights on Southwest after March 31, 2014.
That’s because the cost of using points will increase for flights booked after March 31, 2014. For example, your points will be worth ~15% less if you book a flight on, say, May 1, 2013 AFTER March 31, 2014.
But you will pay fewer points for the same flight if you book them with points BEFORE March 31, 2014. And remember that you can cancel and rebook your ticket without a fee if the number of points required for the award drops or if your plans change.
If you cancel a paid flight on Southwest at least 10 minutes prior to departure, the ticketed passenger gets a credit for the entire ticket amount (no change fees on Southwest!) valid for up to 1 year from when you booked the flight.
Note that you should be able to cancel an AirTran ticket for free as long as you booked it on the Southwest (and not on the AirTran) website.
If you’re running low on Southwest points, you can instantly transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Airlines on a 1:1 ratio. Note that transferring points directly from Ultimate Rewards to Southwest do NOT count towards the Companion Pass.
Southwest Companion Pass
If you have a Southwest Companion Pass, your companion will fly free with you, on BOTH paid flights or flights booked with Southwest points.
You can book a seat for yourself, and add your companion later, once you earn the 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 a calendar year.
And the sign-up bonus does currently count towards the Southwest Companion pass.
So 2 Southwest credit cards and 10,000 extra points can get you ~$2,840 to $3,400 in Southwest travel and a Southwest Companion pass so that your companion can fly free (pay just the $2.50 security fee) for up to two years!
AirTran Schedule Open Through June 6, 2014
You can also book flights on AirTran up to June 6, 2014.
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.
You are usually better off booking AirTran flights from the Southwest website, because you won’t pay for 2 checked bags and you won’t pay a fee for cancellations!
But 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 don’t get anything back.
Southwest and AirTran schedules are open through June 6, 2014.
It doesn’t hurt to book your spring 2014 travel now, even if you’re not 100% sure of your plans.
That’s because Southwest does not charge change fees, so there is no penalty for canceling the flights and re-booking. And because your Southwest points are worth ~15% less if you use them to book award flights after March 31, 2013.
You’re also better off booking your AirTran flights from the Southwest website to get 2 free checked bags.