We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

3 Southwest Updates: 50,000 Points Ends Wednesday, Mexico Flights & Book Up to October 31, 2014

3 Southwest Updates: 50,000 Points Ends Wednesday, Mexico Flights & Book Up to October 31, 2014

Million Mile Secrets3 Southwest Updates: 50,000 Points Ends Wednesday, Mexico Flights & Book Up to October 31, 2014Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook or Twitter!

Here are 3 Southwest updates for today!

3 Southwest Updates 50,000 Points Ends Wednesday New Mexico Flights And Book Up To October 31, 2014
Southwest Now Flies to Mexico!

1.   Southwest Credit Cards 50,000 Point Bonus Ends Wednesday

The best way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is by signing-up for the 50,000 point Southwest credit cards before Wednesday, March 5, 2014.  After Wednesday, the sign-up bonus will decrease and it won’t be that easy to get the Companion Pass!

That said, I’m sure that at least 1 out of the 4 versions will have the 50,000 point sign-up bonus after Wednesday.  But it could be harder to find all 4 versions with the 50,000 points offers.

If you have a Southwest Companion Pass, your companion will fly free with you on BOTH paid flights or flights booked with points (you just pay the $2.50 security fee).  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 PassYou get the Companion Pass after earning 110,000 Companion Pass points.  See this post for ways to get Companion Pass points after you get the credit card sign-up bonus.

3 Southwest Updates 50,000 Points Ends Wednesday New Mexico Flights And Book Up To October 31, 2014
Emily and I Use Our Companion Pass to Visit Friends and Family Often

And be sure you don’t make 3 common mistakes that won’t get you the Companion Pass!

That said, the 50,000 bonus usually comes back every 3 to 4 months, so if you don’t get the cards now, you should be able to get the bonus later on.

2.   Wanna Get Away…to Mexico?

From August 10, 2014, Southwest will fly to Cancun and Los Cabos, Mexico.  This is in addition to flights to Montego Bay, Aruba, and Nassau.

You can use Southwest’s interactive map to see when international flights will start from your city.  I couldn’t find Austin in the drop down box, but Kansas City was listed!

3 Southwest Updates 50,000 Points Ends Wednesday New Mexico Flights And Book Up To October 31, 2014
Find Out When Southwest Starts Flying Internationally From Your City!

Emily and I can’t wait to visit some of these new destinations!

3.   Southwest Schedule Now Open Until October 31, 2014

You can now book paid and award flights on Southwest and AirTran up to October 31, 2014 (instead of August 8, 2014).  So you can save some cash and start booking your fall travel now!

You can also use Southwest points to fly to Aruba, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Mexico.

Unlike other airlines which open their schedule ~11 to 12 months in advance, Southwest opens their schedule ~6 to 8 months in advance.

3 Southwest Updates 50,000 Points Ends Wednesday New Mexico Flights And Book Up To October 31, 2014
Southwest Schedule Is Open Until October 31, 2014

Save Points By Booking Now For Flights Up to October 31, 2014

You can cancel a Southwest flight without penalty!  If you redeemed points for your flight, the points go back to your account, so you can book your fall travel even if you’re not sure of your plans.

You’ll pay less points if you redeem your points before March 31, 2014 for flights on Southwest before and after March 31, 2014.

That’s because the cost of using points will increase for flights booked after March 31, 2014.  So your points will be worth ~15% less if you book a flight on, say, June 1, 2014 which is AFTER March 31, 2014.

But you will pay fewer points for the same flight booked BEFORE March 31, 2014.  If the number of points required for an award drops or if your plans change, you can cancel and rebook your ticket without a fee!

3 Southwest Updates 50,000 Points Ends Wednesday New Mexico Flights And Book Up To October 31, 2014
12,240 to fly From Austin to Seattle If Booked Before March 31, 2014, but ~14,000 Points After That!

If you cancel a paid flight at least 10 minutes prior to departure, you can get a credit for the entire ticket amount (no change fees on Southwest!) valid for up to one year from the date of issue.

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.

Other Ways to Earn Southwest Points

If you’re running low on Southwest points, you can instantly transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, (no longer available) Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus to Southwest Airlines on a 1:1 ratio.

You can also earn points from the sign-up bonus on the Southwest credit card!

But transferring points directly from Ultimate Rewards to Southwest do NOT count towards the Companion Pass.  Instead transfer them to Hyatt or Marriott hotel points and from Hyatt or Marriott transfer to Southwest.

AirTran Schedule Open Through October 31, 2014

You can also book flights on AirTran up to October 31, 2014.

3 Southwest Updates 50,000 Points Ends Wednesday New Mexico Flights And Book Up To October 31, 2014
You Can Book AirTran Flights Through October 31, 2014

You can usually book AirTran flights (within the US and NOT to international destinations) on the Southwest website because Southwest and AirTran have connected their networks.

You won’t pay for 2 checked bags and you won’t pay a fee for cancellations, if you book AirTran flights on the Southwest website.

If you book on the AirTran website, you can pay to get an assigned seat, but you’ll also have to pay for your checked bags.  I’d prefer to save 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 forfeit your airfare.

Bottom Line

The 50,000 bonus point offer on all 4 versions of the Southwest credit cards ends this Wednesday, March 5, 2014.  But the bonus comes and goes every 3 to 4 months.

Southwest will soon be flying to Mexico, as they take over more international routes flown by AirTran (with whom they are merging).

Southwest and AirTran schedules are open through October 31, 2014.  So it doesn’t hurt to book your fall 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, 2014.

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ 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!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

21comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

If I book a flight to Aruba on Southwest on 3/30/14, for travel in October, 2014 and then change my travel date to December, 2014,

can I still save the 15%, or do I then have to pay the higher points?

Also, can I use Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points to fly to Bermuda (currently served by AirTran, not Southwest)? Thanks!

I applied for the business credit card through the 50,000 point link on Friday. It is still being reviewed, and I am planning to call the reconsideration line on Monday. If I applied for the card before the 3/9/14 deadline, but the approval was received afterwards, will I still receive the 50,000 bonus?

Thanks!

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Rodger – You usually get the bonus based on when you apply, not when you’re approved.

Have just been approved for SW business card, got personal card last month. If I use mileage for an april flight, do I miss out on the 110,000 mile needed for companion pass?

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@AnnaC – Thanks for the update!

@judy zamos – Your Companion Pass points don’t decrease if you use them for a flight.

My husband just applied for both the premier and plus personal Southwest cards on Sunday and got approved for both! We’ve heard conflicting reports from “Southwest personnel,” but fingers crossed those (2) $50,000 bonuses plus some transferred Marriott points will help us get the Companion Pass!

For anyone looking to get approved for both in one day, it worked for us! We just went to Southwest.com, looked at their CC pages, and applied for the personal Premier and personal Plus separately over the phone. There were two separate phone numbers listed, so we called each individually.

They weren’t really clear on whether the bonuses are Companion Pass eligible, even the SW people we talked to weren’t, but I feel like there’s enough anecdotal proof online that they are, so I’m choosing to believe it.

I never comment but I had to say THANK YOU!!!! I literally just reached my companion status today thanks to your blog! That’s all.. just a great big thank you!

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Bonnie Andrews – Congrats and thanks so much for sharing!

Load more