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 tickets on Southwest through June 5, 2015 (instead of April 6, 2015). So if you’re planning a Spring trip, you can book those flights now!
Southwest now flies to international destinations like Mexico, Aruba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas.
Most airlines open their schedule ~11 to 12 months in advance, but Southwest only opens their schedule ~6 to 8 months in advance.
Southwest Companion Pass
With the Southwest Companion Pass, your companion will fly with you for almost free, on BOTH paid and award tickets!
You can book a seat for yourself, and add your companion later if you don’t currently have a Companion Pass.
Here’s a post with 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.
Ways to Earn Southwest Points
1. Paid Flights on Southwest
You’ll earn points when you fly Southwest on paid (NOT award) flights. 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
2. Southwest Credit Cards
Link: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Link: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Business Credit Card
I’ve written about the Chase Southwest credit cards and how you can use them to earn LOTS of Southwest points.
You can earn 1 point per $1 you spend on regular purchases, and 2 points per $1 you spend on Southwest 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!
3. Transfer Points From Chase Ultimate Rewards
Note: Transferring points directly from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest does NOT count towards the Companion Pass.
I prefer earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points and only 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, and office supply stores with the Chase Ink Bold or Chase 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.
You can get 1,000 extra Southwest points ordering flowers through 1-800-Flowers.com.
Southwest schedule is open through June 5, 2015.
It doesn’t hurt to book your Spring travel now, even if you’re not 100% sure of your plans.
That’s because if you cancel a paid Southwest flight, they’ll give you a credit for the amount, good for 1 year. Or if you book Southwest flights with points, you’ll get them refunded.