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 August 7, 2015 (instead of June 5, 2015). So you can book your summer flights now!
Southwest has added new summer flights to Seattle and Portland and the Northeast.
Although most airlines open their schedule ~11 to 12 months in advance, Southwest opens their schedule ~6 to 8 months in advance.
Southwest Companion Pass
Emily and I fly almost exclusively on Southwest in the US. That’s because we have the Southwest Companion Pass which lets your companion fly with you for almost free, on 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 what 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 earn points on paid (NOT award) flights on Southwest. Points are calculated on the base fare and excise taxes, but NOT the government taxes and fees.
- Business Select Fares: 12 points per $1 spent
- Anytime Fares: 10 points per $1 spent
- Wanna Get Away Fares: 6 points per $1 spent
2. Southwest Credit Cards
Link: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier 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 get 50,000 Southwest points after spending $2,000 in the 1st 3 months from the Southwest Premier (personal) card.
The other 2 versions of the Southwest card are currently offering 25,000 Southwest points after meeting the minimum spending.
Several times a year the sign-up bonus is increased to 50,000 Southwest points. So if you can wait a few months, you’ll get a better deal with the 50,000 Southwest point offer.
You earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest and certain hotel and car rental partners and 1 point per $1 spent on regular purchases.
50,000 Southwest points are worth ~$710 in Southwest flights or $500 in gift cards. Because there are no blackout dates redeeming points on Southwest, you can book as many seats as Southwest is selling!
3. Transfer Points From Chase Ultimate Rewards
Note: But, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points 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 Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all travel and dining with the Sapphire Preferred and 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on wireless, telecom, and office supply 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.
You can get 1,000 extra Southwest points ordering flowers through 1-800-Flowers.com when you use promotion code RR22.
Southwest schedule is open through August 7, 2015.
You can book your summer travel now, even if you’re not 100% sure of your plans.
That’s because you can cancel a paid Southwest flight with no fees IF you cancel 10 minutes before your flight. And if you book Southwest flights with points, your points are refunded.