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Lyn writes about how to fly free on Southwest on her GotoTravelGal.com blog, and has written a free ebook that walks you step-by-step through how to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. If you can earn it, the Southwest Companion Pass lets 1 person fly nearly free with you for up to 2 years!
Lyn: My goodness, Southwest has made a lot of changes and updates this year, but I’m here to keep you up to date on everything you need to know to make the most of your Southwest flights. I’ve compiled some of the latest news from the airline that affects us as flyers. From promotions to new in-flight features, I’ve got the scoop.
5 New Things You Need to Know About Southwest
Southwest had added several new and improved features and has a few cool offers in place right now. Check them out below:
1. New Look for Low Fare Calendar
I told you recently that Southwest quietly updated its online reservation interface and added some AWESOME new benefits like the ability to see how much more or less a flight currently costs versus what you previously paid for it.
This week they also updated the look of the Low Fare Calendar, which is the best way to find the cheapest flights on Southwest. The Low Fare Calendar lets you look at an entire month at once to see which days have the lowest fares. From there, you can click on a date and see the actual flights, times and prices.
The new Low Fare Calendar doesn’t really function any differently that I’ve noticed, but it is larger and has a cleaner look.
2. Southwest Adds iHeartRadio
You can now access and listen to iHeartRadio on many Southwest planes. The airline announced that the app is available through its free in-flight entertainment system on 690 planes, or you can use the app on your phone during the flight.
Choose from pre-created live stations or customize your own channel by choosing from a selection of artists, which will play songs by that artist and music that is similar in style.
3. Get Southwest Points for Slow PreCheck in Oakland
Apparently, TSA PreCheck lines are moving slowly in Oakland, an airport just outside of San Francisco. Southwest has offered 2,500 BONUS points (meaning they do NOT count toward the 110,000 points you need to earn the Southwest Companion Pass OR toward elite status) if you don’t get through the line in 10 minutes.
TSA PreCheck costs $85 per person, but certain credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, The Platinum Card® From American Express, or Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN offer a statement credit to off-set the application fee.
If you are approved for TSA PreCheck, it lets you bypass the traditional security lines and skip time-consuming requests like removing shoes, computers from your bag, and more.
You’ll get a voucher at Oakland security if your wait is longer than 10 minutes and then you enter the code from the voucher here to get your Southwest points.
The points for PreCheck deal is good through June 29, 2018.
4. Standby Lists Now in the Southwest App
If you have an associated Rapid Rewards number, you’ll find the list under Trip Details on the app’s home screen or under My Account (the little person icon on the top right of the home screen) / My Trips. To see the standby list, you’ll also need to have Location Services enabled, and you will not be able to modify the list, only view it.
5. Save 30% on Southwest Points Through June 1, 2018
Southwest is reducing the cost to buy 5,000 or more points by 30%.
Generally, I don’t recommend buying points, but sometimes you need to book a flight and are just shy of the points you need. Another option is to transfer Southwest points from one account to another, but unfortunately, that costs $10 for every 1,000 Southwest points you transfer.
If you have points to transfer, that is still cheaper than buying Southwest points, but if you don’t, buying points may be your best option.
Here are some points prices:
- 5,000 points for ~$96 (regularly ~$138)
- 10,000 points for ~$193 (regularly $275)
- 15,000 points for ~$289 (regularly ~$413)
- 20,000 points for $385 (regularly $550)
The 30% off deal is good through June 1, 2018.
Bottom Line: There’s Lots of News About Southwest!
Enjoy the new look of the Low Fare Calendar and don’t forget to try iHeartRadio on your next Southwest flight. Check out the new standby feature in the Southwest app, and if you’re flying into Oakland, see if you can snag 2,500 Southwest bonus points.
Lastly, need to top off your Southwest account? Buy points at 30% off through June 1, 2018!