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Friends and family sometimes look at me with a blank stare when I tell them my favorite US airline is Southwest. They know I love First Class flights, so I can see why it’s news to learn my favorite airline is a “low-cost carrier” with no Business Class seats.
But after flying Southwest 100+ times over the past few years, I can say I’ve rarely been disappointed. It helps that my wife and I have saved $10,000 on Southwest airfare over the past 4 years thanks to the Companion Pass. Having the ability to add my wife to ANY flight I book with points or cash for just the cost of taxes & fees (usually ~$6 each way) is definitely the main reason I love Southwest Airlines. If you missed the incredible news, you can earn your own Companion Pass and 30,000 Southwest points by applying for one of these cards and spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – My wife applied for this offer and was instantly approved!
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card – This was the first Southwest credit card I got when I started in the miles & points hobby.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – My friend applied for this offer because he thinks the ongoing perks offset the higher annual fee.
These offers are only available through February 11, 2019. And the promotional Companion Pass with this deal is valid through December 31, 2019. Here’s a post with more information on the amazing limited-time Chase Southwest credit card offers!
I know many folks overlook Southwest, especially because they don’t appear when you search for flights through an online travel agency like Expedia. But it’s definitely worth the effort of checking Southwest’s site because you’ll often find the most affordable flight deals. My guess is this stays true once the airline launches service to Hawaii, too!
Besides the Companion Pass, here are some other reasons I love Southwest Airlines.
1. Southwest Is a Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner
I recently shared how my wife and I have 12 Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards. One reason why is because we love earning points to transfer directly to Southwest to book award flights. And with the Companion Pass, I can add my wife for just the cost of taxes and fees, even on flights booked with points.
2. Southwest Has No Blackout Dates for Award Flights
Southwest’s frequent flyer program is as straightforward as they come. There are no stuffy elite status tiers, no complicated award charts, and no blackout dates! As long as a seat is available for sale on a Southwest flight, you can book it using points.
During fare sales, you can sometimes book a short-haul round-trip Southwest flight (like Los Angeles to Las Vegas) for as low as 3,000 points! That’s an unbelievable deal!
3. No Cancellation Fees or Change Fees
Yes, you read that correctly. While other airlines are charging $200 to change your travel plans, Southwest has no change or cancellation fees.
If you book a Southwest flight with points, you’ll get a full refund if you cancel. And if you pay cash for a Wanna Get Away fare and cancel, you’ll receive a Southwest credit valid for a year.
4. Check 2 Bags for Free
Admittedly, I’m surprised that Southwest hasn’t changed their baggage policy because it’s so generous compared to other airlines. Right now, each passenger can check 2 bags for free. Competitors are charging $30 per first bag, so Southwest is better for the wallet, especially if you’re flying with family.
5. Southwest Is Efficient – Fastest Turnaround Time in the Industry
I studied industrial engineering, so I always admire companies who optimize their processes and are best in class. Southwest continuously ranks #1 for having the fastest turnaround time in the industry. If you’ve ever waited by a Southwest gate, you’ll notice passengers are lined up to board while folks from the previous flight are still getting off. I’m constantly amazed how quickly Southwest crew is able to turn around the aircraft and stick to the scheduled departure time.
I know some flyers don’t like Southwest’s boarding process and unassigned seating. But if they’re the fastest in the industry, they must be doing something right!
What are your thoughts about Southwest Airlines? I’d love to hear in the comments below!