Never Flown Southwest Airlines? 5 Reasons You’re Missing Out

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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:

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!

Southwest Is My Favorite US Airline Because They Offer the Companion Pass! Plus, They’re Often the Most Affordable Option for Flights Within the US or to the Caribbean or Mexico!

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!

Million Mile Secrets is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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! :)

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1 year ago

I have a quick question. If booking a domestic ticket with points and I need to cancel, I know that I get back the points and also the $11.20 9/11 fee to the credit card. My question: if I book an international ticket with points and I need to cancel, do I get the fee back? Or does SW give credit for 1 year?

1 year ago

I will find out next week with my first ever trip on Southwest to Las Vegas. Interesting that I have never flown on them or Delta with all the traveling I have done the past 30 years.

1 year ago

reason #1 for not flying southwest: they dont fly from HNL yet. once they do, ill be sure to try southwest!

Reply to  K.M.
1 year ago

Can’t wait until they do! Look forward to hearing what you think.

1 year ago

You must not fly other airlines to compare to.
1. cattle car loading, no assigned seats
2. No first Class cabin
3 booking 11 months out flights can be way cheaper than SW
4 Flight times rarely work for business applications, in my experience

Reply to  Craig
1 year ago

Hi Craig — I have status with Alaska Airlines and United Airlines. Alaska is great for Business Class, but route network is relatively limited. I’ve never booked a flight 11 months out so I’ll trust your experience on that point. Although with Southwest, you can continue to rebook if fares drop because they have no change fees.

1 year ago

We are so loyal to WN for all the reasons listed above and because their cancellation and change policy is way better than any other airline. The shopping site thru Southwest helps us build our miles for companion status a lot faster. WE don’t go to Home Depot without buying first thru the shopping site. My husband and I both have a companion pass so we fly everywhere with out kids for free! Saved over $10,000 yearly easily. Also, my husband dumped United for Southwest as his schedule changes often and WN is so accommodating. For Biz travelers once you reach A status then you don’t have to pay for an early bird seat anymore either. Free TV on board on your device, funny flight attendants. Hope they never change!

Reply to  Beth
1 year ago

Free TV is awesome…can’t believe I forgot that one. Thanks for commenting!

1 year ago

I’ve had the Companion Pass for several years, and we get a lot of use from it, especially nice is the ability to use the CP when booking with miles. That said, there are times when you can book a First Class ticket on a another major carrier. I’ve always said ‘you can’t “just date” the airlines, you need to pick one and marry it, and acquire all the status and perks you can’. I went all-in with SW a few years ago, and have rarely been disappointed. The ability to quickly change flights from a mobile device with no fees has allowed me to re-route myself around bad weather while waiting at a gate.

Reply to  George
1 year ago

Awesome, George! Appreciate you sharing your experience.

1 year ago

I love Southwest for all of the reasons you talk about ie a no BS experience. Except for the early check in option, the price you’re quoted on their website is pretty much what you’re going to pay. No surprises at the counter. Love the curbside check in where available. Drop your bags, get your boarding pass and you’re on your way to TSA.!

Reply to  John
1 year ago

Yeah, I’ve trained myself to just set an alarm for 24 hours prior to departure to check-in. You get used to it after awhile. Thanks for commenting!