Here are 3 Southwest updates for today!
1. Southwest Credit Cards 50,000 Point Bonus Ends Wednesday
The best way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is by signing-up for the 50,000 point Southwest credit cards before Wednesday, March 5, 2014. After Wednesday, the sign-up bonus will decrease and it won’t be that easy to get the Companion Pass!
That said, I’m sure that at least 1 out of the 4 versions will have the 50,000 point sign-up bonus after Wednesday. But it could be harder to find all 4 versions with the 50,000 points offers.
If you have a Southwest Companion Pass, your companion will fly free with you on BOTH paid flights or flights booked with points (you just pay the $2.50 security fee). You can book a seat for yourself and add your companion later if you don’t currently have a Companion Pass.
Read this post for all you need to know about the Southwest Companion Pass. You get the Companion Pass after earning 110,000 Companion Pass points. See this post for ways to get Companion Pass points after you get the credit card sign-up bonus.
And be sure you don’t make 3 common mistakes that won’t get you the Companion Pass!
That said, the 50,000 bonus usually comes back every 3 to 4 months, so if you don’t get the cards now, you should be able to get the bonus later on.
2. Wanna Get Away…to Mexico?
From August 10, 2014, Southwest will fly to Cancun and Los Cabos, Mexico. This is in addition to flights to Montego Bay, Aruba, and Nassau.
You can use Southwest’s interactive map to see when international flights will start from your city. I couldn’t find Austin in the drop down box, but Kansas City was listed!
Emily and I can’t wait to visit some of these new destinations!
3. Southwest Schedule Now Open Until October 31, 2014
You can also use Southwest points to fly to Aruba, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Mexico.
Unlike other airlines which open their schedule ~11 to 12 months in advance, Southwest opens their schedule ~6 to 8 months in advance.
Save Points By Booking Now For Flights Up to October 31, 2014
You can cancel a Southwest flight without penalty! If you redeemed points for your flight, the points go back to your account, so you can book your fall travel even if you’re not sure of your plans.
You’ll pay less points if you redeem your points before March 31, 2014 for flights on Southwest before and after March 31, 2014.
That’s because the cost of using points will increase for flights booked after March 31, 2014. So your points will be worth ~15% less if you book a flight on, say, June 1, 2014 which is AFTER March 31, 2014.
But you will pay fewer points for the same flight booked BEFORE March 31, 2014. If the number of points required for an award drops or if your plans change, you can cancel and rebook your ticket without a fee!
If you cancel a paid flight at least 10 minutes prior to departure, you can get a credit for the entire ticket amount (no change fees on Southwest!) valid for up to one year from the date of issue.
You should be able to cancel an AirTran ticket for free as long as you booked it on the Southwest (and not on the AirTran) website.
Other Ways to Earn Southwest Points
If you’re running low on Southwest points, you can instantly transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, (no longer available) Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus to Southwest Airlines on a 1:1 ratio.
You can also earn points from the sign-up bonus on the Southwest credit card!
But transferring points directly from Ultimate Rewards to Southwest do NOT count towards the Companion Pass. Instead transfer them to Hyatt or Marriott hotel points and from Hyatt or Marriott transfer to Southwest.
AirTran Schedule Open Through October 31, 2014
You can also book flights on AirTran up to October 31, 2014.
You can usually book AirTran flights (within the US and NOT to international destinations) on the Southwest website because Southwest and AirTran have connected their networks.
You won’t pay for 2 checked bags and you won’t pay a fee for cancellations, if you book AirTran flights on the Southwest website.
If you book on the AirTran website, you can pay to get an assigned seat, but you’ll also have to pay for your checked bags. I’d prefer to save money on checked bags than getting an assigned seat.
- You have to call AirTran at 800-247-8726 and request a credit (less the cancellation fee) when you cancel a paid flight.
- You have to call at least 1 hour prior to departure
- AND you will pay a $150 fee per passenger
You will be issued a credit for the remaining balance valid for up to 1 year after the booking was made. If you don’t call at least 1 hour prior to departure, you forfeit your airfare.
The 50,000 bonus point offer on all 4 versions of the Southwest credit cards ends this Wednesday, March 5, 2014. But the bonus comes and goes every 3 to 4 months.
Southwest will soon be flying to Mexico, as they take over more international routes flown by AirTran (with whom they are merging).
Southwest and AirTran schedules are open through October 31, 2014. So it doesn’t hurt to book your fall 2014 travel now, even if you’re not 100% sure of your plans.
That’s because Southwest does not charge change fees so there is no penalty for canceling the flights and re-booking. And because your Southwest points are worth ~15% less if you use them to book award flights after March 31, 2014.