Southwest Airlines is a low-cost airline and also the best option for anyone looking to fly to their holiday destinations on a budget. Southwest offers travelers overall low airline fare prices, a free checked Southwest baggage policy, free seating choice, and limited fees. It is thus, truly the epitome of a budget airline that has also won the hearts of several frequent flyers in the United States. And to make things even more interesting, you can take advantage of a few hacks and tips to help make your airfares and overall flyer experience cheaper and better.
In this travel guide prepared by Treknova, we shall take a look at a couple of easy travel hacks that could save you money on Southwest Airlines flights.
20 Money-Saving Southwest Airlines Travel hacks to save Money
Here are over a dozen ways you can easily save money when traveling on Southwest Airlines flights.
1. Earn Lots of Rapid Rewards Points
Southwest Airlines offers passengers Rapid Rewards points, which is a free program that allows you to earn points with the purchase of every Southwest flight ticket, including hotel stay, rental car, holiday, and travel experience. These Rapid Rewards Points can also be redeemed for free flights.
This is by far one of the easiest and best ways to travel free on Southwest Airlines flights.
2. Get a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Getting a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card can help you travel cheap on Southwest flights. With the Southwest Premier Credit Card, you will get twice the points per $1 spent on Southwest Airline flights, plus hotels and car rentals, as well. Also, you can get one point each per $1 spent on everyday purchases. Additionally, you will get a 6,000 points bonus on your first Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card membership anniversary.
They also offer a sign-up bonus. You can earn 50,000 Rapid Reward Points after you spend at least $2,000 in three months of your travel. Now, this literally can equal anywhere from 3-to 4 round-trip flights. It is insane. A weekend trip to Vegas may be closer than it seems.
3. Purchase Southwest Airlines Gift Cards at a Discount
When you purchase Southwest Airlines gift cards at a discount from Raise, you can easily save anywhere from 2-4 percent on your travel.
Though it may not seem like a significant saving, however, in reality, this saving can cover your purchase of in-flight Wi-Fi service or a premium beverage.
4. Sign Up for Southwest Airlines’ Click ‘N Save Program
When you sign up for Southwest’s Click ‘N Save program, you will be able to receive updates and notifications each time there is a new deal available. All this is based on your home airport preferences.
Also, signing up for the program will even help determine the best time for you to book your next Southwest flight. This means there is less hassle on your part.
5. Upgrade to Business Select Ticket at the Airport
Instead of paying double the price for a Business Select ticket, you can actually upgrade your ticket at the check-in gate for only $40. This will give you a higher possibility of snagging an exit row or the front row as opposed to someone assigned to A45. It can be a little bit risky, but if things are in your favor, the quality of your flight will go up 300% with overhead bin access and a free premium drink.
If you love being the first one exiting the plane so that you can snag an exit row or the first row, then you probably investing in a Business Select ticket (or even Early Bird) is an ideal choice.
6. Sign Up for Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards Dining Program
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Dining program is one of the easiest ways to help you earn points just by eating out at their partner retailers. All you will need to do is simply sign up with them for free, then register your credit card or debit card and dine at any of the 11,000 participating restaurants, bars, or clubs, and pay for your meals with your registered card.
What’s more! You will earn 3 points for every dollar you spend and an extra 10 points for every online review you complete. Also, when you sign up early, you have the chance to earn 500 bonus points by spending $25 in your first 30 days.
7. Sign Up for Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards Shopping Program
In addition to Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Dining program, there is another quite similar way through which you can easily earn more Rapid Rewards points. This can be achieved by signing up for Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Shopping program. Literally, you will rack up points just for shopping online.
All you need to do to get started is sign up on Southwest’s website, then search for participating online stores to start shopping. You can select one or more stores or offers, then complete a purchase, and you will earn points that will be credited to your account. It’s that easy!
Additionally, there are a few partner stores that participate in providing customers with some incredible offers. So, you can easily earn a lot of reward points.
8. Recheck Your Existing Flight’s Price During Flash Sales
Never give yourself a moment of regret, especially when purchasing your Southwest flight ticket. This may often be one of the worst feelings you may have when you book a reservation one day and the next day, you find out that the same reservation is now 40% cheaper or heavily discounted. However, thanks to Southwest Airlines’ zero change fees, you can now book your flight without any regrets.
So, instead of waiting for a deal to be available at the last minute, simply book your flight as soon as you can and ensure to re-check the status on the Southwest.com website for any new sales or promotions. If you find a Southwest Airlines deal, all you need to do is log in to your account and select the “Change Reservation” option. Now, you can quickly rebook the legs of your flight and check in the summary for any price reduction.
Upon rebooking your Southwest flight reservation, the entire balance of your non-refundable fare will be credited to you as an account credit, which is good for a full year. Also, if you booked your flight with Rapid Reward points, the difference will be refunded back from Southwest into your account which will not expire.
9. Book Your Rental Car through Southwest
In addition to earning Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Points, which is by far the easiest way to save money on Southwest flights and holidays, booking your rental car through them is also almost a no-brainer. A few rental car companies will offer great deals, such as 30% off plus four times the points, or even better, over 2,000 points when you book through a company for certain days.
All you need to do is simply go to Southwest Airlines’ Rental Car page on their website and search for a car. Find the cheapest option that is most suitable for you. After having made your selection, return to the Rental Car homepage, then look for a deal and book it.
10. Sign Up for RocketMiles Program
If you do not know, RocketMiles is a hotel rate search engine that is owned by Priceline. Their program rewards you in airline miles or points whenever you complete a stay in hotels through them.
All you have to do is sign up for a free account, link your Rapid Rewards account number, search for hotels, and start earning points after each stay at qualified hotels. With some hotel stays, you can also earn 8,000 Rapid Reward points, which is about the cost of a one-way ticket.
11. Find Airport Parking Coupons via Southwest’s In-flight Magazine
Southwest: The Magazine is Southwest’s magazine that is provided to passengers in-flight. Their magazine usually includes coupons for airport parking garages and local restaurants between articles.
So, this can be worth checking out.
12. Fly Frequently and Avail Southwest’s Companion Pass Benefit
Southwest Airlines offers Companion Pass to frequent flyers, which is a loyalty perk. With Companion Pass, your friend, family, spouse, relative, or whomever you choose as your companion can fly with you for free.
However, the condition is that you will need to fly at least 100 one-way flights or earn 110,000 Rapid Reward Points in a calendar year.
13. Contact Southwest Immediately in Case of Delayed Flight or other Feedback
As per one of Southwest Airlines’ policies, if your flight has been delayed for more than 45 minutes, then Southwest will rebook you onto another flight (same destination) for free.
So, if your flight has even been delayed due to issues not caused by you, or if you just had an overall poor experience, be sure to give Southwest your feedback, and you could be offered a cash voucher for your future flight.
14. Look Out for Offers on Southwest’s Promotions Page
Southwest Airlines offers a number of deals and promotions regularly on its website. So, if you check their “Special Offers‘ tab, you will notice a couple of ongoing deals and promotions that you can take advantage of.
15. Purchase More Rapid Rewards Points
If you wanted to purchase a flight ticket with Rapid Rewards points, but found yourself short, it sometimes would be cheaper to just buy more points on your account, as opposed to just purchasing the full ticket. Also, if things are in your favor, Southwest might offer deals, where you can earn anywhere up to 60% more Rapid Rewards points per purchase of a flight ticket.
And, if you have any friends, family members, or relatives that have plenty of points, be sure to reach out to them. That way they can send you the necessary amount of points you need to book your flight.
16. Participate in Southwest’s Rewards for Opinions Program
You can actually earn Southwest Rapid Rewards Points by simply filling out a few short surveys and also, watching videos or ads. Visit Southwest’s website and click the “Rewards for Opinions” tab to learn more about how to participate in the program and earn points.
17. Compare Flight Fares at Nearby Airports
If you are flying out of an area that has multiple airports, you should check the price of flights for each applicable location. For example, if you are flying to Disneyland, you can search for flights to Santa Ana, Long Beach, or LAX.
You would be surprised to discover how much cheaper flight tickets can be for airports that are only 30-45 minutes from each other.
18. Prefer Taking the Earliest Non-Stop Flight
Although this may not always be 100% accurate or the cheapest, in general, taking the earliest non-stop flight of the day and the latest one is typically the cheapest option. The cheapest flight is usually available early in the morning.
19. Southwest Airline Military Discount Fares
Southwest Airlines also offers Military Fares to U.S. military personnel and their family. In order to take advantage of this military discount, you must be on active duty and be able to present valid identification when traveling.
Southwest will even waive all your baggage fees, even if the bag is overweight or you have multiple bags (up to 5).
20. Use Southwest Rapid Rewards Points to Avail TSA Pre-Check Benefit
If you did not already know, you can actually use your Southwest Rapid Rewards Points to cover your application fee for TSA Pre-Check. That’s right! All you need is 9,000 points.
So, here we have shared with you the 20 money-saving tips and travel hacks when traveling on Southwest Airlines flights. This could help you with your future flights and without having to spend a lot of money on your holiday travels.