Wanna Get Away

Wanna Get Away? Learn How to Save Money with Southwest Airlines

Editorial Disclaimer: This post may include references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to specific products. The opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer. Thank you for supporting us.  We appreciate you.

If you’ve never flown Southwest before, it can be a daunting task to figure out what’s going on. Southwest does things a little bit different than most other airlines. I love them for it, and so do most people who take the time to understand how the process works. I’ve found that I save a ton of money by flying Southwest and I’m sure you could too. Also, because I often use points for flights, I save a lot of points by knowing how Southwest works. Everyone has heard Southwests slogan “Wanna Get Away”, but not everyone knows what a Wanna Get Away fare is.

 

What is a Southwest Wanna Get Away Fare?

First, we’ll start by learning about the types of flight booking fares that Southwest has. Southwest Has 3 different booking fare types. They’re called “Business Select”, “Anytime”, and “Wanna Get Away”. So, what’s the difference between them? In the big picture, the only difference that really matters is the price you’ll pay. There are other small differences like automatically getting to board first, a priority boarding line at some airports, and a free in-flight alcoholic drink. But, do these differences really matter very much?

The Difference Between Southwests Booking Fares

The only difference, besides the price, that may matter to you is the ability to get a refund on a canceled flight. Wanna Get Away fares are the only ones that don’t offer a traditional refund. Later on, I’ll explain to you why I don’t think any of these features warrant paying extra money (or points) for your flight. Wanna Get Away fares can be very low priced and extremely cheap compared to Business Select and Anytime fares. In fact, I’ve never booked a flight outside of the Wanna Get Away fare class. It just doesn’t make sense for me to book the others.

southwest booking fares wanna get away

 

As you can see, there’s really not that much of a difference in the three booking fares. When booking a Wanna Get Away fare, you’ll still be able to check two bags for free, you’ll still have no change fees, and you can still cancel your flight and get reusable funds to use on another flight within 12 months (almost as good as a cash refund). I calculate the value of a Business Select fare at about $20 of value more than a Wanna Get Away fare. Here’s how I calculated that:

  • Priority Security: $4 Value (TSA PreCheck is $85 for 5 years)
  • Priority Boarding: 5 Minute Value (you can set an alarm to check in at 24 hrs)
  • Complimentary Premium Drink: Up to $7 (Southwest Drink Menu)
  • 600 Extra Miles per $100 Spent: $9 (1.5 cents per point)

 

Southwest Wanna Get Away Fares Save Money

Get Priority Security with TSA PreCheck

When it comes to priority security, you can get it in other ways. I recommend purchasing TSA PreCheck if you travel much at all. It gives you priority security lines for EVERY flight, no matter which airline you’re on and it’s only $85 for a 5-year membership! That’s the best $17 per year you can possibly spend toward travel.

EarlyBird Check-In for $15

If being one of the first people to board the plane is important to you, Southwest offers “EarlyBird Check-In” which automatically checks you in before the 24 hours before your flight. It costs $15-25 for each one-way flight.

Get Group A Boarding by Setting an Alarm

Or, you can basically get priority boarding for free on Southwest flights, by doing one simple thing. Set an alarm on your phone for 24 hours and 5 minutes before your departure time. When your alarm goes off, open the Southwest app on your phone and wait to check-in until exactly 24 hours before your flight. You’ll use your confirmation number and last name to check in. It’s as simple as that to always get boarding group A. This technique has never failed me and is far better than paying extra money simply to check in. I can’t help you with the complimentary drink, but hey, they only cost $6-7…

southwest airlines companion pass

 

Southwest Fare Types: Paying with Cash

The difference in prices for a Wanna Get Away fare and the other two fare types are astronomical. Just see the booking table below for a flight I was searching for. The top table shows dollar amounts for flights and the bottom table shows the same flight costs if using points.

southwest booking wanna get away


Southwest Fare Types: Paying with Points (same flights as above)

southwest booking with points wanna get away

Save even more money by booking your flight with points. Don’t know how to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points? It’s as easy as getting a new credit card (or two). I’ve earned hundreds of thousands of Southwest Rapid Rewards points through the co-branded Southwest credit cards and through the Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards. Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio.

It’s even possible to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass through credit card introductory offers alone. My wife and I have a companion pass through the end of 2019, which means we fly 2 for 1 on every Southwest flight we take (including flights booked with points). It essentially doubles the value of your Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

 

Wanna Get Away Fares are 4X Cheaper

As you can see in the booking table above, Wanna Get Away flights are nearly 4X cheaper than the other fare types. Is it worth paying 4X more, essentially to get a free $5 drink?!? I don’t think so. With the money you saved, you could go buy a 5-year membership to TSA PreCheck, buy a top-notch alarm, AND buy a few cases of alcohol. You do the math… Next time you book a flight on Southwest, I wouldn’t look at anything but Wanna Get Away fares.

The bottom booking table shows the flights in points prices. As you can see, Southwest points are worth about 1.5-2 cents per point when used to book Wanna Get Away fares. This is a great way to use your points for a high-value return. You can make it even higher (double the value) by earning a Southwest Companion Pass as my wife did.

 

Southwest Airlines Check In Process

The Southwest Airlines check in process is different than other airlines. Everyone boards the plane in the order of their boarding position. When you check in for the flight you will be given a boarding position with a letter and a number. For example, if you were to check in 24 hours before your flight using the alarm procedure I described earlier, you might get boarding position A34.

The boarding process goes like this. Group A boards the plane first (then B, then C) and with A34 you would board 34th out of all passengers. When you board, you have the option to sit in any available seat. So, basically the earlier you board the closer to the front of the plane you will sit (unless you like the back). The only important parts of boarding early are getting a seat next to your travel partner(s) and getting the seat you want (window or aisle). I doubt you like the middle seat, but who knows…

 

Southwest is Testing a New Boarding Process

wanna get away southwestAt a few airports, Southwest is currently testing out a new boarding and deplaning process. In Burbank, Long Beach, Sacramento, and San Jose Southwest is boarding and deplaning through both the front and back doors of the plane. Opting into boarding or deplaning through the back door means you will have to walk up or down portable stairs leading to the plane. You’ll still be welcomed to sit wherever you desire. They are testing this out to see if it will speed up the boarding process and get passengers to their destinations sooner.

 

 

Wanna Get Away? Funny Southwest TV Commercials

Here are some reasons you may wanna get away. While looking into Southwest Wanna Get Away fares, I came across this compilation video of Southwest TV commercials. I found a lot of them to actually be pretty funny and bring back memories of when they were airing on television. Take a few minutes to watch and they might give you some Wanna Get Away inspiration.

 

Where Does Southwest Fly? Hint: It’s not just the SW

Southwest is absolutely not just a regional airline anymore. They have 103 total destinations including 15 internationally and 4 in Hawaii. The routes that Southwest flies cover the whole United States and beyond, flying into Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

 

Credit Cards that Earn Southwest Rapid Rewards

There are four credit cards that earn Southwest Rapid Rewards directly. They typically offer between 40-60,000 points as an introductory offer. If you time your applications right and are approved for both a personal and business card, you can even earn a Southwest Companion Pass automatically. To earn the Southwest Companion Pass you must earn 110,000 points in one calendar year.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

Up to 60,000 Points after meeting multiple spending tiers within the given time frames

Chase Southwest Plus Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 20,000 points after spending $12,000 in the first year.
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • Annual Fee: $69

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

Up to 60,000 Points after meeting multiple spending tiers within the given time frames

Chase Southwest Premier Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 20,000 points after spending $12,000 in the first year.
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual Fee: $99

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority

Up to 60,000 Points after meeting multiple spending tiers within the given time frames

southwest rapid rewards priority credit card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 20,000 points after spending $12,000 in the first year.
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest travel credit every year.
  • 4 Upgraded boardings per year.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks, wi-fi, messaging, and movies.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual Fee: $149

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business

60,000 Points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months

Chase Southwest RR Premier Business Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost and earn points on employee spending.
  • Annual Fee: $99

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

how to get southwest companion pass

 

Earning Even More Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

There are some other credit cards that offer the ability to transfer to Southwest. Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio into Southwest Rapid Rewards. If you have a companion pass, you can also book Southwest flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal and then add your companion to the flight.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards and potentially even more if transferred to travel partners.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 2 points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Freedom

15,000 Points after spending $500 in the first 3 months

Chase Freedom Credit Card Review
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn a $150 Bonus (via 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Introductory APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.  The categories are things like grocery stores, gas stations, internet, cable, phone services, Walgreens, and even using Chase Pay.  You’ll earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Free Credit Score: View your credit score, updated every week on Credit Journey.
  • Annual Fee: No annual fee

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: Earn an introductory 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.
  • Statement Credits: Receive a $300 in statement credits each year (based on your account anniversary) to cover travel expenses like airfare and hotels.
  • Receive a $100 Statement credit as reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining and on travel that doesn’t qualify for the $300 travel reimbursement each year and one point per $1 on everything else.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Receive 50 percent more value for your points when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Airport Lounge Access: Visit more than 1000 airport lounge locations while traveling with a Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Annual Fee: $450

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Wanna Get Away? Go For It

If you wanna get away, there are a lot of options to do so. When flying Southwest, I’d recommend always booking a Wanna Get Away fare. It will save you either money or points and will give you nearly just as good of an experience. Remember, Wanna Get Away flights are 4X cheaper than the other booking fares. That’s the most important thing when it comes to booking your flight.