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Wanna Get Away

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

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

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 40,000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals.
BENEFITS
Earn 3000 points on your cardmember anniversary.
All points from credit card count toward Companion Pass.
FEES
$69 annual fee.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
Southwest points are great because when they have a sale, their award chart goes on sale as well. By getting a personal and business Southwest card you can be well on your way to Companion Pass status.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 40,000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals.
BENEFITS
Earn 6000 points on your cardmember anniversary.
All points from credit card count toward Companion Pass.
FEES
$99 annual fee.
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
Southwest points are great because when they have a sale, their award chart goes on sale as well. By getting a personal and business Southwest card you can be well on your way to Companion Pass status.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority

LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 40,000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 2X points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals.
BENEFITS
$75 Southwest travel credit each year.
4 Upgraded boardings per year.
20% back on in-flight drinks and wi-fi.
Earn 7500 points on your cardmember anniversary.
All points from credit card count toward Companion Pass.
FEES
$149 annual fee.
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
Southwest points are great because when they have a sale, their award chart goes on sale as well. By getting a personal and business Southwest card you can be well on your way to Companion Pass status.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 60,000 points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 2X points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals.
BENEFITS
Earn 6000 points on your cardmember anniversary.
All points from credit card count toward Companion Pass.
FEES
$99 annual fee.
No foreign transaction fees.
Employee cards at no additional cost.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
Southwest points are great because when they have a sale, their award chart goes on sale as well. By getting a personal and business Southwest card you can be well on your way to Companion Pass status.

 

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

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 60,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 2X points on travel and dining.
BENEFITS
Points are worth 25% more when used in the Chase travel portal.
No foreign transaction fees.
1:1 point transfer partner hotels and airlines.
FEES
$95
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
This is the best first travel credit card to get. It has a valuable signup bonus with easy to redeem points. You also get a boost to your points value in the Chase travel portal.

 

Ink Business Preferred

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 80,000 points after spending $5000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 3X points on travel and select business expenses (including online social media ads).
*Limited to first $150k per year.
BENEFITS
Points are worth 25% more when used in the Chase travel portal.
No foreign transaction fees.
Employee cards at no additional cost.
FEES
$95
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
The signup bonus alone for this card is amazing. Pair that with some great rewards earning for your business and this card is great. If you have a business, we find the Ink Preferred to be the best offer available.

 

Chase Freedom

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn $150 (in the form of 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 5% on rotating quarterly categories. (up to $1500 in purchases per quarter)
BENEFITS
Points can be transferred to primary Chase cards for better redemptions.
Free credit score.
ANNUAL FEE
No annual fee
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
This is one of the best "cash back" cards for earning rewards. You can earn up to 5X per dollar and those points can be transferred to a primary Chase card for better redemptions. It's a perfect card to pair with either of the Sapphire cards or the Ink Business Preferred.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 50,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 3X points on travel and dining.
BENEFITS
$300 annual travel credit.
Priority Pass Select airport lounge access.
TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
Points are worth 50% more when used in the Chase travel portal.
No foreign transaction fees.
1:1 point transfers to partner hotels and airlines.
FEES
$450
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
This is one of the best premium travel credit cards if you want some luxury. It has a valuable signup bonus with easy to redeem points. You also get a boost to your points value in the Chase travel portal. The biggest key to this card is the airport lounge access. If you travel a lot, it's extremely valuable.

 

Wanna Get Away on Southwest? 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.

 

Advertiser Disclosure: Travel Freedom has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel Freedom and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
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