Southwest works very differently than most other US carriers. Instead of having their flight schedule available 330 days out, they push out their booking window in batches a few months at a time. Up until now, flight are only available through Oct. 30, 2020, but that is set to change tomorrow. As of now, Southwest is extending their reservation schedule on May 28th so for you to book flights through Jan. 4, 2021. This means you’ll be able to book flights for many popular timeframes, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Typically, the new schedule is loaded at some point between 6am and 10am.
Book with the New Southwest Schedule
From past experience, booking the day the schedule is released could get you the best prices for peak travel dates — especially since this is an incredibly popular time to travel. Although, I have no idea what the current pandemic situation will look like for this fall and winter, so do not get your hopes up.
Fortunately though, since Southwest has no change or cancelation fees, you can book now and cancel later. This also means if a Southwest flight drops in price, you can get the difference back simply by going through the process of “changing” your flight. If you pay for your flight, you’ll end up with a Travel Fund voucher if you cancel or if the price goes down. But, if you use points, the points will simply go back into the account they were booked from. This also means if you need to cancel your flight due to COVID-19 you are pretty covered. Here is the break-down:
- Paid for the flight. For non-refundable fares, you will receive a voucher for the difference in fare price (or full fare price if you are canceling). Typically, Southwest Travel Fund voucher can be used one year from the date the flight was originally purchased. However, Southwest has been very generous with extending expiration dates. For refundable fares, you will receive the difference in fare price back to the credit card used. Regardless of the fare type, there is no fee.
- Booked your flight using points. The difference in points will go back into your account immediately. Again, there is no fee for this. This is why I love booking Southwest flights using points!
Book Now, Add Your Companion Later
If you are going for the Southwest Companion Pass, where you can fly a companion 2-for-1, you can still book your flight now and add your companion later. Once you actually receive the pass, you can go ahead and add on your companion to your reservation. Remember, your companion flies for free plus taxes/fees. This is a great way to take advantage of todays prices with the Southwest flight schedule release and have your companion fly for free.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. ($69 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. ($149 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card: Earn up to 100,000 points — 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months, plus an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first six months. ($199 annual fee)
We are a huge Southwest family and when flights open for peak time periods I am usually extremely excited. This year is clearly different. I will absolutely be making flights speculatively, but I truly do not believe I will be flying during this time frame. Fortunately though, Southwest makes it extremely easy where I can make sure I have December break flights booked in case the things start to look brighter in six months.
Will you be booking flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas break?
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