Today is the big day where Southwest has extended their flight schedule. You can now go ahead and book flights through August 16, 2021. Up until this point you were only able to book through April 11, 2021 which means you can now book the rest of your spring flights into the summer — including MLK weekend, end of school year flights and a good portion of the summer. Many times booking the day the Southwest flight schedule is released will give you the best deal for peak dates.
For many though, this might be very anti-climatic. Typically this is one of my favorite days of the year, but with travel being so unknown this day due to COVID-19, there is definitely some concern around travel.
Photo by Ralph Freso, Getty Images
Book Now, Cancel Later
I personally love the flexibility of Southwest because I can cancel my vacation plans with NO PENALTY! I can also continue to watch the prices of the flight and if they go down in price I can get the difference in points back. You can read more about the exact process and steps to go about this with these blog posts: “Changing and Canceling a Southwest Flight”, “If a Southwest Flight Goes Down in Price….”, and “Seeing if a Southwest Flight Went Down in Price is Now a Lot Easier“. But essentially if you…
- Paid for the flight… You will receive a voucher for the difference in fare price to be used one year from the date the flight was originally purchased (NOT the date the change or re-price process took place). This voucher is non-transferable. The voucher will be tied to the confirmation number of the original flight. There is NO fee for this.
- Booked your flight using points… The difference in points will go back into your account immediately. The taxes paid will go back to the credit card used. Again, there is NO fee for this. This is why I love booking Southwest flights using points!
Remember, Southwest will now track your Travel Fund vouchers for you, so you no longer have to manually keep track.
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 up to 80,000 points — 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, plus an additional 30,000 points after you spend 10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months. ($69 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn up to 80,000 points — 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, plus an additional 30,000 points after you spend 10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months. ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: Earn up to 80,000 points — 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, plus an additional 30,000 points after you spend 10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months. ($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 big Southwest family, which means the day the flight extension schedule comes out is a big travel booking day for me. But, this year is different. I truly do not know if I will be on a plane in 2021, but I sure hope so. There are so many things that could happen between now and then — better or worse — and I am just not confident in travel right now. I live in the Northeast where things were hit hard initially and people are more conservative with the virus overall.
With that being said, I have gone ahead and booked a few different trip options. Since Southwest allows you to easily cancel a flight booked with points, there was no reason not to book. I am in no way locked into anything and I can cancel the day of, if needed.
What are your thoughts on travel? Did you book?