When Southwest Free Flights Come in Handy


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Unfortunately this past week my Grandmother passed away. It was expected and almost everyone was a car ride away with the exception of my sister. My sister needed to fly to the Northeast from Atlanta and as you can imagine last minute flights were extremely expensive. While the airlines have bereavement fares they are still outrageous.

Since we knew about a week in advance that this day was coming my dad and I teamed up to ensure my sister would have an easy flight home and the cost would not be such a burden. My family was always a Southwest fan and earned many free tickets during the old Southwest Rapid Reward 1.0 program. Between my immediate family we had 8 free roundtrip flights still available. Unlike the new program, seats are capacity controlled, but a free ticket is a free ticket regardless of price. We wanted to book the tickets in advance to ensure free flight availability, but with situations like this you unfortunately just do not know the exact date to fly home. We paid the $50 on two of the tickets to extend them another year and at any given time had two flight options going for my sister. If we needed to change the flights we did without any penalty, that is the beauty of Southwest. No change or cancellation fees! We changed the flights a total of four times and when the time came, my sister had a flight already booked that evening to make it home for the funeral the next day. The unused ticket went back into my Dad’s account to be used at another time. If we had waited, the free flights would no longer have been available and a paid ticket would have cost about $600 roundtrip.

While I know many are anti-Southwest, never dismiss the beauty of no change or cancellation fees! This is probably the best perk one can ask for, espeically when trying to use free tickets.

I also know my Grandmother would be proud as she always loved a good deal! I guess it runs in the family! Love you nanny.

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16 Comments
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Richard Chen
10 years ago

These are the times when all our travel knowledge is not only most needed but most valuable. Thank you for sharing & God bless her soul.

jetsetr
jetsetr
10 years ago

So sorry for you family’s loss. Thinking of you. And I’m sure your nanny is looking down and smiling at all of your good deals.

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago
Reply to  jetsetr

@Thanks jetsetr

Iolaire McFadden
Iolaire McFadden
10 years ago

I find US Airways miles good for last minute trips to visit my Grandmother. Just this weekend I few DCA -> SLC booking Saturday AM for a Saturday PM flight return Sunday Midnight for only 20k miles with the US Airways card discount (5k) + $110 in booking fees. That was quite good for a $800+ ticket. United was also available but those miles are being saved to get me future.

Jayson
Jayson
10 years ago

My loyalty is with SWA first, and then Delta.

mommypoints
mommypoints
10 years ago

Deals, sorry to hear about your grandmother. I 100% agree that having miles/points is so important for situations like this when families need to get together at the last minute. Thinking of your family!

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago
Reply to  mommypoints

@Thanks MP!

P T
P T
10 years ago

Mrs Deals, Very sorry for your loss. Rapid Rewards 2.0 is not so generous, forgiving, or reasonable. SWA lost my business when it changed the RR program. When the points required are low, so are the prices. Might as well buy a ticket.

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago
Reply to  P T

@P T – There are definitely pros and cons with each program, but I am with you on this one – 1.0 was 100% better than 2.0. The main reason I love SWA though is due to the companion pass.

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Million Mile Secrets
Million Mile Secrets
10 years ago

Terribly sorry to hear this, and often times the last minute fares are exorbitant and most folks have no choice but to pay.

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago

@MMS – You are absolutely correct and when those times come you just gotta forget about the money and do what you gotta do. However, if points can be easily used it is a great way to keep the cost down. Thanks for sending your regards.

W Brian Duncan (AKA IPBrian)

Sorry to hear about your Nanny…my Nannie passed this year, even when it’s expected it’s not easy.

The Points Guy
10 years ago

So sorry to hear about you Nanny, but very glad your sister could make it and be with the family. My thoughts are with your family!

dealswelike
dealswelike
10 years ago
Reply to  The Points Guy

Thanks TPG, much appreciated!

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