The Guide to Southwest Wanna Get Away Fares

The Wanna Get Away fare offers notable affordability with just a few downsides.

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Southwest Wanna Get Away fares are the cheapest of the four Southwest fare types — but should you book them? Sure, you’ll save money, but the tradeoffs in not getting all the perks that the more expensive fare classes offer might not necessarily be worth it.

Here’s everything you need to know about Southwest Wanna Get Away fares, and how to decide if booking Southwest’s most affordable fare type is for you.

Southwest ticket options at a glance

Southwest has four fare options:

  1. Wanna Get Away: The cheapest fare — and the one with the fewest benefits.

  2. Wanna Get Away Plus: Southwest’s newest fare, introduced in the first half of 2022.

  3. Anytime: The formerly–sole middle fare, but now one of the better tiers.

  4. Business Select: Southwest’s version of first class.

Although a Southwest Wanna Get Away fare can be cheaper, this fare type may have some drawbacks. For example, Wanna Get Away tickets aren’t refundable. Instead, they’re reusable because you'll receive a travel credit if you cancel your trip (luckily though, travel credits never expire). You'll also earn fewer Southwest Rapid Rewards points with this fare type.

What is Wanna Get Away on Southwest Airlines?

Wanna Get Away is the cheapest Southwest fare class. But unlike the airlines with basic economy that don’t even let you bring a small suitcase for the overhead bin and refuse to even give you a flight credit for a canceled flight, Wanna Get Away is surprisingly consumer-friendly.

Here’s what you can expect when flying on a Wanna Get Away ticket:

  • You’ll earn 6 Rapid Rewards points per $1 spent on airfare, rather than the 8, 10 or 12 Rapid Rewards points you can earn on other Southwest fares. However, the earning potential of just two, four or six extra points per dollar is pretty nominal, so we wouldn't recommend choosing a higher fare to earn more points. There are far better ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

  • You can cancel Wanna Get Away tickets without penalty as long as you do so at least 10 minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure time, but you’ll get a flight credit instead of a refund. Flight credits don't expire.

  • Wanna Get Away ticketed passengers aren’t eligible for same-day change or same-day standby benefits. If your travel plans change, you won’t be offered a seat on another same-day flight, if available. You also won’t be able to get on a waitlist for a same-day standby flight. These perks are available to travelers with Anytime and Business Select tickets.

  • There are no change fees as long as you make changes at least 10 minutes before your flight’s scheduled departure time. This benefit applies to all Southwest fare types. If you buy a new ticket, you’ll be responsible for any price differences for the new fare.

  • You can bring two checked bags for free. All Southwest fares qualify for this perk.

How Southwest seating and boarding works

When you purchase Southwest’s Wanna Get Away fare, you won’t receive a seat assignment. Unlike other U.S. airlines, Southwest has an unconventional boarding system. There’s no assigned seating, and you can’t choose your seat in advance. Instead, travelers select their seats after boarding the plane.

Your boarding group (A, B, C) and position (1-60) determine when you board the plane. Your boarding group and position are assigned at check-in, so the sooner you check in, the better position you get. You can check in for your flight starting 24 hours before departure time.

If you don’t like the idea of getting on the plane later, you might purchase a Business Select fare. With Business Select, you’ll be guaranteed an A1 to A15 boarding position.

If Business Select is out of your budget, you might turn to Anytime, which gives you the slightly-less-good, but still useful, Early Bird Check-In. With this, Southwest will automatically check you in 36 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time.

Alternatively, you can buy Early Bird Check-In separately for your Wanna Get Away fare. Prices vary by flight but are typically $15-$25 per person. You also receive two Early Bird Check-Ins each year as a benefit of holding the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you’re a Rapid Rewards A-List or A-List Preferred loyalty member, Southwest will automatically check you in for your flight 36 hours before departure.

How to book Southwest Wanna Get Away fares

How do you buy Wanna Get Away tickets?

Since Southwest doesn't allow online travel agencies or other online search tools, like Google Flights, to show their prices, you'll need to search for tickets on the Southwest website.

After you search, you'll see prices listed for all four fare types. You can view pricing in dollars or points. You can also use the search filters to find nonstop flights or flights at certain times of the day. Use the low-fare calendar to see the lowest available prices. Select the Wanna Get Away fare option and complete the check-out process to buy your tickets.

Is Wanna Get Away the best value?

If you're a traveler who appreciates a good deal and doesn't need special perks, Wanna Get Away fares may make sense for your travel style. They're often the best value because they still get you where you need to go at a lower price.

We compared Wanna Get Away fares with the three other Southwest fare types to determine which is best:

Southwest Wanna Get Away fare vs. Wanna Get Away Plus

Wanna Get Away Plus is Southwest’s newest fare class. While similar to Wanna Get Away, it does offer a couple benefits that can be significant if you value flexibility. Here’s why Wanna Get Away Plus might turn out better for you:

Higher points earning: As a Rapid Rewards program member, you earn 6 points per dollar spent on your Wanna Get Away Plus ticket. Wanna Get Away Plus fares earn rewards at a higher rate of 8 points per dollar.

Let’s say you’re spending $100 with Southwest. Given NerdWallet’s valuation of a Southwest point at 1.5 cents, you’d earn about $8 worth of points if that $100 went toward an Anytime ticket. You’d earn about $11 if that money went to buy a Wanna Get Away Plus fare.

Transferable flight credit: Assuming you and your buddy are both Southwest Rapid Rewards program members, you can transfer your unused flight credit to another traveler for future use. If you don’t intend to fly Southwest again, this can be a helpful benefit.

Same-day confirmed changes and standby list: If there’s an open seat on a different flight on the same calendar day as your original flight (and it’s between the same cities), you can book a confirmed seat on the new flight at no additional cost — even if that flight is more expensive.

Southwest Wanna Get Away fare vs. Anytime fares

While the difference between Wanna Get Away versus Plus is relatively minor, you start to see some major changes when you upgrade to an Anytime fare. Among the reasons to opt for Anytime over Wanna Get Away: We found Wanna Get Away fares cost about 31% less on average than Anytime fares. The exact difference in price can vary significantly depending on your destination and travel dates.

Although Wanna Get Away fares can be significantly cheaper than Anytime fares, you should remember that Wanna Get Away tickets have some disadvantages. Here are the perks of paying for the higher-level ticket.

Higher points earning: As a Rapid Rewards program member, you earn 10 points per dollar spent on your Anytime ticket. Wanna Get Away fares earn rewards at a lower rate of 6 points per dollar.

Let’s say you’ve spent $100 with Southwest. Given NerdWallet’s valuation of a Southwest point at 1.5 cents, you’d earn about $14 worth of points if that $100 went toward an Anytime ticket. You’d earn about $8 if that money went to buy a Wanna Get Away fare.

Get your money back in cash: Sure, Southwest is generous in allowing you to cancel your flight and receive the money back in the form of Southwest travel funds. But with Anytime fares, Southwest is even more generous. Assuming you cancel at least 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure time, you’ll get a full refund back to your original form of payment.

That’s likely far more convenient than tying up your money to an account that can only be used for a future Southwest flight.

Get same-day changes and standby list access: If you want to fly on an earlier flight going to the same destination, you can get on a standby list at no extra cost. Meanwhile, Wanna Get Away flyers must pay the fare difference for the privilege.

EarlyBird Check-In: For those of you who are anxious about checking in to your flight at the exact 24-hour mark in hopes of getting that coveted A boarding group (only to inevitably find you’re in a B or C boarding group), EarlyBird Check-In removes that stress. With EarlyBird Check-In, you’re automatically checked in to your flight 36 hours before the scheduled departure (assuming you also bought the fare at least 36 hours in advance). For the folks with Wanna Get Away fares, go ahead and accept that C or D boarding group.

Priority and Express Lane access: If your airport offers it, Anytime customers can access special lines at check-in and security lines. Priority Lanes mean you can skip the line to check bags or speak to an agent at Southwest check-in counters. Meanwhile, Express Lanes whisk you through security checkpoints.

Southwest Wanna Get Away fare vs. Southwest Business Select

Southwest Business Select is Southwest’s most expensive fare type. Though there’s no such thing as a business class cabin on Southwest, this fare is most akin to business or first class. Here’s what you’ll get when booking Business Select versus Wanna Get Away.

Higher points earning: Business Select fares receive a hefty 12 points per dollar spent on Southwest.

Going back to the example of spending $100 with Southwest, and accepting NerdWallet’s valuation of a Southwest point at 1.5 cents, you’d earn about $17 if that money went to buy a Business Select fare (as opposed to just about $8 on the Wanna Get Away fare).

The best boarding position: Business Select fares guaranteed a priority boarding position between A1 and A15. This boarding position gives you the best possible chance of getting that front, window seat (or whichever seat you love most) because of the airline's open seating policy.

A premium drink: If the free Sprite or Diet Coke isn’t good enough for you, turn to Business Select, which will offer you a free premium beverage (assuming your flight is at least 175 miles).

Is Southwest Wanna Get Away worth the savings?

There’s no clear answer to whether Wanna Get Away is the best fare class, as it depends on not just the flight route but also your travel preferences. Sometimes the price difference is only $10 less, which might make the choice to upgrade easy. If the price difference is many hundreds of dollars less, then you’ve got some serious calculations to make.

Here’s a sample one-way flight from Las Vegas to Maui in December 2022. The parameters are as follows, taking into account a valuation of 1.5 cents per Rapid Rewards point, as per NerdWallet’s estimate.

Fare class

Cash price

Rapid Rewards points earned

Approximate value of Rapid Rewards points

Wanna Get Away

$235.

1,410.

$20.

Wanna Get Away Plus

$265.

2,120.

$30.

Anytime

$701.

7,071.

$98.

Business Select

$741.

8,892.

$124.

Wanna Get Away Plus

Perhaps the toughest decision you’ll make when booking a Wanna Get Away fare is whether to upgrade to Plus which, in this example, is $30 more.

Accounting for the difference in value of points earned ($10) let’s consider Wanna Get Away to be $20 cheaper, assuming you’ll use those points anyway.

The big difference is that you can transfer your flight credits to someone else and you can make same-day changes if you purchase the Plus fare. If you might not fly Southwest again in your life and there’s a chance you’ll need to cancel your flight, then Plus is easily worth it to give your ticket’s value to someone else.

And if you want the flexibility to fly out early (say, you’re on a business trip but you’re not sure how early your meetings will end), then you might be able to get home sooner with no extra cost. For those folks, opt for Wanna Get Away Plus.

Anytime

In this example, the price difference is over $450. Sure, you earn about $80 more worth of points, but you could also just get into a faster security lane by holding TSA PreCheck, which costs just $78 to apply for and is good for five years.

Considering you can buy Early Bird Check-In separately as well, it might be better to just go a la carte. You can also get two Early Bird Check-Ins each year when you hold the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

Unless you really value the ability to get a refund in cash versus Southwest travel funds (say, this is your only Southwest flight you ever intend to take, and there’s a high likelihood you’ll cancel it anyway), skip Anytime on this particular flight.

But realize that the price difference in this particular example is stark, and that’s not always the case. Sometimes Wanna Get Away fares are as little as $20 less, in which case Anytime’s upgrade could be far more valuable.

Business Select

A Business Select fare costs an even heftier $506 on this selected flight.

The extra earnings here are worth about $105 more though, which really leaves you with $400 in extra cost assuming you value the points like we do.

You will get nice benefits like an automatic spot in the A1 through A15 boarding group and an adult beverage. That can be really nice on a long flight to Hawaii — but you’ll have to decide if it’s $400-difference nice.

Wanna Get Away fares recapped

Southwest Wanna Get Away fares offer travelers an opportunity to save on travel costs. Southwest has no change or cancellation fees, and every passenger can check two bags for free. These extra perks are available to all Southwest passengers; even Wanna Get Away flyers. Just make sure you understand how refunds and ticket changes are handled with this fare type before you book.


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