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Southwest Airlines used to have three fare types, but that has now changed. The no-frills airline announced a new, fourth fare class called Wanna Get Away Plus.
The new fare class sits between Southwest’s existing Wanna Get Away fare and the more-flexible Anytime fare. With the new Wanna Get Away Plus fare, you’ll get the ability to transfer flight credits to another traveler of your choice, a higher earnings rate on airfares, and the ability to make same-day confirmed changes and to get on the same-day standby list.
However, you can’t book under the new Southwest Wanna Get Away Plus fare class just yet. It’s set to launch in the second quarter of 2022.
Wanna Get Away Plus features
Here are the features you’ll get in Wanna Get Away Plus that you won’t find in the budget-minded Wanna Get Away fare class:
Transferable flight credits: This lets you make a one-time transfer of an eligible unused flight credit to another traveler for future use. Both of you must be Southwest Rapid Rewards program members to make the transfer happen. And you’re still bound by an expiration date, which is 12 months from the date the ticket was booked.
Same-day confirmed changes and same-day standby: 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.
A higher earning rate: Get 8 Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent (versus 6 for the lowest fare class).
Changes to Business Select, Anytime fares
Southwest also announced a few modifications to its Rapid Rewards loyalty program:
Customers who’ve purchased Business Select and Anytime fares will also now have access to the transferable flight credit benefit, which is new for all customers.
Anytime customers will now also gain EarlyBird Check-In, which is a feature unique to Southwest that automatically checks you into your flight 36 hours prior to scheduled departure — typically at an additional cost.
Anytime customers also gain the ability to whisk through Priority and Express lanes, which are available at participating airport ticket counters and security screening areas. This benefit was previously only available to the highest tier Business Select passengers (Business Select might be considered by some as a sort of Southwest’s first class).
If you have Southwest elite status as either an A-List or A-List Preferred customer, you’ll also get the same-day confirmed change and same-day standby benefit, even if you’re in the cheapest Wanna Get Away fare class.
» Learn more: How to hack Southwest’s boarding groups
The bottom line
The new Southwest fare class adds a happy medium between the most basic fare class and the more expensive version that offers refundable fares.
With Wanna Get Away Plus, you have more flexibility in being able to make same-day changes and get on standby lists. And while it’s not quite as flexible as Anytime — given how generous the Southwest change policy already is — you might not exercise the power of Anytime’s refundable fare benefit anyway.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card