It’s well-known in the airline industry that airfares at airports with a lot of Southwest Airlines flights can be significantly cheaper on average than at other airports in the same city or region that lack a heavy Southwest presence.
» Learn More: Southwest Rapid Rewards Program: The Complete Guide
Since you don’t necessarily have to fly Southwest to get reduced prices, why would you want to take this airline over another one that may offer other benefits?
On the heels of a new study from aviation forecasting and consulting firm Boyd Group International, here are five situations when flying Southwest offers more convenience and savings:
1. When you’re looking for convenient flight times to your destination: Southwest has more flights at airports where it has a significant presence, which means more options for you. For example, if you’re flying out of an airport such as Chicago’s Midway, check the Southwest website for flight times. You may find one for the exact time you want for the same price as an inconveniently timed flight with another airline.
2. When you want to take advantage of fare sales: The airline is known for offering sales throughout the year. For instance, Southwest's latest sale, with ticket prices as low as $69 each way, ends Thursday.
3. When you check a bag: Even when Southwest flight prices may not be much lower than other flights at the same airport, it offers savings in other ways. If you check in luggage, you could save $25 or more per piece. Southwest allows two free checked bags, each with a maximum weight of 50 pounds and dimensions of up to 62 inches.
4. When you change flights: When you change flight times or dates, you typically have to pay the fare difference and a change fee charged by the airline. With Southwest, however, you can avoid the additional fee and revise your trip by paying just the fare difference. Change fees can add over $150 to a ticket price at other carriers.
5. When you don’t have significant frequent flyer miles accumulated with another carrier: Flying frequently with one airline while using its frequent flyer program has perks such as the ability to earn premium status, mileage bonuses and class upgrades. Choosing another airline for some flights can hurt your progress in boosting your mileage balance. But if you’re not close to any bonuses or earning free tickets with any particular airline, you can choose Southwest to use its varied perks to save money.
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
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 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Don’t let hidden hotel fees spoil your stay Landing the best airfare is a matter of timing 9 easy ways to earn travel rewards you’ll actually use