Southwest Airlines is the best option for anyone looking to fly or vacation on a budget.
From overall low airline fare prices and free checked baggage, to free choice seating and limited fees, it truly is the epitome of a budget airline that has won the hearts of frequent flyers nationwide.
And to make things a little bit sweeter, you can take advacatngae of little hacks and tips to help make your ticket prices and overall flyer experience cheaper and better.
So with that being said, here are 18 ways to save money on Southwest Airlines flights.
How to Save Money on Southwest Airlines
Here are 18 insanely easy ways you can save money on Southwest Airlines flights, score discounted Southwest tickets, and even get free flights!
1. Join Rapid Rewards
Rapid Rewards is a free program that allows you to accumulate and earn points with every flight, hotel stay, rental car, vacation, and travel experience.
These Rapid Rewards Points can then be redeemed for free flights!
This is by far one of the easiest and best ways to earn free flights!
2. Get a Southwest Airlines Credit Card
I’m a huge fan of Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.
With the Southwest Premier Credit Card, you’ll get 2x the points per $1 spent on Southwest Airline flights, hotels, and car rentals, as well as 1 point per $1 spent on everyday purchases. Plus, let’s not forget about a 6,000 point bonus after your cardmember anniversary.
PLUS, they have a ridiculous signup bonus.
You can get 50,000 Rapid Reward Points after you spend $2,000 in 3 months.
That literally can equally anywhere from 3-4 roundtrip flights. It’s insane. A weekend trip to Vegas may be closer than it seems.
3. Buy Southwest Airlines Gift Cards at a Discount
You can save anywhere from 2-4% on Southwest Airline gift cards when you buy them from Raise.
It may not seem like a huge saving, but in reality, that can cover your in-flight wifi purchase or a premium beverage.
4. Subscribe to Click ‘N Save
By joining Southwest’s Click ‘N Save program, you’ll be able to receive notifications whenever a new deal is available based on your home airport preferences.
This will even help determine the best time for you to book your next flight.
5. Upgrade to Business Select at the Airport
If you love being the first one the plane so that you can snag an exit row or the first row, then you probably invested in a Business Select ticket (or even Early Bird).
But how many times have you fallen short of snagging your favorite row?
It’s happened to me plenty of times, making me question if spending an extra $12.50 per flight was worth it.
Thankfully, there’s an easier way.
Instead of paying double the price for a business select ticket, you can actually upgrade your ticket at your gate for only $40. This then gives you a higher possibility of snagging an exit row or the from row as opposed to someone assigned to A45.
It can be a little bit risky, but if the stars have aligned, the quality of your flight just went up 300% thanks to early overhead bin access and a free premium drink.
6. Join Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining
Rapid Rewards Dining is by far the easiest way to earn points just by eating out. All you need to do is join for free, register your credit card or debit card, dine at any of the 11,000 participating restaurants, bars, or clubs, and pay for your meal with your registered card.
It’s that easy!
You’ll then earn 3 points for every dollar you spend and an extra 10 points for every online review you complete.
Plus when you join today, you can earn 500 bonus points by spending $25 in your first 30 days.
7. Join Rapid Rewards Shopping
One of the best ways to earn more Rapid Rewards points is to use Rapid Rewards Shopping.
Literally, you’ll rack up points just for shopping online.
All you need to do to get started is on their website, search for participating online stores, click on a store/offer, complete a purchase, and you’ll get points posted to your account. It’s that easy!
Plus, some stores participate in some incredible offers so you can definitely rack up a lot of reward points.
8. Recheck Your Existing Flight’s Price During Flash Sales
One of the worst feelings in the world is buying something one day and the next day finding out it’s 40% cheaper or heavily discounted.
But thanks to Southwest Airlines, zero change fees, you can now book your flight with confidence.
So instead of waiting for a deal to come up last minute, just book your flight as soon as you can and continuously check Southwest.com for any new sales or promotions.
Once you find a Southwest Airlines deal, all you need to do is go to your account and select “change reservation”. Then from there, you can rebook the legs of your flight and see if the price reduces in the summary.
Once you rebook it, you’ll then be credited the entire balance of the “non-refundable” fare as an account credit which is good for a full year.
(Also, if you booked your flight with Rapid Reward points, you’ll also be refunded difference back into your account, which won’t expire).
9. Book Your Rental Car Through Southwest
Since earning Rapid Reward Points is by far the easiest way to save money on Southwest flights and vacations, booking your rental car through them is almost a no-brainer.
Some of these rental car companies offer great deals such as 30% off plus 4x the points, or better 2,000+ points when you book through a company for a certain amount of days.
Here’s how you need to do it:
- Go to Southwest Airline’s Rental Car Page
- Search for a car
- Find the cheapest, most suitable option
- Return back to the Rental Car homepage
- Then look for a deal (as seen above) and book it.
10. Join Rocket Miles
RocketMiles is a pretty cool hotel rate search engine owned by Priceline that will reward you in airline miles (or points) whenever you complete a stay through them.
Literally, all you have to do is sign up for a free account, link your Rapid Rewards account number, search for hotels, and start to earn points after each stay at qualified hotels.
Literally with some hotel stays, you can earn 8,000 Rapid Reward points which is a one-way ticket!
11. Check the Southwest Magazine for Airport Parking Coupons
Southwest’s in-flight magazine Southwest: The Magazine, usually will include coupons for airport parking garages and local restaurants between articles.
12. Get a Companion Pass
By far the best airline loyalty perk in existence.
With a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, your spouse, your best friend, or your mother, or whomever you choose as your companion can fly with you for FREE.
The kicker is that you need to fly 100 one way flights or acre 110,000 Rapid Reward Points in a calendar year.
Thankfully there is a pretty easy way to obtain it without spending $110,000.
Here’s a great guide to help you earn a Southwest Companion Pass the easiest way possible.
13. If Delayed, Complain
If you flight has even been delayed due to mechanical issues (or if you just had an overall poor experience), be sure to give Southwest your feedback and they’ll typically give you a cash voucher for your next flights.
Plus, if you’re flight has been delayed more than 45 minutes, Southwest will rebook you onto another flight for free.
14. Always Check out the Southwest Promotions Page
The amount of unadvertised deals and promotions that Southwest Airlines is quite stunning. Sure there’s always those ridiculous flash sales that will crash the site, but if you check the “Special Offers‘ tab, you’ll notice a few great ongoing deals and promotions that you can take advantage of.
15. Buy Rapid Reward Points or Receive as Gifts
If you ever wanted to purchase a flight with points but found yourself short, it sometimes would be cheaper to just buy more points for your account as opposed to just purchasing the full fare ticket.
Plus, if you time it right, Southwest will offer deals where they’ll give anywhere up to 60% more Rapid Reward points per purchase.
And if you ever have any friends, family members, or significant others that have a boatload of points, be sure to reach out to them that way they can send you the necessary amount of points you need to book your flight.
16. Share Your Opinion to get Rapid Reward Points
You can actually earn Rapid Reward Points just by filling out a few simple surveys and watching videos or ads.
17. Compare Nearby Airports
If you are flying out of an area that has multiple airports, you should price check your flights for each applicable location.
For example, if you’re flying into Disneyland, you can search for flights into Santa Ana, Long Beach, or LAX.
You’d be surprised how much cheaper plane tickets are for airports that are only 30-45 minutes from each other.
18. Take the Earliest or Latest Flight
This isn’t always 100% accurate or always the cheapest, but in general the earliest nonstop flight of the day and the latest one is typically the cheapest option.
As seen above, the cheapest one is at 7:20 in the morning when flying from Orlando to Baltimore.
19. Southwest Airline Military Discount Fares
Southwest Airlines is proud to offer Military Fares for the men, women, and their dependents of our U.S. Armed Forces.
In order take advantage of this Southwest Airlines military discount, you must be on active duty and be able to present valid identification when traveling.
To book a Southwest Airlines military fare, call 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792).
Southwest will even waive ALL your baggage fees for Active duty personnel, even if the bag is overweight or you have multiple bags (up to 5).
For more airline military discount information, check out this guide!
Bonus: Use Rapid Reward Points to Get TSA PreCheck
Did you know that you could actually use your Rapid Reward Points to cover your application fee for TSA PreCheck?
That’s right! All you need is 9,000 points. Click here to start flying through security.
Thanks for reading and please share any of your favorite Southwest Airline hacks or money saving tips below!