I keep a close eye on Southwest most days to check flights, points and the best Rapid Rewards Shopping deals. Southwest tends to have a sale almost EVERY week and usually on Tuesdays.
So with this many sales, how do you know what’s a good sale and what isn’t?! I’ve got some tips to help you figure it out!
Why to Buy During a Sale
For starters, let’s talk about why it’s best to buy a fare DURING a Southwest sale.
If you need to book a flight, it’s best to do it during a sale — good or not. A sale will at least have a better shot at having lower prices than a non-sale :), and you can always cancel or change your Southwest reservations with no penalty or fee.
Though keep in mind when you buy a Wanna Getaway fare with cash/credit and cancel, you only get what Southwest calls an Unused Travel Fund, which is a credit that must be used within a year and must be associated with the original person on the reservation.
I recommend my Get Organized: Miles & Points Toolkit to keep track of your Unused Travel Funds so you’ll easily have all the information handy when you want to use that credit on a future flight!
Points are the best if you think you may need to cancel, because they go INSTANTLY right back into your account!
How to Know If It’s a Good or Bad Sale
Here are my top tips for evaluating if it is or is NOT a good Southwest sale.
1. Read Our Review
We post every Southwest sale, which you can see via the link below (also linked from the main menu above under Flying Southwest):
In the post, we always share our assessment if it’s a “good” one or not 😉 AND offer a list of the best fares we see.
You can also be sure you’re subscribed to the Go to Travel Gal email newsletter on the right (see: Be a Go to Travel Gal Insider –>) where we send out alerts of especially good sales and include ALL sales in our weekly newsletter.
2. Know What IS or ISN’T a Good Price to Destinations
So that you too know what is a good cash or points price for any given route, keep an eye on the flights and destinations that you are interested in — either the ones you fly regularly or a trip you’d like to take coming up.
I recommend checking the Southwest Low Fare Calendar regularly, keeping in mind that July, early August and holiday dates are going to have higher prices.
Watch the prices for a while to give you an idea of what Southwest’s rock bottom price is for a destination you want or need to visit.
This is a good activity while you are waiting to accrue points to earn the Southwest Companion Pass (more about that and free flights here).
This is also how couponers score the lowest prices :). They “know” what the rock-bottom price is for a given item and then wait to buy it then paired with a coupon for the best possible price, which is even sometimes “free”.
3. It’s Advertised on TV
Another sign that it’s a major sale is you’ll see Southwest advertising the sale on TV. They don’t usually invest advertising dollars unless it’s one of their big ones.
There’s always a major sale in early June in celebration of their anniversary, which is one of the best sales — if not THE best sale — of the year. October also tends to bring a decent sale with surprises throughout the year.
4. Prices Get as Low as $39
You’ll know it’s a good sale when SOME sale prices hit $39 per way or less for destinations that are not super close to each other (ie Chicago to Indianapolis, Dallas to Houston, etc.). I’ve seen points prices as low as 700 points per way in some cases. Crazy!
See a good sale? Book it! Remember, if you book with points, you can always cancel and rebook for NO FEE.
Just go to the home page at Southwest.com, scroll down to Change/Cancel, enter your confirmation number and you can even see if prices are higher or lower than when you purchased.
You can also find your flight under My Account and click “Change” from there.
The only time this does not work is if you have added your Companion to your flight. If that is the case, you will have to check on the Low Fare Calendar and then cancel and re-book if you find a better price, re-adding your Companion.
You can also watch this video we created that walks you through how to cancel a Southwest flight on Southwest.com.
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