Updated: December 2017

Southwest Airlines - Tickets - Reservations:

Southwest Airlines was started over 35 years ago (1971) and today flies more than 80 million passengers a year to over 60 cities. Their business model has always been based on offering the lowest possible fares while still providing a safe and efficient airline service. I had never heard of Southwest Airlines until I got into college and started flying on my own and looking for cheap airfares. A friend introduced me to Southwest Airlines and I realized that for short haul flights, they do offer some incredibly cheap rates. I found I could fly from San Jose, California to Portland, Oregon for $39 each way (that was in the 1990's) which was a total bargain compared to United Airlines or Alaska Airlines at the time. It took me several more years of flying with Southwest Airlines to realize they were the best airline for me to partner with and now I use them almost exclusively, unless I want to fly interntionally in which case they don't. The Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program they offer is convenient and better than most of other airlines as well.

The main Southwest Airlines home page is located at Southwest.com and the site is easy to navigate, has complete flight schedules to all cities they fly to, and gives you access to their frequent flyer program and rewards. You can even check-in online 24 hours prior to any flight with Southwest Airlines and print out a boarding pass (that's a timesaver). Southwest Airlines has always stood on their own with limited partnerships (just recently partnered with ATA) and you still can't book or find Southwest airfares on any other site except Southwest.com. They do not partner with the top travel websites like Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire, Priceline, or Orbitz so don't expect to see them listed there. In the midst of airlines filing for bankruptcy and threatening to cancel flights and frequent flyer programs, Southwest Airlines gained market share by hedging fuel costs and flying short distances that didn't cost people too much money. The larger airline carriers realized most people don't need plush service and wasted amenities by watching Southwest Airlines create a solid brand name in the airline industry. Besides business passengers who don't seem to care that they are paying $1000 for a ticket that might cost $250 on Southwest Airlines, the majority of us non-business travelers care how much things cost and want to fly for the cheapest possible airfares even if it means stopping a few extra times along the way. I have flown with Southwest Airlines for over 10 years now and have nothing but positive things to say about them in my experiences. You can book travel reservations (flights, car, hotel) on the Southwest.com website or by calling the Southwest Airlines reservation phone number at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (800-435-9792). There famous slogan is "you are free to fly about the skies". On the Southwest airline site you can login 24 hours a day to check flight status so you are always on time and not sitting at airports waiting.

Rapid Rewards - Frequent Flyer Program:

Southwest Airlines has always done things differently than the larger carriers and their frequent flyer program is no different. It's called Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and it works like the other airlines rewards programs, but with Southwest you only need to fly 8 roundtrips in 24 months to get a free flight. If you the Rapid Rewards credit card you can also earn credits which go towards free flights. Instead of keeping track of miles, they go with credits which makes more sense and rewards you more often. They also partner with rental car companies like Alamo, Budget, Dollar, or Hertz and hotel chains like Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and LaQuinta to give you additional frequent flyer credits towards free flights. You can track your Rapid Rewards account online 24/7 with a simple login. You can easily transfer the Rapid Reward Awards to family or friends which other competing programs don't always offer. If you happen to travel a lot during the year and get 100 credits in 12 months time, Southwest will award you a Companion Pass which allows one person of your choice to fly free with you for an entire year. My wife earned this award and it helped us immensely being able to fly free for that long of a period of time. If you choose, when you receive your Rapid Rewards free flight coupon, you will also get free Drink Coupons for wine, beer or mixed drinks (assuming you are 21 or older). Always check with the main Southwest.com website for any changes to the frequent flyer program from Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines Coupons and Promotion Codes:

Southwest consistently offers some of the cheapest fares in the airline industry and they do this by flying shorter routes for lower prices. They are always offering $99 one way fares that go across the country which other airlines have a hard time beating. Some shorter flights are only $39 each way. An innovative offering came out last year called Ding - it's a downloadable piece of software from Southwest that gives you instant offers to the best flight deals. It sits on your desktop or in your system tray and "dings" when exclusive offers are available for flights, rental cars, or hotels. Their "Click n Save" Special Offers are always available online at http://www.southwest.com/hotfares/ for the latest discounts on airfares, car rentals, and hotel stays. They are one of the better airlines with last minutes airfares that are still considered cheap.

Southwest Airline Credit Card:

Southwest Airlines offers their Rapid Rewards Visa Signature Card from Chase which lets you receive credits toward a roundtrip flight on Southwest Airlines through your purchases. It only takes 19,200 reward dollars on Southwest for a free flight compared to the 25,000 required on many other airlines credit cards. You currently receive 4 bonus Rapid Rewards credits after your first purchase and then you earn 2 Reward Dollars for each $1 spent on Southwest Airlines. Also earn 1 Reward dollar for each $1 spent on all other purchases and after you accumulate 1200 Reward dollars you get 1 Rapid Rewards Credit. There is also a business credit card offered by Southwest too. You can sign up online at http://www.southwest.com/rapid_rewards/visa.html.

Vacation Packages:

Southwest Airlines has been offering vacation packages for years now and their top destinations are places like Las Vegas, Orlando, Disneyland (Anaheim), Arizona, and Reno. You can check out their latest offers online at SWA.southwestvacations.com. They even added New York City to the mix lately and will be adding more now that they partner with ATA Airlines. We found some excellent Internet specials to Maui and Honolulu (Hawaii) as well as travel trips to San Diego and Boston. You can sign up via email on their website to have instant reminders sent when new vacation deals are offered. For trips to Las Vegas get roundtrip airfare, hotel, rental car and show tickets priced into your package.