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Let’s be real, Southwest Airlines is not known for being the most luxurious airline out there. Their planes are basically one large economy cabin and the experience is not always so glamorous (although I am still a fan).
However, one way to make your flight a little bit more relaxing is to take advantage of free drink coupons. But how exactly can you get your hands on these coupons?
In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about how to get Southwest free drink coupons. I will also answer some questions about things like transferability, printing them out, etc.
How to get Southwest free drink coupons (7 tips)
There are several ways that you can get Southwest free drink coupons. Some of them are easier than others and some of them pretty much just depend on luck. Below, I will break down all of the different ways that you can expect to receive Southwest free drink coupons.
1. Fly Southwest Business Select
When you purchase a Southwest Business Select ticket you will be issued a free drink coupon upon check-in. This coupon may be attached to the back of your boarding pass so don’t overlook it. The very first time I ever flew Business Select I had no idea it was even there and trashed it so don’t be like me!
On that same note you could do a bit of an airport “dumpster dive” and search around check-in kiosks for discarded free drink coupons, although that does seem a tad bit desperate for free booze.
Business Select drink coupons are only good for your flight so you cannot use them at a later date. Business Select tickets are the most expensive type of airline ticket Southwest offers. However, they do come with benefits beyond free drinks which include:
- Guaranteed A1-A15 boarding
- Fly By lane access
- 12 Rapid Rewards per dollar spent
- Fully refundable fare
Getting the guaranteed A1 to A15 boarding positions is great because Southwest has an open seat policy where seats are not reserved. With a higher boarding position, you can choose a more desirable seat. So you can get a free drink AND a little bit of extra legroom.
Business Select is also a good idea for those who need a fully refundable fare and want to maximize their Rapid Rewards earnings.
- You can read more about these benefits here.
You should know that if you upgrade to Business Select you will not receive the free drink coupons usually. I believe there was one occasion where they issued us free drink coupons but there were extenuating circumstances and I do not believe that this is the norm.
2. 10 one way flights
If you fly 10 one way flights on Southwest you should be issued drink coupons, likely in a group of four. Important: these flights need to be paid flights and not flights booked with Rapid Rewards.
There is some debate about whether or not at least 10 flights need to take place within one calendar year or just over time. The consensus seems to be that you do not have to make these 10 flights within one calendar year.
Thus, if you do not receive your drink coupons after flying 10 segments I would contact customer service. But before you call you should make sure that you are opted in for free drink coupons based on your preferences. Here is how you can do that:
- Log in to your Rapid Rewards account at southwest.com (if you don’t have a Rapid Rewards account then you need to create one)
- Select “My Account”
- Select “Travel” under “My Preferences”
- Select the “Extras” icon (with a picture of a drink)
- Under “Rapid Rewards drink coupons,” click Edit and select Yes to confirm you are over 21 years old.
Southwest is known for offering free drinks on special holidays. For example, if you’re flying on St. Patrick’s Day, Southwest’s Birthday (June 18), New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and a few others you might be able to get a free drink. Be sure to check out their menu to see which holidays might be offering free drinks.
Also, if you are flying on your birthday and you mention that to a flight attendant there’s a good chance you can get a free drink as well.
Update: Southwest Airlines may no longer be giving away free drinks on special holidays.
4. Southwest credit card
Some say that if you hold a Southwest credit card you might be sent drink coupons every now and again. I have been a Southwest credit card holder for sometime now and have yet to receive any free drink coupons in the mail yet so I would not count on this. (It seems that this may have stopped in 2016.)
Sometimes if you flash your Southwest credit card to a flight attendant when ordering on a flight they may see that and allow you to take advantage of a free drink. Obviously the strategy will be hit or miss, though. (You could always ask if your Southwest credit card can get you a free drink coupon.)
If you sign up for the Southwest newsletter, there is a chance that you could be issued free drink coupons. And even if you don’t get a free drink coupon, you still will be up-to-date on the special deals and contests.
6. Being nice to flight attendants
Sometimes if you chat up with a flight attendant and are very personable with them there is a chance that they will give you a free drink coupon. And other times they may just randomly give you a free drink. But either way you should be nice to the flight attendants.
7. When something goes awry
If something goes wrong, you might be able to request for free drink coupons as a form of compensation. For example, if you had a really tough time checking in or if your flight was delayed there may be a chance for you to get those.
With the new Southwest Priority Credit Card you can get a 20% discount on in-flight purchases, including drinks. Here is everything else at this card comes with:
- Bonus spending:
- 2X Rapid Rewards on Southwest purchases
- 2X Rapid Rewards on hotel and car rental partner purchases.
- 1X Rapid Rewards on all other purchases
- $75 Southwest annual travel credit
- 7,500 anniversary points each year
- Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
- 20% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies
- No foreign transaction fees
- Earn tier qualifying points towards A-list Status
- $149 annual fee applied to your first billing statement
Southwest drink coupons FAQ
Do the drink coupons expire?
Yes, your Southwest drink coupons will expire and the expiration date should be listed on the coupon.
Are they transferable?
Yes, you can give your free drink coupons to other people and they can use them on their flights. The terms state the following:
This coupon has no cash value. Drink coupon is void if altered, sold, purchased, brokered, or bartered. Non-exchangeable for other goods or services. Southwest Airlines reserves the right to discontinue its drink coupon program at anytime. Coupon is invalid after expiration date and cannot be updated or replaced. Must be 21 to consume alcoholic beverages.
So the terms do exclude you from being able to sell your coupons but some people do still sell them for around $15 for four of them on Ebay, etc. The drink coupons should have a name on the front of them though so if a flight attendant ever suspected anything it’s possible that they could bring up the terms (but that is probably very unlikely).
Can you get them on the app?
I don’t believe that Southwest issues free drink coupons via their app or electronically. If you have purchased a Business Select fare and are using a mobile boarding pass your drink coupon may show up there however.
Below is an example of what you can expect with the Southwest drink menu. Note that these options are subject to change each season and that this should only provide you with some guidance of what you might find on the menu.
Also, here are links to past menus (links may expire):
Southwest is great about offering you free drinks whenever you fly with them. You can get the following drinks for free:
- Diet Coke
- Dr. Pepper
- Diet Dr Pepper
- Minute Maid drinks
- Canada Dry® Lemon Lime Sparkling Water
- Seagram’s® Ginger Ale
- Seagram’s® Tonic Water
- Seagram’s® Seltzer Water
- Mr & Mrs T® Margarita Mix
- Mr & Mrs T® Bloody Mary Mix
- Hot Chocolate
- Motts® Tomato Juice
- Community® Tea
- Community® Coffee
- Community® Decaf Instant Coffee
If you would like an entire can for yourself you can usually request them to just leave you with a full can instead of simply pouring you a smaller glass.
On Southwest you can enjoy an array of different cocktails which could include the following:
- Grapefruit Vodka and Cran Apple
- Bourbon and Ginger
- Bloody Mary
- Tequila and OJ
- Vodka and Cran Apple
- Jack and Coke®
- Gin and Tonic
- Bourbon and 7UP®
- Cruset and Cran Apple
You can find some standard beers on Southwest but they also offer some seasonal options as well.
- Miller Lite $6
- Dos Equis Special Lager $6
- Blue Moon® $7
- Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy® $7
- Lagunitas 12th of Never Ale $7
- Carmenet® Cabernet Sauvignon
- Mossel Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay
- Cruset Brut Sparkling Wine
- Dewar’s® Scotch
- Jack Daniel’s®
- Wild Turkey®
- Tanqueray® Gin
- Bacardi® Rum
- Baileys® Irish Cream
- Sauza® Gold Tequila
- Deep Eddy® Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka
- Deep Eddy® Vodka
Bringing your own alcohol
If you are not able to find any free drink coupons you might be wondering about drinking your own alcohol on board. Contrary to what many people believe, it is not illegal to bring your own alcohol on board.
However, their are some pretty strict regulations when it comes to bringing liquids onboard which include alcohol. You’ll need to abide by the TSA 3-1-1 rule and also to to make sure to not avoid any FAA regulations.
For example, it is okay to bring your own mini liquor bottles on board but you need to be careful about what type of alcoholic you pour into your own bottles if you go that route. You also can’t serve yourself your own alcohol when flying (though you can get a flight attendant to serve you your drink).
Getting your hands on Southwest free drink coupons is not that difficult if you consistently fly on Southwest or if you fly Business Select. However, for the rest of us, a lot of times we just have to rely on luck or special occasions. If all else fails you can always bring up your own alcohol but just be sure to abide by the FAA regulations.
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.