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Are you looking for ways to save on your next vacation? Well, if you travel southwest airlines then you might want to look into using Southwest Airlines vacation packages. This is a special portal where you can book packages such as flight and hotel or flight and rental car packages and save money.
However you may not always be saving money and so you want to know how to get the most out of this program.
Below, I will show you some real world examples that I found on this portal when researching and give you some insight into what types of packages might be the most worthwhile.
What are Southwest vacation packages?
Southwest vacation packages are special travel packages that you can purchase to save money. The packages come in different forms but you can buy package deals with things like flights and hotels or flights and car rentals. You can also book activities and jump on special promo deals throughout the year to maximize savings.
Southwest vacation package search
The Southwest vacation package portal is very easy to search and use. You can find a link to the portal here.
All you have to do is put in your departure and arrival destination and dates, and then you will be able to see the results for your given search inquiry. There are several filters that you can use to help optimize your search results. You can sort by price, by brand-name, and also by ratings.
Southwest flight and hotel packages
I did a sample booking with a couple of Southwest flight and hotel packages to see if it was actually cheaper. Here’s what the results look like.
First I found a flight a round trip from Houston, Texas to Cancun, Mexico and the price came out to $333.52.
I then priced out at the hotel which came out to $1,077.60. So, if I had booked these separately, the total price for the flight and hotels would have been: $1,411.12.
I then went and searched in the Southwest vacations hotel packages. I found the exact same rates in the exact same room for the same dates and the price came out to: $1,239.52. So by booking with the Southwest flight and hotel vacation package, I would have saved $171. Not bad.
I also searched for flights from Houston to Las Vegas. For a round trip ticket, I found tickets for $298.78. For the hotel I chose the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. (If you are ever staying in Las Vegas this is a great hotel that has awesome views of the Bellagio fountain show.) For three nights I found the total rate to come out to $912.71 for a city room. So the total price for the hotel and airfare would’ve been $1,211.49.
The total vacation package price came out to $936.74 so that is $274.75 cheaper. That is a pretty significant difference and is a great way to put extra money back into your pocket.
Therefore, I really think that utilizing the flight and hotel packages for the vacation packages can be a great way to go.
One thing I have not been able to verify is whether or not you can earn elite credits and utilize your elite benefits when staying at hotels booked through Southwest vacations. If I had to guess, I would say that these bookings are considered to be just like any other online travel agency. That would mean that you would not earn elite credits and that you would have to fight for your elite benefits.
If that is the case, then you will have to evaluate whether or not the savings will be worth the loss of benefits. If your hotel delete status would entitle you to breakfast and valuable upgrades then it may not be worth it.
If you have any experience with booking hotels through this package let me know!
Southwest flight and rental car package
Next, I wanted to test out the prices for the rental car package. Once again, I did a round trip from Houston to Cancun and the price came out to $333.52. I then selected a Budget rental car which came out to $26.68 for a prepaid rate.
So the total would have been $360.20.
If I had booked the flights in the rental car with the southwest vacation package, I would have paid $367.44. So I was a bit surprised that the vacation package was actually more expensive in this case.
I was curious to see how this would also play out in Las Vegas. Once again, I found flights from Houston to Las Vegas round trip for $298.78. I then found a rental car booking for an economy car from Alamo for $108.28. So the total price came out to $407.06.
The total Southwest vacations package came out to $399.05. However, that price did not include the taxes which would be due. Those taxes totaled $35 so the price difference was again more expensive with Southwest vacations. In this case, I would have paid $27 more with Southwest vacations.
Thus, I would not always assume that the vacation packages are cheaper when it comes to the flights and the rental cars.
You can also book tours and special activities through the vacation packages. When you search for the activities, you will find a lot of common tourist activities for your destination.
I compared some of the prices for activities in Cancun. For the Jolly Roger pirate show dinner, the prices were actually the same when compared between the Southwest vacation portal and another popular booking site, Viator.
Special deals and promo codes
You can often find special deals and promo codes for the Southwest vacation portal. These deals will vary throughout the year but here is an example of what you could find during Black Friday and Cyber Week 2018 with promo codes and daily deals.
Book a flight + hotel package to any destination we offer, and save up to $250 at the time of booking.
- $125 off U.S. vacations with promo code SAVE125DOM*
- $250 off international vacations with promo code SAVE250INT*
Other times you can find special deals for certain destinations, such as Mexico or Las Vegas. Other popular destinations that often have deals are tourist hot spots in Florida like Disney World and Universal Studios. You can search for the current deals here.
Uplift Pay Monthly
One unique thing about the Southwest vacation packages is that you can enroll in a payment plan. At check out you simply select Uplift Pay Monthly. When I reviewed the going interest rates they were at 15% APR, so they aren’t exactly among the best.
Personally, I would be very hesitant to go into debt at that interest-rate just for a vacation package. It’s one thing to go into debt for something like medical expenses or starting up a business, but when you start going into debt for vacation packages like this I don’t think that that is often a good idea.
Plus, if you wanted to go into debt for a vacation package you could try to get approved for a 0% APR credit card and avoid paying interest on those expenses.
Southwest vacations phone number
If you have questions or inquiries, or if you want to book online you can call the following phone number: 1-800-243-8372.
The Southwest vacation package deals are worth looking at but you need to make sure that you do some additional research. You will often find great deals for flight plus hotel packages (especially when you can leverage promo codes), but when you start to throw in other things like rental cars you really need to be sure that you are getting the best deal, since on a couple of occasions Southwest did not offer the best price.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the digital smart wallet, 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.