Southwest Airlines Group Travel Guide (Discounts, Number, etc.) [2021]

Traveling with a large number of people can be an extremely stressful experience. However, one of the major perks of traveling with a large group is that you can take advantage of special discounts and other benefits. Airlines like Southwest offer numerous advantages for group bookings and some of them can save you a lot of time and headache.

In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about the Southwest Airlines Group Travel policy. I’ll cover things like discounts, deposits, and I will also talk about the savings. I’ll also show you the phone number that you need to call for group bookings and what to expect. 

What is the Southwest Group Travel policy?

If you are traveling in a group of 10 or more passengers you can get exclusive discounts and added flexibility with your tickets by booking through the Southwest Group Travel Program. There are no strict requirements for the group but many common groups consist of:

  • School groups
  • Religious groups
  • Family groups
  • Sports groups

What are the Southwest Group travel benefits?

By booking with a group of 10 or more passengers you can take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Flexible Payments: No upfront payment required to create a Group reservation.
  • No Extra Fees: No booking, ticketing, or change fees.
  • Unlimited Name Changes: Unlimited name changes up to 72 hours prior to departure.
  • Earn Roundtrip Tickets: Earn one roundtrip ticket to be used on your Group’s itinerary for every 30th passenger booked (taxes and fees will apply).

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Things to know

$50 deposit

While there is no upfront payment required to make a group reservation for you will be required to make a $50 deposit per passenger. This $50 deposit will not go towards your airfare cost and instead will be refunded within five business days after you have made your final payment.

Depending on how it is processed with your credit card provider it could take a statement or two for the refund show up. This unfortunately does put a bind on those dealing with smaller credit limits.

Note: Credit card is the only approved form of payment for the deposit and payment may be made by uploading a completed and signed Letter of Authorization (LOA) form via or by calling 1-800-433-5368.

Cancellation of your group reservation will result in forfeiture of the Deposit Amount. However, the passengers should still be eligible for travel funds, according to a rep I spoke with. 

Southwest group travel phone number

The Southwest group travel phone number is: 1(800)433-5368. The line is open Monday through Friday from 5AM to to 12AM Central standard time. Group bookings must be made via phone and cannot be made online. 

Something that you need to know about this phone number is that the hold times can be extremely long like this person who waited 4.5 hours. I doubt you will have to wait that long waits for over one or two hours are not that uncommon.

This is especially the case if you’re calling soon after a new schedule is released. So you should you’d be prepared to wait a very long time or try to call during non-peak hours.

Submitting passenger names

You will need to complete the Excel form which will allow you to input all the passenger names and then you can submit the form to the Southwest Airlines Group Travel Management page here. This spreadsheet template should be emailed to you after you contact Southwest via phone. 

You will need to complete all of the different fields which include:

  • Group Leader Name
  • Email
  • Departure Date
  • Confirmation Number
  • Passport information will be required for International Reservations

For the passengers you will need:

I would suggest trying to get an exact match with the person’s government issued ID and the names that you input on the spreadsheet. You don’t always have to have an exact match with a middle name but I think that it helps.

If you need to make changes to the passenger names you can do this by entering your updates on the “Changes” tab on the Excel Name Template provided by Southwest Airlines. Remember that the names can be changed up to 72 hours prior to departure. 

Submitting your payment

If you have already submitted a complete name list, you may call 1-800-433-5368 to pay over the phone, using a credit card or PayPal. You may also upload a completed Letter of Authorization (LOA) form on the Southwest Airlines Group Travel Management page.

Southwest does not accept multiple payments.

If paying via wire transfer, be sure to call or email [email protected] at least seven business days before your final payment due date to receive the detailed instructions for sending your wire transfer

Group Tickets are flight and date specific and cannot be changed, used or exchanged for travel on other flights.

How much are the discounts?

The amount of the discounted fare is just going to vary based on your flight. Southwest usually offers several different rates for the same flight and only a select few people can take advantage of each fare.

So for example, the lowest fare may only be available to 6 to 8 passengers, the second lowest fare may only be available to the next six to eight passengers and so on. I have no idea about the exact quantity of passengers but you get the idea….

When you book as a group you should receive a fare that is lower than the average price but probably not as low as the lowest available fare. In some cases, it could be cheaper for passengers to book their own individual tickets.

However, this probably depends on the size of the group. For large groups I would guess that you would be paying a below average rate and would be better off with the group travel rate, especially considering the added flexibility.  

If you find a cheaper price online, Southwest is a little bit nebulous with what they will do. For example, that they answer this specific question by stating the following:

I saw a lower fare available on versus what I was quoted through Group Travel Services. Can I get the website price in my group reservation? fares and Group fares differ in many ways, and each offers its own unique benefits. The best option for you is determined by your travel needs. fares are often only available online and usually have limited quantities available. There may not be enough seats at the online price for your whole group. fares tend to work best for small parties that don’t need much flexibility in their travel plans. Group fares work best for parties of ten or more who may require flexibility with name changes and payments.

This sounds like a nice way of telling you that you cannot get your price matched (or at least not a guaranteed match). It still probably would not hurt to call in and request the price match if you found it though. You never know what they might do.

TSA Pre-Check 

You are not able to enter your Known Traveler Number when making Southwest Group Travel reservations. This means that the passengers will likely not receive TSA Pre-check. If you are not familiar with TSA Pre-check, it is a program that allows you access to expedited security screening and can save you a lot of time. You can find out more about the program here

Rapid Rewards 

When you input the names of the passengers traveling you will not have a field to enter in the Rapid Rewards number. This means that the passengers will not automatically receive Rapid Rewards for their flight. However, it does appear possible to call in after the fact and request for Rapid Rewards to be issued.

Flights from multiple departure points

If you have a lot of people flying to a single place from different places around the country you might be wondering if you can also qualify for the group travel rates. Southwest does offer an option for situations like this but it will require a high number of passengers. 

Southwest Airlines offers a formal meetings program for corporate meetings and conventions with a minimum of 150 Travelers through SWABIZ. To make Southwest Airlines the official airline of your meeting and find out if you are eligible, visit and submit a Meetings Agreement Request form.

The group check-in process

The check-in process is a little bit different for Southwest Group Travel and the exact process for check in would depend on if you are flying on a domestic flight or international flight. Basically if your flight is a domestic flight you can check in the group or specific passengers but if you’re checking in for an international flight you will need to check in each passenger one at a time.

Below are the specific instructions provided by Southwest.  

Domestic Groups

1. Go to and click “Check In” to reserve your boarding positions.  Enter the confirmation number and first and last name of any one of your travelers.
2. You have the option to either check in the entire Group, or select specific Passengers.
3. The names of successfully checked in Passengers along with their boarding positions will begin to populate on the screen one at a time.  Please note: Certain Passengers may not be eligible for online check in and must proceed to the ticket counter.
4. Once you arrive at the airport proceed to the ticket counter to receive your boarding passes.

International Groups

 1. Go to and click ‘Check In’ to reserve your boarding positions. Enter the confirmation number and first and last name of any one of the travelers.
2. You will only be able to check in one Passenger at a time. 
3. A valid passport and emergency contact information will be needed to complete the check in process.
4. Repeat steps 1 – 3 for each International Passenger. 
4. Once you arrive at the airport proceed to the ticket counter to receive your boarding passes.

Southwest Group Travel boarding

If you are not familiar with the Southwest boarding process it works like this. You are given a boarding pass that falls into one of three groups: A, B, or C. You are then issued a number within that group and that is where you will line up to board the plane. There are no assigned seats so all seats are open to everyone. Read more about the boarding process here

Traveling with a group, you might be tempted to save seats on the plane. But you should be aware that many people frown upon saving seats on Southwest. My advice would be to head to the very back of the plane where people are more forgiving about you saving seats. 

You might be wondering about Southwest EarlyBird which is a service that allows you to check in automatically and secure a better boarding position for a fee of $15 to $25. Unfortunately, Southwest EarlyBird is not available to tickets purchased as part of a Group itinerary.

Southwest Group Travel baggage fees

Southwest will allow you to travel with your first two checked bags for free. The applies even when traveling as a group. If you are wondering about the fees for additional bags or for oversized bags then click here for more on the Southwest baggage fee policy.

Final word

The Southwest Group Travel program can be a great way to fly with a large group because you can save money and get added flexibility with name changes. However, you will likely have to deal with really long wait times on the phone and will have to go without some benefits like EarlyBird and Pre-check.

If you’re dealing with a smaller group I would suggest comparing the prices of booking them individually to help people save money but it could all just depend on the route. 

Cover photo by Tomás Del Coro via Flickr.

Amazing Southwest 50% Off Sale

If you have any travel plans for this fall you should take a hard look at the new Southwest Airlines sale. It’s an amazing deal offering 50% off flights of all fares — that includes Wanna Get Away, Anytime, and Business Select.

To take advantage of this promotion you need to book by June 17 and your travel dates need to be between September 15th and November 3, 2021.

When you go to book make sure that you can put the promo code: “SAVE50.” There is a box to input the code directly underneath where are you input your dates on desktop. After you proceed to the search results, you should see the savings reflected in the prices. The promo code works for both points bookings and cash bookings.

(You will know that the discount has been activated if you see the former price crossed out.)

I was just able to book 2 round-trip nonstop tickets between Phoenix and BWI for only $462 in October. Not bad at all. So if you have any travel plans for this fall I’d highly suggest checking out the discounted rates.

28 Tips for Flying Southwest Airlines (Baggage, Check-in, Boarding)

Southwest Airlines is one of my favorite airlines to fly for a host of reasons but mostly because of the value I can get with cheap fares and easy Rapid Rewards earning opportunities.

There are a lot of things to know about Southwest that can make your booking and flight experience much smoother and save you time and money in the future, especially if you’re flying them for the first time.

So here are 28 tips for flying Southwest Airlines that cover everything from baggage, check-in, and boarding to saving money and points on flights.

If you’re more of a visual person check out the YouTube video and infographic at the end of the article! 

Interested in finding out the top travel credit cards for this month? Click here to check them out!

Tips for Flying Southwest Airlines

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

1. Get the Southwest Companion Pass

The biggest tip I could ever offer if you want to maximize value with Southwest, is to look into getting the Southwest Companion Pass. This allows a companion to fly for free with you on any Southwest flights for up to two years!

The Companion Pass can easily be obtained by getting two credit cards from Chase.

The Chase Southwest cards come with bonuses with as much as 80,000 Rapid Rewards. Since you only 125,000 Rapid Rewards (or 100 one-way qualifying flight flights) for the Southwest Companion Pass, this allows you to instantly obtain the Companion Pass!

That pass can be worth well over $3,000 so if you’re looking to save money with Southwest, definitely consider this.

2. Get the best Southwest credit card offers

As I just mentioned, Southwest credit cards offer different types of bonuses all of the time — we’ve seen offers range from 25,000 points to 60,000 points for these cards!

Try to seek out the best offers for the business Southwest credit card and for the personal cards like the Southwest Premier and Southwest Plus.

While you are limited to one personal card, it is possible to get a personal card and a business card but I would wait 30 days in-between applications.

Also note that if a higher offer comes out within 90 days of you applying, ask Chase to match you to the higher offer and they usually will!

3. Know which Southwest 737 seats have extra leg room

Almost the entire Southwest Airlines fleet consists of 737-700s and 737-800s. In fact, Southwest is the largest operator of the Boeing 737 worldwide!

This means you can expect virtually the same flight experience each flight.

If you like to seek out extra leg room or upgrade to business select in order to snag the emergency exit rows with more room, knowing which type of plane will be flying is key since the 737-800s have an extra “2-person row.”

You can see the difference between the two seat maps below.

The 737-800 (pictured on the right) is bigger and has more seats with extra legroom. Some seats might have limited recline or bad window views, though. You can read more about the specific differences between Southwest seats here. Also, be sure to read how to find the best seat on southwest.

Southwest seat maps 737 700 737 800
Southwest seat maps.

4. Southwest is the largest “point to point” operator in the US

Southwest is the largest “point-to-point” operator in the US. This means that it’s extra easy to find direct flights to many destinations versus other airlines who operate with more of a true hub model.

If you hate extra flying, Southwest could offer you an escape!

5. Southwest serves secondary airports

One of the potential drawbacks to Southwest’s network is that they serve a lot of secondary airports. For example, in Houston, Southwest serves Hobby (HOU) instead of George Bush Intercontinental (IAH).

This often means going without nice airport lounges or other amenities but also means traveling through smaller airports that are often easier to get in and out of.

6. Southwest does not have a true business class or first class

Most airlines have a separate cabin for business class or first class with nicer, more comfy seating — but not Southwest. Every seat is virtually the same and there are no rows dedicated for premier seating.

Southwest does have “Business Select” fare which offers priority security/check-in, flexible cancellation, a free premium drink, and priority boarding (A1 to A15) but you’re not given a seat with more legroom or comfort. It also comes with additional perks like better earning rate and you can click here to find out if if Business Select if worth it for you. 

No first class is a bit of a bummer.

7. Southwest has a unique boarding method

You do not select or get assigned a specific seat for Southwest flights.

Instead, you check-in at exactly 24 hours before the flight and then you are assigned to a number in either Group A, B, or C. Starting with Group A, each group will board the plane in order based on the number each passenger received at check-in.

It’s a surprisingly efficient process but does cause some people worry that they can’t select their seat when they purchase their ticket. You can read more about the boarding process here.

8. Saving seats on Southwest

There’s long running debates about whether or not you should be allowed to save seats on Southwest.

Although I think it’s acceptable to save seats within reason, it’s something you typically want to avoid if you can. However, if you need to save seats for several passengers, people are much more understanding if your saved seats are near the back of the plane. Trying to save a row of seats up front is practically begging for confrontation.

9. Two free checked bags

Southwest allows each passenger two free checked bags. So you usually don’t have to worry about paying for your luggage. If you want to check a third bag, it will cost you $75.

If you’re considering flying with low-cost carriers like Frontier and Spirit, be sure to factor these savings in!

  • Read more about the baggage policies here.

10. You get free drinks and snacks

On Southwest flights you’ll be given free snacks like pretzels and peanuts (on longer flights you might get Nabisco crackers/cookies). You’ll also be given free non-alcoholic drinks on your flight. While these snacks are convenient, you probably want to bring a sandwich or something with you on board if you think you’ll get hungry on a longer flight.

Southwest snacks.

11. Get “real drinks” for free

If you’re flying on a holiday or it’s near your birthday or anniversary, you should let the flight attendants know and they might hook you up with a free drink or two. We’ve also gotten free drinks from just starting conversations with some of the nice flight attendants.

12. Wanna Get Away fares offer great value

Wanna Get Away fares are the cheapest Southwest fares and don’t allow you to cancel them and get a cash refund (though you still get a credit for the originally ticketed passenger only). These fares can be dirt cheap, especially when Southwest runs flash sales.

These flash sales come around a few times a year and offer some exceptionally low fares as low as $40 one way. Keep an eye out for these fares because they can save you tons but you they require you to act fast and are often limited to flights on certain days of the week (that aren’t very desirable like Tuesday or Wednesday).

  • When these sales aren’t running you can still check the low-fare routes by using this tool.

13. Last-minute flights are expensive

One important tip for flying Southwest, is that last minute flights on Southwest can be very expensive. It’s somewhat dependent on the route but it usually pays to book Southwest flight well in advance.

This is especially true when flying internationally — for more on all of the Southwest international routes and prices, click here

14. You can fly stand by

Business Select, Anytime fares, and A-List members can opt for earlier flights when they have opened up free of charge.

But Business Select and Anytime fares can simply be changed to earlier flights when there’s availability so sometimes it doesn’t make sense to go the standby route.

Wanna Get Away passengers can sometimes get put on standby two hours before or after their flight — this is an unstated policy though so YMMV.

The deadline for making changes to your flight is 1 hour prior to departure.

15. Southwest doesn’t release flights one year in advance

Unlike many other carriers, Southwest does not allow you to book flights a year out in advance. Instead, you may only find flights about 7 months in advance.

Southwest will publish their release dates and you should be able to start making bookings early that morning (though sometimes technical difficulties require you to wait).

With the new flights coming to Hawaii, you’ll definitely want to jump on some of these routes as quickly as possible to lock down the best rates

Click here to see the latest release dates.

16. Rebook Southwest flights to save $

Southwest allows you to make changes for free to your flights. If you change your flight, you’ll only be responsible for the difference between the fares. This can work in your favor if the price decreases from the time of your purchase.

If the price in cash or Rapid Rewards goes down from the time you book, you can rebook your flights and be credited for the difference. Wanna Get Away fares get a travel credit and Business Select and Anytime can get a cash refund.

When the flash deals come out always check if your route is cheaper.

  • Read more about how to cancel and change flights here.

17. You can cancel 10 minutes prior to departure

Regardless of the type of fare that you purchase, you can cancel your fare 10 minutes prior to departure. If you’ve purchased an Anytime fare or Business Select, you’ll simply get a refund but if you purchased an Anytime fare you’ll be issued travel funds.

Southwest travel funds will expire one year from the purchase date (booking date) of the original flight and can only be used for the passenger who had their ticket cancelled.  

18. Convert travel funds to LUV vouchers

Some people have been able to extend the expiration date for their travel funds after they expire by paying a $100 reinstatement fee. The travel funds are then converted into LUV vouchers when the reinstatement takes place. You may only have 6 months to request the reinstatement and the voucher may only be valid for 6 months from issue. 

The good thing about getting a travel voucher is that you can use that for anybody. So in some instances, it could be very well worth it to pay $100 dollars so that you can apply those funds to a different traveler.

  • Read more about this here.

19. Hawaii and the “Southwest effect”

Studies have shown that when Southwest begins flying to a destination, prices usually lower (this is called the Southwest Effect). This is great news because Southwest is getting ready to start flying to Hawaii!

So you might seeing some more reasonable prices to Hawaii pretty soon.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

20. Earning Southwest Rapid Rewards

You earn Rapid Rewards based on the type of fare your purchased. You’ll 6X the points per dollar for Wanna Get Away fares, 10X for Anytime, and 12X for Business Select. As you climb into A-List and A-List Preferred your earning rates go up.

Here are the earnings for an A-List and A-List Preferred member.


  • 7.5X per dollar for Wanna Get Away fares
  • 12.5X per dollar for Anytime fares
  • 15X per dollar for Business Select

A-List Preferred

  • 12X per dollar for Wanna Get Away fares
  • 20X per dollar for Anytime fares
  • 24X per dollar for Business Select
Southwest Rapid Rewards earning structure.

21. The value of Rapid Rewards is tied to the cost of the flight

Unlike points from airlines like United and American and many other airlines, the value of Rapid Rewards are directly tied to the cost of the current price of the that airline ticket.

So a flight that costs $400 will require about 2X the amount of Rapid Rewards as a flight that costs $200. I say “about” because there are some fluctuations. Typically, your Southwest points will be worth between 1.4 to 1.6 cents per point but sometimes the value can fluctuate even more.

22. How to know when to use Rapid Rewards

To determine if using Rapid Rewards is a good idea, you should:

  1. Find the cash price of the ticket
  2. Subtract the award fees from that price (usually $5.60)
  3. Divide that number by the required amount of Rapid Rewards
  4. Multiple that number 100
  5. If that figure is below 1.3, you may not want to use your points. 

To get an even more accurate figure, you can also subtract the value of the Rapid Rewards you would have earned on your flight for Step 2. For example, if you found a $100 cash fare for a one-way ticket you’d subtract $5.60 + however much you value the Rapid Rewards you’d earn.

23. Earn Extra Rapid Rewards

Southwest has a shopping portal and a dining portal. Both of these allow you to earn extra Southwest points when you shop at certain stores or visit certain establishments.

Read more about how to maximize earnings with the shopping portal here.

You can also earn Southwest Rapid Rewards when you stay at certain hotel partners, book rental cars,  and sign-up for utility plans in certain states.

24. You probably don’t need EarlyBird

EarlyBird will automatically check you in 24 hours before the flight, allowing you to more easily secure a good seat — usually a high A or low B boarding pass.

Unless you’re going to be away from a computer or mobile device at exactly 24 hours before your flight, you usually don’t need Southwest EarlyBird. Just setting an alarm to remind you to check-in is usually all you need.

  • You can read more about whether or not it’s worth it to purchase EarlyBird here.

25. Kids 6 or under?

If you’re traveling with kids 6 or under, you’ll be able to board during Family Boarding which is right after Group A and before Group B. If that’s the case, you really won’t need EarlyBird.

26. Flying with kids under 2?

Southwest allows kids under 2 to fly for free. However, they do require you to bring a brith certificate with you to verify the age.

A medical release for travel is required for any infant under 14 days old.

27. Upgrade to Business Select

Instead of paying the high prices for business select, consider upgrading to business select at the gate. It will cost you $30 to $50 depending on the distance of the route.

I usually first inquire about which spot we’ll be given upon upgrading. For example, it might be A1 or A10, you never know. If it’s near the top, that almost always means that seats in the emergency exit rows will be available (and so you might be able to get the row with only two seats or extra leg room).

This usually doesn’t work on routes with high business travel traffic but often works out great when flying to places like the Caribbean. You can read more about upgrading to business select here.

28. Bring something to entertain you

Southwest is not like other alines, such as JetBlue that offer screens for you to enjoy in-flight entertainment. For this reason, you need to make sure you have the battery power or literature, puzzles, etc. you need to keep yourself entertained for the duration of the flight.

Some Southwest flights will have wi-fi, though. You can check if your Southwest flight will have wifi here.

If your flight has wi-fi then you can use the Airtime Player app to use view features a flight tracker, arrival and connecting gate information, games, and access to (it’s free to access all of that).

If you want to pay for wifi, you can watch free live TV, on-demand TV, movies, and enjoy web browsing and messaging during your flight. You can read more about the in-flight entertainment here.

You must download the Airtime Player app before boarding if you want to view a movie or on-demand TV.

Here are the download links for that app:

Final word

Despite the lack of premium experience available, Southwest has a lot to offer in terms of cheap flights with quality service. You know exactly what you’re going to get with Southwest and if you know when and where to look, you can tap into some extreme savings by flying Southwest.

Cover photo by Tomás Del Coro via Flickr.

Southwest YouTube video

Southwest Infographic

Earn 50X Rapid Rewards on June 11

Southwest just announced a pretty cool promotion that will allow Southwest credit card holders to earn 50X on June 11.

The 50X will apply to purchases made on Southwest which include the following:

  • Flights
  • In-flight purchases
  • Southwest gift cards
  • Rapid rewards points center
  • Southwest vacations packages

The interesting thing here is that you can purchase gift cards and still earn the 50X. You can only earn 50X up to $100 and spend so this is limited to a total earning of 5,000 Rapid Rewards.

Depending on how you value Southwest points, 5000 points could come out to around $75 in value. So if you purchase a gift card you could look at it as if you were getting a hefty discount.

The terms state that “All Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards are eligible.” It seems to me that you could earn 50X on multiple Southwest cards but I have not seen that confirmed just yet.

The bonus points will count towards Companion Pass but will not count towards A-List or A-List Preferred qualification.

Promo Link

New Southwest Give Away

Southwest Airlines is celebrating their 50th birthday and are giving you a chance every day for the next couple of weeks to earn prizes.

They will be giving away up to 50 million Rapid Rewards bonus points and entering is very easy so I would recommend taking a few seconds to join this promotion.

To join, simply go to this link and click enter now.

You will need to input some basic information like your name, email, Zoning Improvement Plan code, and Rapid Rewards number. If you don’t want to receive promotional emails be sure to not click the second check box.

Then click enter and play and you will be asked to select some luggage bags and hopefully you will have a prize waiting for you after you open them.

The promotion is set to expire June 18, 2021.

The Southwest hack you might want to try

In case you are not aware there is currently a way to save big time when flying Southwest Airlines. It is a bit of a “travel hack” so there is no telling when this method might no longer be available but if you can take advantage of it now you could potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars or tens of thousands of Rapid Rewards points.

Basically, what you do is book a flight with the intention of changing your flight to a more expensive flight on a different date. I believe you must keep the origin and destination airports the same along with the fare class but you can change the flight at no additional cost even if there is a difference in fares.

I just went through an entire booking to confirm that it still works and I had no issues.

I booked a nonstop flight from Tucson to Houston on June 22. I booked the flight with points and the price came out to 13,577 points. I then changed my flight to June 4 (within 30 days of June 22) and I changed it to a much more expensive flight going for 32,025 Rapid Rewards. That means that the flight was 2.3 times more expensive than my original flight!

But when I advanced through the booking process for the change I was given the option to make the change free of charge!

So I was able to save myself 18,448 points! If you were booking a cash booking you could have your savings in the form of cash.

So to take advantage of this there are basically two steps you need to make.

Step one

Book a Southwest flight between June 20 and July 17.

Step two

Change your flight date to a date 30 days before or after your original date.

Then just proceed through the standard change process.

Once again, this travel hack could disappear anytime so don’t wait too long if you want to take advantage of it. But this is one of the easiest ways I’ve seen to save hundreds of dollars on flights so even if you don’t fly Southwest you might want to give it a shot!

Southwest Four Upgrades Benefit Explained [2021]

Southwest Airlines offers some great credit cards and a couple of those credit cards come with a special upgrade benefit that offers you four upgrades per year. But how exactly do these upgrades work and how much value can you get from them?

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the four upgrades benefit.

What is the four upgrades benefit?

Select Southwest credit cards will allow you to be reimbursed for the purchase of up to four upgraded boardings to Business Select every year.

These cards include the Southwest Priority Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card. Both of these credit cards are top-notch travel rewards cards.

 The Southwest Priority Credit Card (full review here) is an awesome card that comes with the following perks:

  • 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

If you are a frequent Southwest flyer, you can easily offset the $149 annual fee quickly with the $75 annual travel credit, the four upgrades, and the 7,500 anniversary points.

If you are interested in a great business credit card with similar benefits check out the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card. It comes with all the following perks:

  • Strong welcome bonus 
  • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines purchases.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available
  • Inflight WiFi Credits
  • A-List credits 
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Fee Credit
  • Employee cards added at no additional cost
  • $199 Annual Fee

These cards are also great because they can expedite your path to getting the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. That pass allows you to fly for free with a companion for up to two calendar years and is arguably one of the most valuable travel perks available.

Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can optimize your credit card spend by seeing the best card to use! You can also track credits, annual fees, and get notifications when you’re eligible for the best cards!

What is Business Select?

Southwest does not have a traditional first class or business class cabin like other legacy carriers such as United or American.

Instead, they have a type of ticket called Business Select which offers you certain types of benefits. Business Select comes with a number of benefits including:

  • Guaranteed A1-A15 boarding
  • Fly By lane access
  • Free premium drink
  • 12 Rapid Rewards per dollar spent
  • Fully refundable fare
  • Standby

However, whenever you upgrade to Business Select you do not get all the above perks. For example, you will not get a free premium drink nor does it mean you will receive 12 Rapid Rewards per dollar spent.

Instead, when upgrading, the big benefit is that you get a guaranteed A1 through A15 boarding. I’ll explain why this benefit is a big deal when flying Southwest below.

How Southwest boarding works

The reason why it is such a big deal to get guaranteed A1 through A15 boarding is that it will allow you to board the plane before most people. Southwest does not offer assigned seats so it is a first-come, first-serve basis when choosing where to sit.

If you are one of the first people to board you can get the best seats such as those seats located in the front of the plane or other seats located in or around the emergency exit rows which have more legroom.

The amount of available seats with more legroom/privacy depends on whether you’re flying on a 737-700 or 737-800. You can find out more information about the different types of seats in my Tips for Flying Southwest.

Rows of seats inside Southwest plane.
Get extra legroom by utilizing your upgrades.

Anniversary year or calendar year?

Every anniversary year you will be reimbursed for your upgrades. This means that the benefit resets on the anniversary that you opened up your account (the official date used is the date in the Chase system.)

Chase explains explicitly what they mean by anniversary year: “Anniversary year means the year beginning with your account open date through the first statement date after your account open date anniversary, and the 12 monthly billing cycles after that each year.”

Contrast this to a benefit that resets at the end of the calendar year which is on December 31 of every year.

Where can you purchase the upgrades at?

Currently, you cannot purchase your upgrades online ahead of your travel date. Instead, you must purchase the upgraded boarding pass at the departure gate or ticket counter on the day of travel.

In the past, I have purchased upgrades at both the ticket counter and departure gate. In some cases, an agent will tell you that they cannot process it at the departure gate.

One tip I have is to ask the agent what your new boarding position will be if you upgrade. This is a good idea because in some cases you will not want to upgrade if you are going to be issued a high boarding position such as A15. That’s because you may not be able to select the best seats in the plane.

If you ask about the new boarding position before you upgrade, you can ensure that you will not waste one of your four upgrades.

Just note that in some cases, for whatever reason, Southwest will have empty business select seats. One time I was given something like an A9 position and there were no individuals in front of me. I’m not sure exactly why that happens but it is something to be aware of.

How much do these upgrades cost?

The amount of money it costs to upgrade depends on the length of the journey but you usually pay $30 to $50. So getting four upgraded boardings per year when available could be worth anywhere from $120 to $200. 

That is a significant amount of potential savings per year. If you maxed it out every year, you could easily offset the annual fee of either the personal or business card that offers this benefit.

How long does it take to get the credit?

After you make an eligible purchase for an upgrade, it may take up to eight weeks for the statement credit to post to your account. This means that if you wait until the end of your anniversary year, your credit may not post until the next year.

How many upgrades can you purchase?

You can purchase a single upgrade or you can purchase all four of your upgrades at one time. This means that your upgrades can be on the same flight or each individual upgrade can be on a separate flight. Either way, you will be reimbursed.

Can you upgrade an award ticket?

If you purchase your ticket with Rapid Rewards points you should still be able to upgrade your ticket once you arrive at the airport.

Final word

These upgrade benefits can be worth up to $200 which means that in some cases you can entirely offset the annual fee each year of these premium Southwest credit cards just by utilizing the upgrade perks. When you also consider the additional benefits on those cards like the anniversary points, the credits, and all of the value from your spend it becomes a no brainer when getting these cards.

Southwest devalues Rapid Rewards points by 6%

Southwest has always been one of the most customer friendly airlines in the US, but last night they did something that most would consider to be the opposite of customer friendly.

They rolled out a devaluation without any advanced notice.

Southwest Rapid Rewards will now be worth about 6% less than what they were before. Unlike the changes in 2018 that only decreased the value of Wanna Get Away fares, this appears to apply to every class of airfare that Southwest offers: Wanna Get Away, Anytime, and Business Select.

Southwest does not utilize an award chart and instead they price the flights based on “dynamic pricing.” This means that the price of an award tracks pretty closely to the cash price of a flight.

That is still going to be the case going forward but the general value that you might get with each point will be dropping from 78 points per dollar to 83 points per dollar.

I said general because the exact value that you get from Southwest redemptions really does change with the price of your ticket. Cheaper tickets can offer you pretty high value such as around 1.7 cents per point while other more expensive tickets may fall around 1.3 cents per point.

Because this devaluation is so minimal, I would still expect to get around those rates on redemptions.

Despite the devaluation, Southwest Rapid Rewards is still a great program with a lot of value to offer. They offer you two free checked bags, make it very easy to rebook awards whenever the prices drop, and the value of the Companion Pass (which can be easily earned with credit cards) is unrivaled.

The devaluation itself is no surprise and we are probably going to see a lot of these occur over the next 12 months.

Many people continued to earn lots of points and miles through the pandemic even though travel had virtually stopped. This means there will be a surplus of points out there and so I would just be prepared for more of these devaluations going forward.

Because it seems like programs are becoming bolder about not providing notice, my advice would be to be very careful about transferring points over to frequent flyer programs until you can quickly book your flights/hotels.


Southwest Shopping Portal: Maximize Earnings (Shopping Button) [2021]

The Southwest shopping portal is one of the best ways to rack up Southwest Rapid Rewards. In fact, at certain times, you could earn up to 20 Southwest Rapid Rewards for every per dollar you spend through the portal! But there are a few things that you should know about the portal to make sure that you’re maximizing your earnings and not missing out on any points.

This article will walk you through everything you need to know about earning Southwest Rapid Rewards when shopping through the portal, including things like special bonuses and using the shopping button.

What is the Southwest shopping portal?

The Southwest shopping portal is an online portal that allows you to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards when you make online purchases of all sorts.

There are over 800 stores to choose from, and here are only a few examples:

  • Macy’s
  • WalMart
  • Sam’s Club
  • Apple
  • Samsung
  • Nike
  • Under Armour
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Kohl’s
  • Walgreens
  • Staples
  • And many, many more…

You simply log-in to the portal, click through to your relevant store on the portal, and then check out as you usually would. You’re able to shop for the same products and the same prices as you normally would, but the only difference is that you’ll earn bonus Rapid Rewards from your purchase.

The amount earned depends on the rate (discussed more below), but this is an easy way to build up those Rapid Rewards in a hurry.

How do you sign-up for the Southwest shopping portal?

You’ll need a valid Rapid Rewards account number to shop and earn Rapid Rewards points with Rapid Rewards Shopping.

You can click here to enroll in the Rapid Rewards Program.

Make sure you know your Rapid Rewards account number so that you’ll be able to log-in.

How do you use the shopping portal?

Once you have a Rapid Rewards account, simply sign in to the portal. Then, you will have different options for browsing through the stores and different offers. Below is a breakdown of the different types of ways you can use the portal to find deals.

Top Stores

On the front page, you should see “Top Stores” which are some of the top-earning stores at the moment. These will change with the trend and bonuses being offered.

You’ll also see “Featured Offers” which are a number of offers that, in addition to points, will grant you discounts like an extra 20% off, free shipping, etc.

These could save you real money while also earning you points. Some will be in the form of a promo codes, so take note of these offers before leaving the Southwest portal.

Last minute deals

You can also search by last minute deals. Some of these will be expiring on the same day so you might have to act very quickly to take it advantage of them.

Search by categories

You can also use the toolbar to search the stores by category.

Some of the categories include:

  • Apparel and accessories
  • Babies, kids and toys
  • Beauty and Health
  • Books, music, and movies
  • Computers and electronics
  • Department stores
  • Entertainment
  • Flowers, foods, and gifts
  • Home, garden, and auto
  • Office and school
  • And others

The great thing about these shopping portals is that you can find just about anything you’d need, so you rarely have to ever go out of your way to earn points.

Click on the retailer

Once you’ve located your store you want to shop at, then you simply click on the button to take you to the store.

You should see a screen notifying you that you’re being taken to the online retailer. You can disable this screen but I like to keep it active since it allows me to confirm the earning rate at that store and also gives me a little added assurance that the portal is working properly.

Southwest Shopping Portal

Make sure that you’re aware that you won’t earn points for shopping in-store at these retailers. You must utilize the online shopping portal in order to earn the points.

The Rapid Rewards Shopping Button

If you have Google Chrome, then you can activate the Rapid Rewards Shopping Button, which will allow you to instantly activate point earnings at some stores. It will enable you to see what the current earning rates are for the website store you’re on.

I highly recommend the Button for those serious about earning Rapid Rewards.

Do take note that this is a browser extension. Sometimes those can cause privacy and/or functionality concerns for some people, so that’s something to consider.

Preparing to use the portal

Before you access the shopping portal, there are a few things you should consider doing to decrease the odds of your purchase not tracking properly.

Clear your shopping cart

If you’ve already been browsing online with the merchant and dropping items into your shopping cart here and there, you might want to remove those items first. (After you click through the portal and get back on the merchant’s website, you can add those items again.)

Turn ad blockers off

Make sure your ad blocker is off before you access the Southwest shopping portal. This could prevent necessary pop-ups and cookies from being used to track your purchase.

Enable cookies and javascript

Make sure you have enabled cookies and javascript. Some people also like to clear their cookies before they access the portal, but you could also just use an incognito browser to do the trick.

Also, you might want to disable your browser toolbars so that they don’t interfere with your tracking.

Other coupon codes don’t work

If you received coupon codes from different sources and you use them with your purchase, you will most likely forfeit your Rapid Rewards earnings. So, only use those other coupons if it’s a better deal.

How many points do you earn with the Southwest shopping portal?

The number of points that you’ll earn for your shopping will depend on the current rate being offered. These earning rates often fluctuate depending on the season and whether or not special promos and deals are being offered.

For example, right now in December 2019, there’s a “Holiday Shopping” promo. You can see the increased earning rates below:

Note that you won’t earn points on taxes, special handling charges, returns, freight, or shipping costs.

Comparing the best rates

Something that you should always do is compare Southwest earning rates to other online shopping portals for each particular store you want to shop at.

My number one website for doing this is Cash Back Monitor. Simply go that website and enter the online store you’re planning on shopping at, and you’ll be able to see the rates offered for various portals, as shown below.

If you have a Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards, then be sure to consider going through the Chase shopping portal just in case the earnings are better since you can always transfer your Ultimate Rewards to Southwest.

Sign-up bonuses & spend bonuses

Before you sign-up for the shopping portal, you might want to hold off until a lucrative sign-up offer rolls around.

At various times in the year, Southwest will offer special spending incentives targeted at new members, so sometimes it’s a good idea to hold off until one of those come around.

If you miss out on such an offer, don’t worry, other spending incentives will come back around usually for back-to-school, Christmas, and other times of the year.

For example, one of the previous bonuses offered the following tiered bonus.

  • Spend $150 earn 500 bonus miles
  • Spend $500 earn 1,000 bonus miles
  • Spend $1,000 earn 3,000 bonus miles

Get notifications

The Rapid Rewards portal allows you to sign-up to receive emails when your favorite stores offer extra points. This is an easy way to save you time and allow you to maximize your Rapid Rewards earnings.

One of the easiest ways to favorite your stores is to go to this link and then find a group of stores you are interested in like department stores and select “favorite all.” Just make sure that you have activated alerts in order to receive the notifications.

The Southwest Companion Pass

Points earned from the Southwest shopping portal count towards the coveted Southwest Companion Pass, which allows a partner to fly for free with you for up to two calendar years!

This is excellent news because so many people find themselves only a few hundred points short of the Companion Pass.

However, it’s worth noting that the points earned through special spending offers don’t typically count towards the Companion Pass. 

When do the Southwest miles show up?

Rapid Rewards points will typically be posted to your account within six to eight weeks from the purchase date. 

Be sure to track your purchases and follow up if your points have been delivered or not. It’s always a great idea to keep track of details like the purchase date, purchase amount, order number, etc., so that if and when anything goes wrong, you are ready to handle it.

If you click on “My Account” on the shopping portal’s homepage, you’ll be able to view for your prior store visits and transactions so you can always check that your clicks are tracking properly.

If the points don’t show up, then use the automated customer service tools located in the Contact Us section of their website.

Keep Southwest miles from expiring

One of the best uses for the shopping portal is that it’s a great way to keep your Southwest points from expiring. Simply make a purchase and wait for your points to hit, and the clock should be reset for an additional 24 months.

Can I redeem Rapid Rewards for shopping?

No, Rapid Rewards points can only be redeemed at for flights; you can’t redeem your Rapid Rewards for shopping through the portal.

Is there a limit to the points earned?

No, there is no limit to the number of Rapid Rewards that you can earn through the shopping portal.

The Southwest Dining portal

Don’t forget that Southwest also has the Dining portal where you can earn additional points at local restaurants. You absolutely want to take advantage of that portal too, if you’re trying to maximize your point earnings.

Additional tips for Southwest

If you’re looking for more tips on flying Southwest then I recommend you read my article here.

Final word

The Southwest shopping portal is a great way for anybody who likes flying on Southwest to earn extra Rapid Rewards. It can also be very useful in earning the Southwest Companion Pass or resetting the clock on your points’ expiration. With the new Google Chrome extension, it’s also more accessible than ever to utilize the portal and compare earnings between online merchants.

Southwest Check-In Guide: (Mobile Boarding Passes & More) [2021]

Nothing is worse than realizing that you’re going to be one of the last people to board your plane, especially when you don’t have assigned seats. You’ll likely be stuck in the middle seat (between God knows who) and may not even have space to store your carry on.

Luckily, you can help avoid situations like this on Southwest if you know how the Southwest check-in process works.

I’ve checked in to dozens and dozens of Southwest flights and in this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Southwest check-in process.

I’ll cover things like how to do check-in online and in the app, best tips and practices, and how to deal with mobile boarding passes. I’ll also talk a little about other options like Southwest EarlyBird.  

When does Southwest check-in begin?

The check in process will begin exactly 24 hours prior to your departure time. 

So the first thing that you need to do is to find out exactly what time your departure time is. Once you find that out you need to be aware that the check in process will begin exactly 24 hours prior to that time.

Note that you will be going by the local time zone. So let’s say you are flying out of Houston at 3:05 PM. Your check in time will open up at 3:05 PM central time the day before. 

Once you know what time check-in opens you need to try to check in at exactly 24 hours. The reason is that Southwest Airlines does not have assigned seating.

Instead, you are assigned a boarding group and position within that group in the order you checked-in. There are three groups (Group A, Group B, and Group C) and there are 60 positions within each group. 

You will be called to line up with your boarding group in the order of your boarding position and then you can choose any open seats you would like once you board the plane. (Read more about the Southwest boarding policy here.)

This means that if you wait a long time to check in you will be assigned a boarding position in the back and you will not be able to choose some of the best seats. You might be stuck in the middle seat and you might not even have enough room to store your carry-on. 

This can make your flight much less enjoyable and that is why it is a good idea to check in as close to 24 hours prior to departure as possible. 

Tip: Use WalletFlo to help you maximize your credit card spend on purchases like Southwest flights!

Southwest Airlines seats.
Check-in as close to 24 hours from departure as possible for the best seats.

Best Southwest credit cards

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card comes with the following benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 6,000 anniversary points (learn more)
  • Earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in purchases, up to 15,000 Tier-Qualifying Points each calendar year
  • $99 Annual fee

Southwest Airlines Priority Card

The Southwest Airlines Priority Card comes with all of the benefits offered below:

  • 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 (learn more)
  • 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

What about Southwest EarlyBird? 

Southwest EarlyBird is a special perk that allows you to automatically check in 36 hours prior to departure.

This allows you to avoid counting down the seconds to check in and is extremely convenient if you are not going to have access to your computer or the internet 24 hours prior to checkout.

For example, there have been times when we were out and about doing something like scuba diving and there just was no practical way for us to check-in. But because we purchased Southwest Early Bird, we still secured good boarding positions.

Note: You will not be guaranteed an “A” boarding position with EarlyBird. However a lot of times you will get an “A” boarding position or a lower “B” spot. These spots are generally good enough for you to get a window or aisle seat so in a lot of cases it can be worth it to purchase EarlyBird. 

The price for EarlyBird ranges from $15-$25 per one way and the price just depends on your route. You can read more about Southwest Airlines EarlyBird here. 

I’ve also heard about a Google Chrome extension that you can use to automatically check in. I have never used this Chrome extension before so I cannot comment on how reliable it is but it certainly is something interesting to think about.

It does call for a little bit of technical knowledge (it deals with scripts), so not everyone will probably feel comfortable using it. Read how it’s done here. 

Check in online or on the app

The easiest ways to check in are checking in online on the Southwest website or on the Southwest app.

You can find online check-in here. All you will need to enter is your confirmation number, first name, and last name.

Tip: I recommend that you have all of the different fields already filled out so that once check-in opens you can just check-in instantly.

If you really want to maximize your our odds of getting an A boarding group, you could always open up a few tabs and have the information filled out on those tabs.

Then you can start hitting the check in button a minute or so before check in opens. The reason for doing that is that sometimes your web browser could be a little bit delayed once you click the check in button. 

If you are using the app, you should see a button for check-in at the bottom of the app on the main page. Once you click that button you will be prompted to enter your confirmation number and your first and last name.

After your checked in, you can opt to print out your boarding pass or send your boarding pass via email or text. 

If you experience any errors when you try to check-in then you can call Southwest customer service at: 1-800-I-FLY-SWA. You can also hit them up on Twitter. 

Further Reading: Southwest Rapid Rewards Value Guide

Getting your boarding pass

There are several different ways that you can get your boarding pass. If you check-in online you will have the option to immediately print out a copy of your boarding pass. But you don’t have to print it out so if you don’t have a printer don’t worry.

Southwest mobile boarding pass

You can seek out a Southwest mobile boarding pass so you won’t have to print out your boarding pass and can head directly to security (if you don’t have checked baggage).

You can get these by requesting them at the time of check-in on, the mobile site, or the Southwest mobile app for iPhone, iPad, or Android.

You can have the mobile boarding pass sent to you via email or even text message (or just view it in browser).

Tip: Save your mobile boarding pass to your mobile device for easy retrieval just in case you can’t access the internet at a later time.  

Mobile boarding passes aren’t available for everyone, though. For example, they won’t be available for:

  • Infants
  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Individuals traveling on Senior Fares that need to be age verified
  • Nonrevenue passengers
  • Military Fares
  • Passengers traveling on international flights

Also, you’ll need to check-in as an individual in order to take advantage of a mobile boarding pass. Read more about the mobile boarding pass here. 

Business Select drink coupon 

If you’re flying Business Select you might be wondering how your free drink coupon will work. Well, if you have a Business Select ticket, your drink coupon eligibility will be noted on the mobile boarding pass.

To receive your drink during your flight, just show the drink coupon portion of your mobile boarding pass to the flight attendant.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Printing the boarding pass out at the airport 

Another method is just to wait until you arrive at the airport to print out your boarding pass. At the airport, there are several different places where you can get your boarding pass.

You can use the Southwest Airlines kiosks that you can find at select airports and quickly print out a boarding pass without having to deal with an agent.

To begin the check-in process at a kiosk you can do any of the following: 

  • Enter your confirmation number 
  • Enter your Rapid Rewards number
  • Swipe your Rapid Rewards A-List Membership Card
  • Swipe a major credit card with your name on it

These kiosks are great if you don’t have to check in baggage because you can simply input your information and grab your boarding pass and then head off to security.

However, you can also take care of some additional tasks at the kiosks, such as: 

  • Add a Rapid Rewards number to a reservation
  • Upgrade to Business Select 
  • Change your flight
  • Add your name to the standby list
  • Print an itinerary receipt

Upgrading to Business Select can be worth it, especially whenever you are one of the only people flying Business Select.

That is because you can lock down some of the best seats with extra leg room or potentially snag a row of seats with only two seats which is perfect for traveling.

If you are traveling to a leisure or vacation destination, there likely will not be many people flying Business Select so this could be a great time to upgrade.

But even if you can’t get one of those seats, you’ll be able to board the plane before the vast majority of people and get a seat at the front of the plane. 

The cost to upgrade to Business Select varies from $30 to $50 per segment, depending on the route. To find out more about Southwest business select click here. 

If you find yourself at one of the Southwest kiosks you might want to take a look around to see if anybody has dropped any free drink coupons. If you want to find out more about how to get free drinks on Southwest you can do that here.

Keep in mind that certain types of passengers will not be able to use the check-in kiosks. These include the following:

  • Unaccompanied Minors
  • Customers traveling with pets
  • Customers traveling on age-qualifying fares (Infant, Child, and Senior Fares) that have NOT already been age verified
  • Customers traveling on a Military Fare
  • Customers traveling with paper tickets

You can also simply head to the ticket counter to get your boarding pass. There may or may not be a long line so this will be more time-consuming. However, if you have A-List or A-List Preferred then you can use the exclusive check-in line and won’t have to deal with the long lines. Those are the elite status levels for Southwest and they come with additional perks like: 

  • Priority boarding
  • Priority security and check-in lanes
  • 25% bonus earning
  • Free same day standby
  • Dedicated A-List phone number

You can read more about Southwest A-List here.  

If you need to check baggage you can simply go to the baggage check-in desk and get your boarding pass printed out as you check in your baggage. 

By the way in case you were not aware Southwest allows you to fly with two checked bags for free. Most other airlines will charge you something like $30 for your first checked bag and even more for additional bags so this is a great way to save money. Read more about the Southwest baggage policy here. 

Southwest Airlines group travel check-in

The check-in process is a little bit different for Southwest Group Travel and the exact process for check in would depend on if you are flying on a domestic flight or international flight.

Basically if your flight is a domestic flight you can check in the group or specific passengers but if you’re checking in for an international flight you will need to check in each passenger one at a time. Click here to read more about Southwest Airlines group travel.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Southwest Check-In FAQ

What is Southwest EarlyBird? 

Southwest EarlyBird is a special perk that allows you to automatically check in 36 hours prior to departure.

Where can I check-in?

You can check-in online on the Southwest website or on the Southwest app. You can find online check-in here.

Who can’t get a mobile boarding pass?

Mobile boarding passes aren’t available for:

– Infants
– Unaccompanied minors
– Individuals traveling on Senior Fares that need to be age verified
– Nonrevenue passengers
– Military Fares
– Passengers traveling on international flights

Final word

The Southwest check-in process is easy to do but it is very important that you try to check in as close to 24 hours prior to departure as possible. Unless you purchase Southwest EarlyBird or a Business Select fare you could end up with some pretty bad seats.  

Cover photo by Tomás Del Coro via Flickr.

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