The world of airline travel is frequently a frustrating hodgepodge of hidden fees, stressful processes, and unexpected delays. And while getting time away can make us happier and more productive when we return, studies show that a stressful travel experience can negate the positive benefits of a vacation. And if you’re traveling for business, you want to be able to count on a smooth trip that doesn’t interfere with your work.
Enter Southwest Airlines, our most beloved airline. The convenience of flying Southwest and the company’s generous policies have resulted in a cult following for the airline. The process of flying Southwest differs from other airlines, from booking to boarding, and it’s those differences that make the experience more comfortable.
Here are some of the top reasons we love Southwest Airlines.
Need to change your ticket? No problem (and no fees)
Let’s say you fall in love in Belize and want to stay an extra two weeks (we can dream), or something comes up at work and you can’t take that weekend trip you had planned. Things happen in life you don’t expect, and the Southwest Airlines flight change policy reflects that fact.
While other major airlines might charge up to $150 to change your ticket to another date, Southwest will never charge a change fee. You might pay a difference in the cost of the fare, but you’ll never have to pay more than that to change your ticket.
If the price drops, you can get a credit toward a future trip
Another great feature of Southwest’s change policy is that you can rebook your ticket if the fare price drops. You’ll receive the difference in credit toward a future flight. This allows you to book your flight well in advance and still take advantage of last-minute deals.
You’ll become friends with the Southwest flight staff
Southwest has never cut pay rates or laid off any employees, and the company regularly shares profits with workers in the form of bonuses. What does this mean for you? It means you can support a company that treats its employees well.
It also means Southwest staff are generally satisfied with their jobs, which shows in the way they treat customers. You’ll find unusually friendly airline attendants, a pilot who cracks jokes over the loudspeaker, and a feeling of being cared for throughout your flight.
Two bags fly free with you
There are few greater travel disappointments than finding a cheap ticket only to be hit with exorbitant bag fees. But when you fly Southwest Airlines, you can bring one personal item that fits under your seat, stow a carry-on in the overhead compartment, and check two bags without paying any additional fees.
Just make sure to check Southwest’s bag size and weight restrictions before you travel, since oversized baggage will still incur a fee.
You can snag some sweet deals
Southwest regularly features promotions on its website. You won’t find Southwest flights on third-party travel websites, though, so always be sure to check the Southwest website for prices and take into account the free baggage when deciding on the best option for your budget.
You can choose your seat
Many airlines select your seat for you, and others charge extra for seat selection. But on Southwest, you’re free to pick any available seat as soon as you board the plane. And you can even switch after you’re seated. If a group of rowdy travelers is celebrating a bit too loudly next to you and you were hoping to get some shut-eye, you can simply move seats.
It’s simple (and inexpensive) to get priority boarding
When you purchase Southwest’s EarlyBird Check-In, you’ll pay $15 to $25 each way and get automatic check-in, which means you won’t have to worry about logging in 24 hours prior to your flight. This also means you’ll have a good chance of snagging an “A” boarding pass, which allows you to be among the first to board the plane and select your seat. EarlyBird Check-In is super convenient, and you’ll almost always get your pick of an aisle or window seat.
You can earn free flights for your travel companion
If you fly on Southwest frequently and earn enough points to get the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll be able to bring someone with you for free for the remainder of the calendar year and the following year.
This unparalleled benefit is available to travelers who book 100 one-way flights on Southwest in a year or earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards Points in a year. Choose the right Southwest credit card, and you’ll rack up points even faster (more on that next).
You can use a Southwest travel rewards card to earn free flights
There are a number of Southwest travel rewards credit cards that can help you earn Rapid Rewards Points faster. And check out some of the perks you can get when you apply for any of these Southwest credit cards:
|Credit card||Sign-up bonus||Anniversary points||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card||Earn up to 100,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus 50,000 more bonus points after your spend $12,000 total in the first 12 months||3,000 points every year on your cardmember anniversary
||2X points for Southwest purchases, local transit, commuting, rideshare, and internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming; plus 1X points on all other purchases||$69|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card||Earn up to 100,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus 50,000 more bonus points after your spend $12,000 total in the first 12 months||6,000 points every year on your cardmember anniversary
||3X points for Southwest purchases; 2X on local transit, commuting, and rideshare, as well as internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming; and 1X points on all other purchases||$99|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card||Earn up to 100,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus 50,000 more bonus points after your spend $12,000 total in the first 12 months||7,500 points every year on your cardmember anniversary
||3X points for Southwest purchases; 2X on local transit, commuting, and rideshare, as well as internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming; and 1X points on all other purchases||$149|
You can get rewarded for business travel
If you travel frequently for work, Southwest also has two of the best travel credit cards for business that can help you earn some impressive travel rewards:
|Credit card||Sign-up bonus||Anniversary points||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
||Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months||6,000 points every year on your cardmember anniversary
||3X points on eligible Southwest Airlines purchases, 2X on rideshare purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, plus 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases||$99|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
||80,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months||9,000 points every year on your cardmember anniversary
||4X points on Southwest purchases; 3X on Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners; 2X on internet, cable, and phone services, as well as social media and search engine advertising; 2X on rideshare; and 1X on everything else||$199|
We love Southwest for all that and more
When you fly Southwest, you’ll also get goodies like free pretzels and additional snacks on longer flights, enjoy more comfortable seats compared to some other airlines, and have access to free entertainment options like movies and live TV. You can even get inflight Wi-Fi for just $8.
There’s a lot to love about flying Southwest, so join the cult of dedicated Southwest travelers and start enjoying a less-stressful travel experience.
Double points on Southwest Airlines flights
up to 3X points
- Earn up to 100,000 bonus points
- Earn 3X points on Southwest purchases
- 7,500 points every year on Cardmember anniversary
- $75 Southwest annual travel credit
- 4 upgraded boardings per year when available
- Has annual fee
- 3X points for Southwest purchases; 2X on local transit, commuting, and rideshare, as well as internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming; and 1X points on all other purchases