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Act fast: Book last-minute Southwest award tickets with a 20% discount

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 9/15/2020 Andrew Kunesh
a large air plane flying in the sky © Provided by The Points Guy
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This morning, Southwest launched an award sale that’s offering a 20% discount on all award bookings made through Sept. 17. This sale is valid on all Southwest flights that are set to depart on or before Oct. 31. This makes it an excellent deal for those booking a last-minute fall trip that’s set to depart in the next six weeks.

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How to book Southwest flights with a 20% discount

To take advantage of this sale, enter the promo code “SAVE20NOW” in the “promo code” box that’s located at the bottom of the search box. Make sure to select the points button at the upper right-hand corner of the box to search for award flights. Once your search is ready to go, click the search button to view your flight options.

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image courtesy of Southwest) © The Points Guy (Image courtesy of Southwest)

All flight options will reflect the discounted sale price. The sale applies to all classes of travel, but we recommend sticking with the Wanna Get Away fare to get the best deal. Then select the flight you’d like to book and follow the on-screen prompts to book your flight as normal.

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image courtesy of Southwest) © The Points Guy (Image courtesy of Southwest)

Related: Southwest vs Allegiant: What it’s like to fly a low-cost airline during a pandemic

This sale is a great deal for fall travel

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

As discussed, this sale is an excellent deal for booking fall travel — if you have made the choice you want or need to again take to the sky. I

t effectively gives Southwest Rapid Rewards points a valuation of up to 1.8 cents per point during the sale, up 20% from TPG’s most recent valuation. Remember, though, Southwest award tickets are priced based on the cash cost of the ticket, so more expensive flights will cost more points.

Related: What it’s like to fly in the U.S. 

This deal is even more valuable if you have a Companion Pass. With this pass, you can bring a companion with you on all flights, so this discount effectively gives you a larger relative discount as you’ll save points on two tickets.

Not sure yet if you’ll want to travel this fall?

No worries — Southwest has an industry-leading change and cancellation policy. You can book a ticket now and cancel for free if plans change. If this happens, you’ll receive your points back in-full and be refunded all applicable taxes and fees.

If you’re already booked on a flight that’s covered by the sale, check to see if the award price has gone down. If it did, cancel and rebook your ticket to get the points difference credited to your Southwest account. Just make sure to use the promo code when rebooking.

Related: Battle of the Airlines: Why I think Southwest Airlines is the best

Earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points

There are plenty of ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points. The easiest way if you need points in a hurry is to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards. These points transfer to Southwest immediately at a 1:1 ratio. I generally recommend against transferring to Southwest if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® card and can book travel at 1.5 cents per point, but this sale gives more value than booking at 1.5 cents per point by calling the Chase Travel Portal.

You can also earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points using a cobranded Southwest credit card. Southwest offers a suite of personal and business credit cards with Chase, and each has different benefits, welcome bonuses, and — in some cases — an annual points bonus.

Related: The best Southwest Airlines credit cards for family travelers

Bottom line

All in all, this sale is an excellent way to redeem your Southwest Rapid Rewards points at a discount if you have fall travel on the horizon. The airline has an ultra-flexible cancellation policy, so you’re able to cancel if your plans don’t pan out. Likewise, check if you’re eligible for a points refund if you’re already booked on a flight set to depart before Oct. 31 if the award cost has now gone down and you rebook.

Feature courtesy of Denver International Airport

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


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