Why I choose Southwest every time

I think it’s safe to say that I am TPG’s resident Southwest Airlines fangirl. I grew up flying Southwest exclusively, so I spent my early travel years assuming that free checked bags, a high-stakes check-in process, and choosing a seat away from the screaming baby were all part of the universal flying experience.

Color me shocked when I eventually learned these experiences were unique to flying Southwest — and many people avoided the airline in favor of elite status, potential seat upgrades, and airport lounge access with their preferred airline of choice.

Some of my fellow TPGers felt confident I would abandon my Southwest loyalty once I experienced my first business-class upgrade on another airline. But to their bewilderment, flying other airlines has only solidified my love for Southwest. As it turns out, I value the ability to move seats more than the option to select more “elevated” snacks like chocolate quinoa (whatever that is).

It’s not just nostalgia that keeps me coming back to Southwest Airlines. In a time when so many are abandoning or switching their airline loyalty, here are the reasons you’ll still find me flying Southwest — and why you may want to join me.

Great values

Southwest is often viewed as a budget airline, and for good reason. There are several ways that flying Southwest can save you money when you travel.


Generally, I find Southwest’s prices are pretty good. I use its low-fare calendar to see costs in cash or points and choose travel dates with the best available deals when I can.

But where it really comes through with low prices is during its regular sales. Every few weeks, I get an email alerting me that Southwest is offering low fares — sometimes as low as $39 to $59 one-way.

These sales are a great time to book new travel and check the price of any existing bookings. Southwest makes it easy to rebook the same flight to take advantage of a lower price, a perk that often saves me thousands of points when rebooking flights.

Companion Pass

Probably the most valuable offering from Southwest Airlines is its Companion Pass, which allows you to bring a companion with you for free (plus taxes and fees) on unlimited flights for at least a full calendar year.

Since I usually travel solo, this particular perk hasn’t saved me much money. However, I’ve watched my parents easily save thousands of dollars in travel with their Companion Passes over the years.

And Southwest cobranded credit cards make earning a Companion Pass attainable for many people. That’s a massive perk — especially considering that most other airlines tout a single companion ticket as a valuable perk on their cobranded cards.

Free checked bags

Many of us are proudly carry-on-only travelers, but we all have times when we really need or want to check a bag.

The cost of checking bags varies among airlines, but you’re generally charged at least $30 for a first bag and $40 for a second one if you don’t have a credit card or status with the airline that allows you to skip these fees.

Meanwhile, Southwest allows each passenger to check their first two bags for no additional cost. This means that a family of four could check up to eight bags before incurring any fees — saving them hundreds of dollars on top of any money they saved by booking their trip during a Southwest sale.

No change or cancellation fees

Often, budget airlines advertise good flight deals only to tack on extra fees later, but you won’t find this to be the case with Southwest Airlines.

One of the best things about Southwest is that it doesn’t charge extra fees when you need to make a change after booking your trip. If you cancel your flight, you’ll receive a points refund or flight credit right back into your Rapid Rewards account.

If you need to change, you can rebook for no additional cost other than the fare difference or take advantage of free same-day standby.


For those of us who find travel planning overwhelming, Southwest’s booking simplicity is a huge perk. There are no partner airlines to navigate, no difference in seat types or the amount of baggage allowed with different fare types.

Simple earning and redeeming

Beyond the traditional method of earning points through flying Southwest, it’s easy to rack up Rapid Rewards points through credit card spending. You can use a cobranded Southwest credit card to earn Rapid Rewards points directly, or you can use a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points and then transfer those points to your Rapid Rewards account.

Southwest doesn’t partner with other airlines or belong to an airline alliance, so the Rapid Rewards program is especially good for beginners and those who suffer from points analysis paralysis.

Simply earn your points and then use them to book your flight. Southwest determines a ticket’s point value by its cash value at a rate of around 1.5 cents per point, so you can feel great knowing you’ve gotten a good value without spending hours learning how to finagle the best redemption.

More nonstop options

Southwest uses more of a point-to-point route network than a traditional hub-and-spoke model; this allows the airline to offer more nonstop and more efficient route options than many airlines. Since I don’t live near a true hub for any airline, I especially appreciate that I don’t have to waste time flying past my home airport to get to a hub before I can get home.


Southwest perks are pretty evenly doled out to passengers. Everyone gets the same first-come, first-served seating choice, as well as the same free checked bags and the same inflight snack options. Aside from a few differences in fare type, there aren’t many decisions to make when booking a ticket with Southwest.

If you want to skip to the front of the boarding line and increase your chances of getting a good seat, you can pay for the privilege. For example, passengers can purchase upgraded boarding to snag one of the first 15 boarding positions. You can also purchase EarlyBird Check-In, but those are options available to everyone and not part of some complicated hierarchy of passengers.

Additionally, Southwest has four different fare types: Business Select, Anytime, Wanna Get Away Plus, and Wanna Get Away. Business Select is the most expensive option and includes perks like an automatic A1-A15 boarding position and free inflight Wi-Fi. Still, these options are available (and usually relatively affordable) to everyone — no million-mile status required.

Credit card lineup

Southwest offers multiple ways to earn Rapid Rewards points through credit card spending. The Southwest cobranded credit card lineup includes three personal and two business cards, and you can also choose to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Rapid Rewards account.

As a points and miles enthusiast and Southwest devotee, I’ve had several Southwest credit cards over the years.

I started with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the lowest-tier personal card with just a $69 annual fee. It comes with limited perks, but it was perfect when I was learning to navigate credit card rewards.

Recently, I got the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and am currently working to earn my welcome bonus. I love that it has a reasonable $99 annual fee and comes with 6,000 bonus anniversary points as well as two free EarlyBird Check-Ins each year.

When I’m paying for everyday expenses, I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to earn Ultimate Rewards points, which I can transfer to my Rapid Rewards account. This strategy allows me to maximize my earning potential and use my points for Southwest flights or other travel options.

In conclusion, Southwest Airlines offers great value, simplicity, and perks that make it a top choice for many travelers. Whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler or a points and miles enthusiast, Southwest’s low fares, Companion Pass, free checked bags, and no change or cancellation fees make it a compelling option. Plus, the airline’s route network, equality in perks, and credit card lineup provide additional benefits that set it apart from other airlines. So, if you’re looking for a reliable and cost-effective way to travel, consider joining me as a Southwest Airlines fangirl.

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