Middle Age Miles

Southwest Massive Fare Sale – Now Through Thurs, Oct 4


From now through Thursday (October 4), Southwest is having one of its biggest fare sales of the year.  Southwest advertises one-way fares as low as $49/$79/$99/$129 depending on the city pair.  Virtually the entire Southwest network is on sale.  The sale applies to non-stop flights.  Check now for possible low-cost bookings.  And also, check your existing reservations to see if they have gone down in price.

Relevant Links

The links to Southwest’s regular site and the specific page for this fare sale are here:

Link to Southwest regular site

Link to Southwest fare sale page

Details & Analysis

Southwest runs limited sales often, but this week’s sale is its twice-a-year network-wide sale.  If you’re a Southwest flyer, you’ll want to check rates now for any upcoming or potential travel plans.  You’ll also want to check all of your existing reservations – whether made with cash or with Rapid Rewards points – to see if you can cancel your original reservation and re-book at a lower rate.  Jump on this now before all the good prices and routes are gone!

Here are the most important details of this massive Southwest fare sale:

  • Must purchase tickets from October 2 through 11:59 pm (your local time) on Thursday, October 4.
  • For domestic flights, travel dates for this sale are: November 28 through December 19, 2018, and January 3 through February 13, 2019.
  • For travel to/from San Juan, Puerto Rico, travel dates for this sale are: November 28 through December 6, 2018, and January 4 through February 28, 2018.
  • For international flights, travel dates for this sale are November 28 through December 12, 2018, and January 8 through March 6, 2019.
  • There are several restrictions on the dates of travel for this fare sale:
    • Domestic travel is not valid on Fridays and Sundays.
    • Travel to Florida and Nevada is valid only on Sundays through Wednesdays.
    • Travel from Florida and Nevada is valid only on Tuesdays through Fridays.
    • Travel to/from San Juan is valid Mondays through Thursdays.
    • International travel is valid only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
    • All that said, Southwest notes that sale fares may be available on other days of the week.
  • Sale fares are valid only on non-stop service.
  • Sale fares are not available to/from Orange County, California (SNA).

In addition to booking new flights with this sale, remember to check your existing Southwest reservations to see if they have decreased in price.  If the price has dropped, you can either cancel and re-book at the new price, or select change your flight and then re-book to the same flights with the new lower price.

Under Southwest’s generous cancelation and change policies, if you cancel before your flight, you will receive Southwest credit for your previous fare, which you can then use to re-book.  Similarly, if you change and then re-book to the same flights, you will receive credit for the difference in price (whether in dollars or Rapid Rewards miles). Southwest does not impose any fees for canceling or changing future flights.  However, note that travel funds (such as the credit for canceling and re-booking at a lower fare) expire 12 months from the original ticket purchase date.

Importantly, there is a huge advantage to cancel-and-re-book as opposed to changing.  If you cancel and re-book, this will allow you to change your reservation again if needed.  However, if you change your flight, this locks in the reservation and it becomes non-refundable going forward.

When you book your Southwest flights, be sure to use a credit card that maximizes your points earning for airfare, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve (referral link), the Amex Personal Platinum, the Citi Prestige or Premier, or the US Bank Altitude Reserve.

Full details of the Southwest fare sale are shown here:

Sample Booking – Dallas Love to Burbank

To get an idea of what this fare sale would look like in practice, we went through the process of making a “dummy” booking from Dallas Love (DAL) to Burbank (BUR) over a weekend in January, from Thursday, January 24, through Sunday, January 27.  We came up with an all-in price of $233.97 for non-stop flights with reasonable flight times.  We thought that was a pretty good fare, especially considering that you won’t incur any checked bag fees on Southwest.

Here’s what we found:

First, here was a sampling of what Southwest advertised as its lowest fares between DAL and several cities.  BUR showed as low as $99 one-way:

Next, we looked at the calendar of lowest fares by date for January, for each leg of the trip.  On the outbound DFW-BUR flight, we saw lots of weekdays with $99 flights, and we also found fares that were not much higher on the Friday/Sunday non-sale dates:

Fares were very similar on the return flight from BUR back to DAL:

Once we chose Thursday, January 24 as our departure date, we could see that the non-stop flight departing DAL at 1:10 pm was priced at the sale fare of $99.  Some of the other connecting itineraries (only a few shown) were only a few dollars higher, but the non-stop is at a reasonable time, so we doubt connections for convenience would be necessary.

On the return, for some reason Southwest didn’t show the non-stop flight in the “lowest fare” section.  But the non-stop showed up lower in the search results at the same lowest fare of $135 (albeit with only 2 seats left at that price).  Again, with a 3:30 pm departure time, the non-stop will be convenient for most people.

Choosing the two non-stop flights, we came up with an all-in fare of $233.97 for this round-trip itinerary for a nice long weekend in southern California, into a convenient airport, in the dead of winter.  We’re saying that’s not bad at all!

Are you taking advantage of this massive Southwest fare sale?  Where are you going?  Please share with other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!

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