This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Offer expired March 9, 2014.

Southwest is a great airline, but one of its drawbacks has been its route map, which is limited to domestic North American destinations. Thanks to  its merger with AirTran, Southwest added some destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, but they are still somewhat limited, and some AirTran flights were not available for Southwest Companion Pass holders to take advantage of their benefits. But in a bit of good news this morning, Southwest announced this morning that it would begin flying to its first international destinations.

NewInternational_July1

Beginning July 1, 2014, the airline will start offering flights to Aruba, the Bahamas and Jamaica. The new routes will be:

  • Atlanta to Aruba and Montego Bay
  • Baltimore/Washington to Aruba, Nassau, and (twice daily) Montego Bay
  • Orlando to Aruba (Saturday only), and Montego Bay

And it looks like these flights are already bookable – say, if you wanted to go from Baltimore/Washington to Aruba over the long July 4 weekend:

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 10.36.36 AM

Or Atlanta to Montego Bay:

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 10.38.19 AMThough it’s just 3 new international destinations for now (they’ll add Cancun, Los Cabos, Mexico City and Punta Cana by the end of 2014), it’s still great news for Companion Pass holders since it means not having to rely on codeshares with AirTran or finding non-overnight connections in order to use the pass on the still-merging airline’s not-quite-integrated route map. Remember, the Southwest credit cards are currently offering sign-up bonuses of 50,000 points when you spend $2,000 in 3 months, and those 50,000 points count towards qualifying for the Companion Pass.

For its part, AirTran will continue service between Atlanta and Nassau, between Chicago Midway and Montego Bay, as well as flights to/from Cancun, Los Cabos, and Mexico City, Mexico, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. By the end of 2014, the carrier plans to complete the launch of Southwest Airlines service to the remaining four international destinations on the company’s network route map of 96 destinations in six countries. Both carriers’ full flight schedules are now open for booking through August 8, 2014.

And remember, if you want to use your Rapid Rewards points on Wanna Get Away fares on any of these new routes, book it before the March 31 devaluation, otherwise you’ll be 70 points per $1 instead of 60 points per $1. If you need to top up your account, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points into it instantly at a 1:1 ratio if you have the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus or Ink Bold.

Do any of you plan to fly the new routes?

For more on Southwest, AirTran and the Companion Pass, check out these posts:

Maximize Monday: Taking Advantage of New Southwest AirTran Codeshares With Ultimate Rewards and the Companion Pass

Why Can’t I Use My Southwest Companion Pass On An Airtran Flight?

Southwest Devalues Rapid Rewards Points on Wanna Get Away Redemptions

Top 10 Reasons to Love Southwest Rapid Rewards

Maximizing the Southwest Companion Pass FAQ’s and Strategies

Top 10 Ways to Top Up Your Southwest Account for the Companion Pass

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are 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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.