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Southwest Announces New Caribbean Routes – More Companion Pass Opportunities

by on January 27, 2014 · 15 comments

in Southwest Airlines

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Update: This offer is no longer available. View the current offer for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card here.

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

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.

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  • Ben Price

    Great news! Although….just tried to book JAX to AUA, no dice. When I tried to book ATL to AUA on the same day, it worked. There’s no way they’re limiting this to direct flights, right?

  • Joe

    Hope they bring some of these to Dallas Love.

  • Jon

    Now if they can do Canada, we’re golden.

  • Juno

    Oh yes.. this is the reason that’s going to make me get the Chase Southwest card. BWI is my home airport so this is awesome news!

  • Jason Arroyo

    TPG: Please review information located at http://www.southwest.com/html/air/intl/rewards-program/index.html

    It appears that the CP is useless for those wishing to travel with someone over the age of 18…

    “Designated companions under the age of 18 can accompany Companion Pass holders on international flights; however these passengers cannot be booked online. Please contact us at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) to book a companion under the age of 18 for international travel.”

  • Trav

    That isn’t how I read it. I read it as if you happen to want to use the companion pass for someone under 18 on an international flight then you must call to do so. You do not need to call if the companion is over 18.

  • pirrc

    Read it again. It says Companion passengers under 18 must call to book a ticket and cannot be booked online. Nothing about over 18 passengers. Those may be booked online or over the phone. I would suggest you read more carefully before posting in the future.

  • Steve

    I believe these are the Caribbean routes AirTran flew, so SW looks to be simply taking these over – could be same planes, different paint, and just a matter of booking availability on the website, but great news for the Companion Pass nevertheless!

  • Steve

    I had the same issue. It looks like connecting flights cannot be booked. Hopefully, this is just a temporary issue while they load pricing, routes, etc.

  • Terry

    We will have to connect. The Wright repeal compromise does not allow international travel from Love.

  • Rick

    Is there a technique to obtain an additional 10K points (after applying for and receiving 50k each for SW credit card = 100k points) to qualify for the companion pass? I know you can’t use a transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards points to qualify for the companion pass. Is there a transfer that can be made that will qualify for the CP (instead of 10k in credit card spend)?

  • Cheapwon

    Unable to book MBJ from STL. MCO to MBJ works fine for July. Does anyone know why or if this will eventually be fixed?

  • Marc

    i’d fly to FLL or PHX… any place warmer than the 0 degrees here in chicago!

  • FLLtoSJC

    I would use these extremely-valuable-points towards My Wife’s flights to SFO for attending her university classes. (we were in the middle of her masters’ program when My job situation forced us to transfer out of state. After weighing in the pros & cons of transferring her credits to a new university vs continuing at the same univ by switching to weekend classes, we choose the later option). She flies FLL/MIA-SFO/SJC twice every month. Southwest provides the best route + timing for the onward flight and Amercian provides us the best timings for return journeys

  • ivy

    I’d buy my nephew a ticket from FLL to Denver so he can see snow for the first time.

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