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If you’re a frequent business traveler, you surely know the pain of having a meeting end early and needing to wait hours until your departing flight takes off. Or, maybe you’ve checked out of your hotel, but some rain is cutting short a day of sightseeing. If you’re flying on Southwest, your only option to get on an earlier flight is to re-book onto another flight.

While Southwest doesn’t charge change fees, you’d still have to pay the difference in fare — no matter your Southwest status — to take an earlier flight. Well, that’s changing today. Effective September 13, A-List and A-List Preferred Rapid Rewards members will now be able to standby on an earlier flight for free.

However, there are some significant caveats: The flight must be “within two hours of your original scheduled departure, between the same city pairs, and on the original date of travel.” This means that the new policy isn’t going to be helpful on many routes — as only high-frequency routes are likely to have another flight within two hours. But, this is good news for travelers who typically fly within Southwest hot spots.

You
You’ll have to speak with a Southwest agent to utilize this new benefit — and you’ll have to leave behind any friends or family members traveling with you.

Another restriction is that non-elites included in the same reservation won’t be able to utilize the same free same-day standby benefit. So, if you’re flying with non-elite friends or family, you’re going to have to split up in order to travel on an earlier flight.

If you want to utilize this new benefit, you’re going to have to see a Southwest agent at the airport. There’s no way of getting on the standby list online or at a Southwest kiosk.

Bottom Line

We applaud Southwest for making this positive change to the A-List and A-List Preferred benefits. However, this isn’t a change to get overly excited about — due to the flight time restrictions and lack of applicability to travel companions. In practice, this benefit will only be useful for business or solo travelers traveling on popular routes.

H/T: Points, Miles & Martinis

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

With the Southwest Plus credit card you'll earn 3,000 points each year after your cardmember anniversary. Southwest also offers one of the most lucrative airline perks - the Companion Pass. Once you earn 110,000 points in a calendar year, you can add a companion to your flight for the cost of the taxes and fees for the remainder of the first year plus, the entire following calendar year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn unlimited points that don't expire as long as your card account is open
  • All points earned with either card count towards Companion Pass
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events and more
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$69
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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