Skip to content

Good news, Southwest flyers: BWI to get major upgrade

Oct. 15, 2022
3 min read
bwi
Good news, Southwest flyers: BWI to get major upgrade
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Big changes are coming at one of Southwest Airlines’ biggest hubs. Maryland state officials announced major upgrades this week planned for Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). The changes should make for an improved experience for passengers waiting for a flight, not to mention while moving between the airport’s concourses and when waiting for their luggage.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed off Wednesday on a $332.5 million package of projects for BWI, which will be the most significant upgrade to the terminal in the airport’s history, officials said.

The projects include a major upgrade to Southwest’s hub operations, including a new baggage system that should mean a more efficient baggage check and claim experience for passengers. That is fairly significant when you consider Southwest’s lenient checked bag policy, and the fact that the airline represents around 70% of BWI’s traffic.

Related: Practical Pointers: Take this photo next time you check a bag

A Southwest Airlines plane at the gate at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Many passengers will also notice the improvements that will be made airside at the terminal. The work includes a direct connection between concourses A and B, which should make it a lot easier for Southwest passengers to travel from one gate to another. Keep in mind, as a major hub for the carrier, BWI is a key airport not just for departures and arrivals among passengers traveling in and out of the greater D.C./Baltimore area, but for connections as well.

The contract also calls for improvements to gate areas on the concourses, as well as improved concessions and shopping areas. So, whether you're moving between gates, grabbing something to eat or sitting and waiting for your flight, it should be a more pleasant experience.

Simply put, this will mean a major transformation on the airport concourses, and will “improve the passenger experience for decades to come,” Hogan said in a statement.

Related: BWI makes TPG's list of 10 airports with great public transportation options

BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL THURGOOD MARSHALL AIRPORT

Renderings shared with TPG by BWI officials show the improved gate areas and concessions area passengers will enjoy once the work is complete.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL THURGOOD MARSHALL AIRPORT

The work comes as Southwest is planning to bolster its footprint at its biggest mid-Atlantic hub. The airport is collaborating with the airline on a new, 27-acre $135 million maintenance facility that will be able to accommodate up to three of the airline’s signature Boeing 737 aircraft.

Having a major maintenance facility on-site is key at an airline hub, simplifying operations in the event that a plane encounters mechanical problems.

Passengers should see these projects completed between late 2025 and the summer of 2026.

BWI was the nation’s 22nd busiest airport in terms of passenger enplanements in 2021, and the busiest in the greater D.C. metropolitan area, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The airport saw about 2.5 million enplanements more than Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and about two million more than Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Want to make sure you’re maximizing every purchase like a points expert? Download the free TPG App to start spending like a pro.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023