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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.

It feels like Southwest Airlines has a fare sale every week. Well, they probably do have a ‘sale’ of some sort every week, but not all Southwest sales are created equally. A few times a year (like this week), Southwest has a big fare sale where routes across the country are discounted to as low as $49 each way.

Once upon a time during this type of Southwest sale, the routes were strictly priced by distance flown, but those rules aren’t as set in stone today as they used to be. However, you will still see traces of that form of distance pricing. For example, from $49 during this sale, you can fly from Houston Hobby to Austin, Dallas, Memphis, Tulsa and New Orleans — all under 500 miles one-way.

(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Thursday (Oct. 4) is the final day of this three-day Southwest sale that is valid for travel on select dates domestically from 11/28/18 – 12/19/18 and 1/3/19 – 2/13/19 and internationally from 11/28/18 – 12/12/18 and 1/8/19 – 3/6/19. This means that today is your last chance to lock in new Southwest flights at these discounted prices or reprice your existing Southwest award or paid bookings to the new lower prices.

Major Airlines Matching Southwest $49 Fares

However, the sale is really bigger than just for Southwest, as the other major US carriers have matched Southwest on many discounted rotes, and I fully expect their prices to also jump back up after today. If you want to piece together an inexpensive winter family getaway, this is a good opportunity.

While not every single route has been matched by every single airline, we’ll give you a taste of some discounted Southwest routes that were matched by Delta, United, American and Alaska. For the most part, you will find these cheapest fares on Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday, though use a flexible date calendar as the cheapest dates to fly vary a bit by route.

Airlines: Southwest with others matching (United, American, Delta, Alaska)
Routes: Domestic and international routes
Cost: $49+ one-way
Travel Dates: November 2018 – February 2019 
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi ThankYou Premier CardChase Sapphire ReserveAmerican Express® Gold CardCiti Prestige (3x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)
Booking Link: Southwest.com for Southwest flights, Google Flights to look for matched fares

Fly from $49

  • Houston – New Orleans (United)
  • Houston – Tulsa (United)
  • Los Angeles – Albuquerque (United or American)
  • Los Angeles – Las Vegas (American, Alaska, Delta and United)
  • Chicago – Buffalo (United)
  • Atlanta – Cleveland (Delta and United)

Fly from $79

  • New York LaGuardia (LGA) – Dallas Love (DAL) (American Airlines)
  • Atlanta (ATL) – Denver (DEN) (United)

Fly from $99

  • Austin (AUS) – San Diego (SAN) (Alaska)

Note that in some cases, other airlines are offering better prices than Southwest. For example, Southwest has Los Angeles (LAX) – Las Vegas (LAS) in its $49 sale band, but Delta has that route available on many dates for $41, so do comparison shopping. Comparing prices with other airlines is also a good route to take if you are one of those who can’t find what you want with Southwest.

However, when comparison shopping, keep in mind that Southwest has open seating, an included full-sized carry-on and up to two included checked bags, whereas the other airlines that are matching the prices are largely matching on their own versions of Basic Economy fares. Also remember that with Southwest, two people can actually fly from $49 (plus taxes and fees) if you have the valuable Southwest Companion Pass.

Featured image by Garry Lopater via Unsplash.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

With the Southwest Premier credit card you'll earn 6,000 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 you earn the pass and the entire following 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.
  • 6,000 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
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions, Bags fly free® and no change fees
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events and more
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$99
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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