Southwest’s new fare type is here. What to know about ‘Wanna Get Away Plus’
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.
Editors note: Wanna Get Away Plus fares are on sale as of today, May 17. This story has been updated with new information and was originally published March 24, 2022.
In the immortal words of Lenny Kravitz: I want to get away.
At Southwest Airlines, passengers can now get away with a few extra perks.
The carrier announced a new fare class on March 24, dubbed “Wanna Get Away Plus,” offering a fourth option in its fare system just above the discounted — and relatively restrictive — “Wanna Get Away” fare.
The new fare — now on sale — introduces three benefits above Wanna Get Away, which is essentially Southwest’s version of basic economy.
Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!
While tickets still won’t be fully refundable — you’ll have to buy Anytime or Business Select for that — tickets can be canceled in exchange for a flight credit, just like with Wanna Get Away. Unlike those base-level fares, though, the credit can be transferred to someone else. That means that if one person has an unused flight credit, they can use that to book a ticket for a spouse, child, or anyone else with a Rapid Rewards account. That’s a big plus for personal and leisure travelers.
The flight credit remains valid for 12 months from the date of booking.
Additionally, the fares will allow passengers to make confirmed same-day flight changes, or — if a flight is full — stand by for different flights the same day. With the more restrictive basic fare, same-day changes involve paying a fare difference.
The confirmed same-day changes are expected to appeal in particular to business travelers, a segment that Southwest is aggressively trying to court.
Wanna Get Away Plus fares will earn 8 Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent, compared with 6 points per dollar with Wanna Get Away fares. There will not be any changes to what’s included with Wanna Get Away tickets.
The two highest fare levels — “Anytime” and “Business Select” — will both remain, and Anytime will see the addition of the use of Priority and Express lanes, along with EarlyBird boarding.
Anytime tickets earn 10 points per dollar, while Business Select earns 12 points per dollar.
The new fare will be available toward the end of the second quarter, Southwest’s vice president of marketing, loyalty and products, Jonathan Clarkson, said during a media briefing on Wednesday.
Southwest has repeatedly teased the new fare to investors during earnings calls and presentations over the past several months, framing it as a way to upsell some customers who would otherwise purchase Wanna Get Away fares, attracting them with the option of greater flexibility without taking anything away from the basic fare.
“We’re not taking anything away [from Wanna Get Away],” Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Watterson reiterated during Wednesday’s briefing.
“The airline industry, in our perspective, is a repeat purchase business,” Waterson added. “A positive experience with a quality product brings customers back.”
During the briefing, airline executives declined to share pricing details, citing financial regulatory restrictions, although they did suggest that the upper-level fares would not increase, meaning that the new fare would fall somewhere in between current price levels for Wanna Get Away and Anytime.
The executives did, however, point to guidance issued to investors in December, when they first teased the new fare product. They said that the airline was targeting a $1.5 billion revenue boost in 2023 driven by a set of initiatives, including the new fare class as well as improved distribution to business travelers, a renewed co-branded credit card deal with Chase and enhanced revenue management practices.
Southwest said that the ability to transfer fare credits was likely to appeal strongly to budget-conscious leisure travelers, while the same-day confirmed changes and standby option presents an attractive opportunity for business travelers who may not have the option to spend company money on Anytime or Business Select fares.
Southwest significantly expanded its network during the pandemic, adding 18 new markets in 2021, as it worked to capture returning leisure demand even as business travel remained sluggish.
As it moves forward, the airline is focusing on restoring frequencies and redundancies back into its network, part of an effort to improve reliability and provide more schedule options — crucial as it tries to attract the business travel segment.
“For next year and the year after, the No. 1 objective is to restore the network we had pre-pandemic,” Watterson told TPG in an interview late last year. “Especially in our business-type routes, because those are the ones that have less frequency than they do before.”
Featured photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees