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Southwest Airlines adds Sarasota, makes it 10 new cities in coronavirus expansion

Nov. 12, 2020
3 min read
Southwest Airlines adds Sarasota, makes it 10 new cities in coronavirus expansion
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Southwest Airlines has added Sarasota, Florida, to its coronavirus pandemic expansion. The move comes even as the carrier sees the recovery in air travel slow during the final months of 2020.

The Dallas-based discounter will begin flights to Sarasota/Bradenton (SRQ) in the first quarter of 2021, Southwest revealed in an investor update on Thursday. The Florida city joins Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Colorado Springs (COS), Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH), Jackson, Mississippi (JAN), and Savannah, Georgia (SAV), as additions that will join the airline's map in the first half of the new year.

Southwest did not say what cities it will serve from the city on Florida's Gulf Coast. However, precedent suggests it will connect Sarasota to one of its "hubs," such as Baltimore/Washington (BWI), Chicago Midway (MDW) and Houston Hobby (HOU).

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The airline is on a growth tear in what CEO Gary Kelly has described as an opportunity to "gain share" in the U.S. market. While every carrier has slashed schedules due to COVID, Southwest is the only one to both cut flying and add numerous new cities to its map. Others, including Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines, have added one or two destinations whereas Southwest has added 10 to date.

Southwest begins flights to Miami (MIA) and Palm Springs (PSP) this Sunday, Nov. 15. Seasonal winter flights to Montrose (MTJ) and Steamboat Springs (HDN) in Colorado begins Dec. 19.

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The additions come even as U.S. air travel remains far below 2019 levels. Domestic passenger numbers were down 64% compared to last year during the week ending Nov. 10 — a four point increase compared to the prior week -- according to the latest data from trade group Airlines for America (A4A).

However, U.S. airlines continue to fly roughly 54% of what they flew a year ago during the same week. This translates into attractive discounts for willing flyers.

Related: Does Southwest Airlines have hubs? Yes, but don’t call them that.

“There are more seats chasing customers," Dave Harvey, vice president of Southwest's corporate travel division Southwest Business, told TPG during a tour of its safety procedures at Baltimore/Washington airport on Wednesday (Nov. 11).

In its investor update Thursday, Southwest noted that it sees a "deceleration in improving revenue trends" in November and December. However, it maintained its forecasts for the period.

Southwest will end artificial caps on the number of seats it sells on its flights on Dec. 1. Executives say that the combination of air filtration, enhanced cleaning procedures and mandating masks minimize the chance of COVID infection onboard an aircraft.

Related: Colorado braces to wave of new winter flights as Americans flock to ‘snow and sun’ destinations

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images

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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
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  • 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 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the 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