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Act fast: Book last-minute Southwest award tickets with a 20% discount

Sept. 15, 2020
5 min read
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This morning, Southwest launched an award sale that's offering a 20% discount on all award bookings made through Sept. 17. This sale is valid on all Southwest flights that are set to depart on or before Oct. 31. This makes it an excellent deal for those booking a last-minute fall trip that's set to depart in the next six weeks.

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How to book Southwest flights with a 20% discount

To take advantage of this sale, enter the promo code "SAVE20NOW" in the "promo code" box that's located at the bottom of the search box. Make sure to select the points button at the upper right-hand corner of the box to search for award flights. Once your search is ready to go, click the search button to view your flight options.

Searching for Southwest Award Flights with a Promo Code
(Image courtesy of Southwest)

All flight options will reflect the discounted sale price. The sale applies to all classes of travel, but we recommend sticking with the Wanna Get Away fare to get the best deal. Then select the flight you'd like to book and follow the on-screen prompts to book your flight as normal.

Southwest Flight Options with Discount Applied
(Image courtesy of Southwest)

Related: Southwest vs Allegiant: What it’s like to fly a low-cost airline during a pandemic

This sale is a great deal for fall travel

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

As discussed, this sale is an excellent deal for booking fall travel -- if you have made the choice you want or need to again take to the sky. I

t effectively gives Southwest Rapid Rewards points a valuation of up to 1.8 cents per point during the sale, up 20% from TPG's most recent valuation. Remember, though, Southwest award tickets are priced based on the cash cost of the ticket, so more expensive flights will cost more points.

Related: What it's like to fly in the U.S.

This deal is even more valuable if you have a Companion Pass. With this pass, you can bring a companion with you on all flights, so this discount effectively gives you a larger relative discount as you'll save points on two tickets.

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Not sure yet if you'll want to travel this fall?

No worries — Southwest has an industry-leading change and cancellation policy. You can book a ticket now and cancel for free if plans change. If this happens, you'll receive your points back in-full and be refunded all applicable taxes and fees.

If you're already booked on a flight that's covered by the sale, check to see if the award price has gone down. If it did, cancel and rebook your ticket to get the points difference credited to your Southwest account. Just make sure to use the promo code when rebooking.

Related: Battle of the Airlines: Why I think Southwest Airlines is the best

Earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points

There are plenty of ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points. The easiest way if you need points in a hurry is to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards. These points transfer to Southwest immediately at a 1:1 ratio. I generally recommend against transferring to Southwest if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® and can book travel at 1.5 cents per point, but this sale gives more value than booking at 1.5 cents per point by calling the Chase Travel Portal.

You can also earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points using a cobranded Southwest credit card. Southwest offers a suite of personal and business credit cards with Chase, and each has different benefits, welcome bonuses, and — in some cases — an annual points bonus.

Related: The best Southwest Airlines credit cards for family travelers

Bottom line

All in all, this sale is an excellent way to redeem your Southwest Rapid Rewards points at a discount if you have fall travel on the horizon. The airline has an ultra-flexible cancellation policy, so you're able to cancel if your plans don't pan out. Likewise, check if you're eligible for a points refund if you're already booked on a flight set to depart before Oct. 31 if the award cost has now gone down and you rebook.

Feature courtesy of Denver International Airport

Featured image by Peter Scott Barta

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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.
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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 1,300+ 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
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