Southwest Airlines Reveals Details Of New Fare Type “Wanna Get Away Plus”

Southwest Airlines doesn’t offer Basic Economy. All of their fares all cancellation while retaining full credit towards a new ticket, and they do not charge for two checked bags. They promised not to take anything away from the lowest fares even as they rolled out a new, more expensive fare type. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Currently Southwest offers (3) fare types,

  • Wanna Get Away cheapest, non-refundable
  • Anytime refundable
  • Business Select refundable, with earliest boarding positions and a free drink on board

In addition, Southwest is going to introduce a new fare type between Wanna Get Away and Anytime called “Wanna Get Away Plus.” Here’s what it adds:

  • Flight credits will be transferable to book a ticket for someone else when cancelling an itinerary
  • Comes with same day confirmed changes (or standby on full flights) without paying a difference in fare (similar to the current elite benefit)
  • 1/3 points bonus (earn 8 points per dollar instead of 6 with the cheapest tickets)

Obviously whether it’s worth ‘buying up’ to Wanna Get Away Plus fares at time of booking will depend on how much the incremental cost is on a given itinerary, however assuming it is more then de minimis I don’t see myself doing it. Southwest, though, sees it as a play that will materially improve its revenue.

And since they want to keep people moving up the fare ladder – giving them reason to buy up to Wanna Get Away Plus, and then once they’ve made that choice consider spending even more for a refundable Anytime fare that fare type will get priority check-in, transferable credits (but who cares, these tickets are refundable) and EarlyBird boarding included. In fact customers buying Anytime fares will be ahead of those merely purchasing EarlyBird boarding.

What is interesting here is that once it’s available customers who buy the cheapest Wanna Get Away fares will be able to pay to upgrade to Wanna Get Away Plus which may make sense to do:

  1. prior to cancelling a ticket in order to make that ticket’s value transferable
  2. when you want to change to a different flight on the same day and the difference in fare between what you paid and the new flights current sale price is greater than the difference in the buy up to Wanna Get Away Plus

These new fare attributes are expected to become available towards the end of the second quarter (i.e. June).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Cue the whining by A-list members who are aced out of their free standby by WGA+ confirmed changers.

    As load factors climb this will make the extra edge of A-list Preferred over A-list more valuable.

  2. The only way they could get me to pay more is to sell seat assignments
    No other chance in ####

  3. TBD on the price differences, but if anything I see more people downgrading from Anytime than upgrading from WGA. Good for the customer though!

  4. I love it if the price is right. Same day change with no fee is huge. I used to book multiple SWA flights on the same day and would cancel the ones I didn’t want that day, but now the computer doesn’t allow that; prohibited as a double-booking. But this solves that, depending on the price of course.

  5. I don’t really see any value with this. If SW really wants to gain more revenue from business travelers, they need to do better with their frequent flyer program. As a business traveler, for the same route and same price, if I had to choose between SW or UA, my choice is UA. The miles/dollar spent on SW doesn’t amount to much whereas I can go overseas or upgrade to business class..etc on UA.

  6. Southwest is an odd bird, at least from my origin (NYC) and to most of my destinations. When I look at flights, Wanna Get Away is usually not available, and the other options are more expensive than Delta, United, American, JetBlue, whatever, and with fewer benefits. No real reason to book them ever.

  7. I could see the value in transferring the credits for some. I have some expiring credits and at the same time booking flights for family. Its my fault though, but sometimes things dont goto plan

  8. I love Southwest’s baggage and change/cancel policy. Glad that’s not changing for the lowest fare.

  9. Currently companion pass is the only thing keeping me with Southwest. A-list puts me, typically, after A30, but i don’t have to check in right at 24 hours. Prices are in par with other carriers. Free bag on other carriers comes via credit card. No seat assignment and typical relegation to bad or distant gates at major airports makes them less appealing. Curse you companion pass for keeping me coming back

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