Southwest Airlines Holiday Schedule Opens Tomorrow – Should You Book Or Wait?

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Southwest Airlines is currently accepting reservations through November 4, 2016 but tomorrow – Thursday May 19 – Southwest Airlines will be opening their schedule for bookings thru January 4, 2017.

The schedule is often loaded early in the morning – prior to 6am central daylight time. Southwest.com has been known to have glitches when the holiday schedule opens.Southwest AirlinesOne of the biggest questions seems to be whether you should book holiday travel as soon as it opens, or should you take a chance to wait and see if fares will go down.

  • Are you booking with points?  If so, go ahead and book. If the points redemption fare goes down, you can rebook at the lower points redemption and your points will be refunded.
  • Are your plans flexible?  If not, I would go ahead and book – especially if it involves Friday or Sunday travel.  Historically, the bigger sales on Southwest are for Tuesday, Wednesday, and sometimes Saturday, so it is likely that fares will drop after the initial release on Thursday.
  • Do you fly Southwest at other times of the year?  If so, if you see the airfare drop you can rebook the lower fare, and use the credit within the next year.  But beware: the credit is issued for the passenger who booked the fare and is only good for that passenger.

Bottom Line:
I have some Thanksgiving travel to book for my family, and I am going to set my alarm a little bit early Thursday morning to check out some of the starting price points. My bookings usually involve a mix of Rapid Rewards points and some cash on a points earning credit card, and I am confident about booking points, and then checking back for lower points redemptions.

Does anyone else have any strategies to share when booking holiday travel on Southwest?

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