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Strategizing for 2017 SW Companion Pass using Marriot Travel Packages

Discussion in 'Southwest Airlines' started by heavenlyjane, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. Cmonman76

    Cmonman76 Level 2 Member

    Yeah, Southwest doesn't do Hawaii but we mainly use SW for quick trips to Florida and wouldn't have used those miles as part of the Marriott stay. I have 4 nights in San Juan in april, I could cancel the Hyatt Place stay and switch to the Courtyard there just to use it and save some Hyatt points. Planning Europe over thanksgiving but probably 3 nights each in London and Paris and we may have to AirBnB with a family of 5. Decisions decisions.
     
  2. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    I see, Hawaii would be just to use the hotel cert. That would work.
     
  3. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    I wanted to make some observations about SW and figure this thread may not get much more attention, I'll put them here as this is where I personally started looking at SW seriously (have yet to fly SW, but have a firm trip to DEN in early August).

    I had made my first booking on SW for last weekend (Memorial Day holiday). I made it a month before and had forgotten about my new step-grandson being due 2 days before. I had to cancel the trip, and SW made this very painless. Excellent! I may have lost the taxes I paid ($11.20 x 2) but all of my points went back to my account. The baby arrived on Friday and is healthy and all are happy.

    With this pain-free cancellation in mind, I'm going to do a speculative booking to Belize in Jan. But this brings up a pain-point.

    From CLE on SW, Belize is a 10 hour adventure available only on Saturdays (CLE->ORD->DEN->BZE). At least looking at the current schedule. Not really attractive. However, we typically attend a large coin show in FL in January, this year in Tampa. Belize from some places in FL is quite reasonable, although the only practical option for us is not really ideal. On some days it's a 7k and 2:20 trip NS. The day we need it it is 26k and 7:00 w/stop in Houston. It becomes very reasonable if we could get to Fort Lauderdale by Sunday (7k and 2:20), and that's possible, but at a cost that about evens it out. If I stay in Tampa another day it gets cheap/short again (assuming, based on previous Mondays ... but the schedule doesn't go that far yet). But then I'm altering my ideal day plan to fit a flight schedule.

    I'm bummed that SW doesn't allow creative routing or stop-overs. Sure, I can schedule them as multiple one ways at extra cost ... but even trying to fly Tampa to FLL is a many hours trip ... they don't have a direct non-stop. I'm trying to find creative ways to save 19k miles (and 2 hours), and it's just the cheapskate in me. I'm booking the 26k flight for now, holding out for a creative solution in the coming months. (I found a $110 flight elsewhere TPA->FLL, but is it worth it? Renting a one-way car is a costly and requires 3:45 driving).

    I will also mention that I'm looking at flying to Belize on 1/7. This happens to be the last day of their current schedule, so who knows how we'll get home. Trying prototype dates for Belize->CLE shows issues with availability, prices and/or elapsed times. It looks like I'm better off flying back to FL on one ticket, then to CLE on a separately scheduled flight. Again, at the cost of 2 trips. If I can route like this, why can't SW? In the end I'll have to wait for the schedule to be extended, then I can see what I have.

    I'm not opposed to using other carriers for positioning flights, but that sort of defeats the purpose of having a SW CP. Or at least dilutes it a bit.

    I think that's all I have to vent for now. Thanks.

    (Edit: I fixed the time for TPA->BZE on the day we need to read 7 hours. I had it 4:25 before, and that's the time for a different day. 7 hours is what bothers me - 2 hour layover in Houston).
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  4. Cmonman76

    Cmonman76 Level 2 Member

    Hey Knick, you can save those taxes from a cancelled flight and use on another booking. It's linked to the confirm #.

    As far as your other question, that is why I still occasionally use Delta or American even though we also have the companion pass. For some cities Southwest just doesn't work well. Other cities it's great. I also tend to move my schedule around to match the cheapest flights
     
  5. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    So I did snag a flight from Tampa to Belize on the very last day of the current schedule. 26k (relatively expensive) and 7 hours over 2 flights and a 2 hour layover. I will check for better options when the schedule extends again.

    Oddly, I couldn't add my companion online. Kept telling me that the date I specified wasn't valid. I was worried that my award ticket was the last seat! Calling in, the CSR was able to add her but there was a bit of trouble applying the airline tax credit from my canceled flight (thanks for mentioning that, I might have never realized I could do this - now I know how).

    Looks like I need to create yet-another spreadsheet (or Evernote ... it won't get too complex) to track canceled confirmation numbers and the travel funds remaining on each!
     
  6. Suzie

    Suzie Level 2 Member

    If you're paying the taxes with credit card and cancel a flight, there is the option to credit the card. That's what I do.
     
  7. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    Missed that when I canceled. I'll look next time, but hopefully I don't have to cancel too often!
     
  8. Suzie

    Suzie Level 2 Member

    It defaults to hold for future flights. I have to remind myself each time to change it.
     
  9. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    While this SW-newbie has folks' attention ... I've also yet to check in 24 hours ahead of time and reserve my seats. Tips?

    Somewhere I saw that flyers with companions might have priority? No? Is it the rule that exactly 24 hours before the departure time I have to get seat assignments quickly? Does anyone have an online reference or article outlining a seat strategy? And in what order do they board ... seat numbers or earlier check-ins?

    My SW First Flight isn't until the beginning of August now. 2 months, but I want to get it right first time!

    (Update: It actually behooves us to find someplace to go in June or July with the CP ... a long weekend, as we have 2 hotel certs that will expire at the end of that timeframe. And I don't want to lose those w/out a fight ... or flight :)).
     
  10. Suzie

    Suzie Level 2 Member

    You and your companion have to check in separately. No guarantee that you will board together. Board in order of check in - no seat assignments. I usually set an alarm on my phone as a reminder. Set up phone for one check in and computer for other and try to check in at same time. I saw somewhere that someone had developed a program for checking in, but I've not used it.

    And there's always the option of buying one early bird and have them save you a seat . . . ;)

    Early bird is by order that you purchased it - so the sooner the better if you decide to go that route. However, if you have to cancel flight I don't believe early bird is refundable. Not absolutely sure on that.
     
  11. Suzie

    Suzie Level 2 Member

    And it goes A listers and preferred, A1-60, family with small children, B1-60, C1-60.
     
  12. currid7

    currid7 Level 2 Member

    Haven't read this thread, but I thought I'd throw out that the SW cards now show 60k. I can't remember if signups count toward CP or not, I got mine through Marriott after the deval email / reinstatement they did in Jan.
     
  13. AnyNameYouWish

    AnyNameYouWish Level 2 Member

    Also Knick-If my plans aren't flexible and the SW flight costs more points than I'm happy with, I just check online every day to see if they have gone down in price yet. Every single time I have been able to cancel my reservation and rebook using less points, and this is for a family of 4. One time my final points paid for each ticket ended up being less than 1/3 of what I originally booked the flight with. I rescheduled that one 3 times.
     
  14. AnyNameYouWish

    AnyNameYouWish Level 2 Member

    Sign up bonuses do count.
     
  15. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    I knew to watch for their occasional sales and rebook if lower then, but there prices might fluctuate even on a daily basis? I'll keep a watch. Thanks.
     
  16. currid7

    currid7 Level 2 Member

    Nice, thanks for confirming. I haven't cared since we're both way over 5/24 haha
     

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