Southwest will roll out a new fare tier with interesting benefits in May or June, according to the Associated Press.
The new category, dubbed “Wanna Get Away Plus,” will be added to the “Wanna Get Away,” “Anytime” and “Business Select” fare family.
One of the main advantages of “Wanna Get Away Plus” is the option to transfer flight credits to other passengers.
“Wanna Get Away Plus provides Customers even more flexibility, choice, and rewards for a modest buy-up from Wanna Get Away. In addition to the benefits offered across all our fares,” the company said.
The new fare level allows customers to “transfer unused flight credits to a new traveler, confirmed same-day rebookings or standby, and 8 times the Rapid Rewards points,” the company said.
Travelers who have unclaimed flight credits from a canceled trip frequently ask the airline if they can use them to purchase tickets for relatives and friends.
As with most airlines, Southwest has always refused passengers that option.
“That is a pain point that a lot of our customers relay, particularly on leisure travel,” said Jonathan Clarkson, Southwest’s vice president of marketing, loyalty and products.
“They have these funds that they are either running out of time to use or don’t have the ability to use or would prefer to have somebody else close to them use them but there’s not an easy way to transfer.”
There is an extra cost. The price of “Wanna Get Away Plus” will be higher than the current cheapest ticket. The rise, however, is not expected to be significant.
The cost of the upsell will not be known until the airline announces the revised pricing, which is due in May or June.
“I think we will see a meaningful percentage of our customers buying up to Wanna Get Away Plus,” Clarkson said.
The new “Wanna Get Away Plus” tickets will include another key perk that the airline says will persuade travelers to purchase.
It will offer the ability to swap to a different flight on the day of travel at no cost if seats are available confirmed or standby.
“If there’s one thing we’ve all learned during the pandemic, it’s that plans change,” Clarkson said, “and both of these elements give customers the opportunity to adapt to that.”