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Once upon a time, Southwest Airlines was a sleepy regional airline. Today there are many North American destinations where Southwest flies. The airline is usually one of the most affordable options for many routes.

Where southwest flies
Southwest flies to Caribbean paradises like Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Photo by Leonardo Rossatti from Pexels

Where Southwest Flies

Here are many of the best places that Southwest Airlines fly to. If you’re wanting to visit one of these destinations in 2020, don’t forget to look at Southwest flight availability.

Flights Within the United States

Southwest serves most major cities and tourist destinations within the United States. It’s also possible to fly nonstop from one coast to another. A great example is from Baltimore-Washington (BWI) to Los Angeles (LAX) nonstop.

You may try flying through one of these major hubs to find the best potential flights:

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Chicago-Midway
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Houston (Hobby Airfield)
  • Los Angeles
  • Las Vegas
  • Oakland
  • Orlando
  • Phoenix

You will also be able to fly from larger regional airports. Some examples include Albuquerque, NM; Boston, MA; Nashville, TN; Portland; Burbank, CA; and Charleston, SC. For an exhaustive list, check out their online Southwest route map.

Hawaii

One of the most exciting airline routes to launch in 2019 was Southwest Airlines flying to Hawaii. Nonstop service is available from these mainland airports:

  • Oakland
  • San Diego
  • San Jose
  • Sacramento

You have the most flight options when flying into Honolulu. Other Hawaiian destinations from the mainland include:

  • Maui
  • Kona
  • Kaui

Interisland flights are available once you arrive in Hawaii. This is the only way to reach Hilo island if flying Southwest.

You can pay cash for where Southwest flies into Hawaii. But this can also be one of your best award flight options.

Where Southwest flies
A one-way Southwest Airlines award flight to Hawaii starts around 15,000 Rapid Rewards points.

One-way flights normally cost between 15,000 and 20,000 Rapid Rewards points plus $5.60 fees and taxes. While these aren’t the cheapest award flights to Hawaii, they are lesser than the legacy carriers.

Caribbean and Central America

Southwest also flies into various tropical paradises throughout the Caribbean. Popular destinations include:

  • Aruba
  • Belize City
  • Grand Cayman
  • Havana
  • Montego Bay
  • Nassau
  • Providenciales (Turks and Caicos)
  • Punta Cana
  • San Jose (Costa Rica)
  • San Juan

You may have the most success booking nonstop flights from Baltimore, Ft. Lauderdale, or Houston.

A one-way award flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau can be found as low as 3,432 miles plus $5.60. If you need to fly from a connecting airport, like Orlando, a one-way flight costs around 6,000 miles plus $5.60. That’s still pretty affordable for an award flight.

Mexico

The only other international zone where Southwest flies to is Mexico.

Current destinations include:

  • Cabo San Lucas
  • Cancun
  • Cozumel
  • Puerta Vallarta

Cancun can be one of your best destinations if you want nonstop services. Airports from across the U.S. fly directly into Cancun. Some of the more obvious ones are Houston, Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Ft. Lauderdale, and Atlanta. Less-obvious choices may include Milwaukee, Nashville, and Pittsburgh.

Cozumel is only served directly from Houston. Both Cabo and Puerta Vallarta have nonstop service from a handful of airports, primarily from the western United States.

Award flights to Mexico tend to cost at least 10,000 Rapid Rewards but as much as 20,000 points plus $35.60 each way. Although short flights, like Ft. Lauderdale to Cancun, can be as cheap as 4,290 plus $35.60 one-way.

Where Southwest Doesn’t Fly (Yet)

Southwest doesn’t fly outside the United States, Caribbean, or Mexico. That means you will need to use a legacy carrier or an international airline to fly to Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America.

Related Article: Best credit cards for international travel

Booking Southwest Airlines Flights

It can be easy to overlook Southwest Airlines flight listings as the third-party flight search engines don’t list them. If you research flights on Google Flights, Kayak, Expedia, Hotwire, etc., you need to open a second tab and head directly to the Southwest Airlines homepage.

You can view the cash price and Rapid Rewards award flight price for each available Southwest flight.

Flash Sales

You will sometimes see a flash sale where select routes are discounted. However, you may need to act quickly to book the best deals.

Two free checked bags

Your first two checked bags fly free on all flights. A golf bag, skis, or a surfboard can also count as one of your free checked items.

Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards is a somewhat exclusive airline loyalty program. They don’t partner with other airline alliances and their only credit card rewards partner is Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Only these cards let you transfer Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio:

Business travelers will need to use the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. All three options are some of the best travel credit cards available. However, none of the Chase credit cards without an annual fee that earns Ultimate Rewards support point transfers.

To use Rapid Rewards points for Southwest Airlines award flights, your only redemption option is to transfer them first. Remember, Southwest flights won’t show in the Expedia-powered Chase travel engine. A third option is redeeming for points for cash rewards (but each point is only worth 1 cent each).

Southwest Airlines Credit Cards

The best Southwest credit cards can also be a fine way to earn and redeem Rapid Rewards for Southwest flights. There are several personal and small business cards you can apply for.

Each purchase earns Rapid Rewards points. Purchases and the signup bonus count toward the annual 125,000 points necessary to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. With this pass, the cost for one travel companion to fly is only fees and taxes (usually $5.60 each way) when you buy your seat with points or cash.

Note that you can also earn points (though not as quickly as you would with a credit card) by participating in Southwest’s Dining Rewards Program. Learn more: Best Dining Rewards Programs

Here are the two best personal and business Southwest Airlines credit cards.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card

When flying Southwest Airlines for personal reasons, consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. Rewards and benefits include:

  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit
  • 4 Upgraded Booking per year (when available)
  • 7,500 bonus Rapid Rewards points each card renewal
  • Earn 2x Rapid Rewards points on Southwest Airlines purchases (1x for everything else)
  • No foreign transaction fee

You’ll earn 40,000 Rapid Rewards after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $149.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is their most luxurious option for business travel. You get the following perks:

  • Inflight wifi credits (up to 365 day passes)
  • 4 Upgraded Booking per year (when available)
  • 9,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points each card renewal
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Earn up to 3x Rapid Rewards on purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee

New Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card cardmembers can earn up to 100,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points. Cardholders will earn 70,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, they can earn an additional 30,000 points after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.

The annual fee is $199.

Summary of Where Southwest Flies

You can earn plenty of Rapid Rewards if you’re going where Southwest flies. It’s also worth comparing Southwest ticket prices to see if they can save you money. Whether you’re flying to see family or going on vacation, this discount airline may likely have a seat waiting for you.

FAQs

What destinations does Southwest fly to?

Southwest Airlines flies to major and mid-size airports in these geographic zones:

  • United States (continental and Hawaii)
  • Mexico
  • Caribbean
  • Central America

Some of the largest U.S. hubs include Los Angeles, Chicago-Midway, Baltimore, Houston-Hobby Field, Atlanta, Ft. Lauderdale. You can also fly to several Hawaii islands including Honolulu, Maui, Kona, and Kaui. Interisland service is available between these islands and Lihue.

The Mexican destinations are on the Pacific and Caribbean side. You can also fly to several Caribbean islands known for tourism. The two mainland Central American nations are Belize and Costa Rica.

Where does Southwest fly in the Caribbean?

  • Aruba
  • Belize City
  • Grand Cayman
  • Havana
  • Montego Bay
  • Nassau
  • Providenciales (Turks and Caicos)
  • Punta Cana
  • San Jose (Costa Rica)
  • San Juan

You will have the best chance of getting nonstop flights from Ft. Lauderdale and Houston. Other Southwest hubs including Baltimore may also offer connection-free travel.

Does Southwest have nonstop flights?

Yes, Southwest offers nonstop flights for domestic and international travel. The quickest way to find if your desired route offers nonstop service is to use the route map. It’s important to note that only a select number of flights are nonstop each day. You may need to book a connecting flight if the nonstop flight time doesn’t align with your travel schedule.

Does Southwest fly nonstop from California to New York?

No, Southwest currently doesn’t fly nonstop to New York-La Guardia. The closest you will be able to get flying nonstop is either Baltimore or Pittsburgh from Los Angeles.

Josh Patoka
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3 Comments On "Where Does Southwest Fly? Some of the Best Destinations in 2020"
  1. gina sabia|

    I love flying Southwest BUT your information SUCKS! You do NOT fly to:

    Costa Rica
    Belize
    Turks and Caicos

    Why would you report it? Pretty unprofessional. Contact me at 610-247-7519

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      You can see here where Southwest flys: https://www.southwest.com/international/

  2. Darrell Grossman|

    want to fly from Denver to Spokane and return last week of july. How do I do it useng SW????

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