Why I am Nonetheless Reserving Southwest Regardless of Striving for American Elite Standing – The Factors Man

Despite the fact that it is solely September, I’ve already booked flights residence for the vacations.

2020 was the primary 12 months in 32 years of my life that I ever missed Christmas with my dad and mom in St. Louis, which meant I used to be excited to see them one final Thanksgiving after being aside for 12 months.

With the ability to journey residence extra simply and infrequently is a giant motive why I moved right here Chicago In June. It helps that, not like most carriers, Southwest Airlines has maintained a constant presence at St. Louis Lambert Worldwide Airport (STL).

In reality, Southwest has doubled its presence at STL In the last decadeThe airport has 55% of the market share.

With 45 continuous, weekly flights between STL and Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)I can at all times depend on with the ability to discover a Southwest flight residence.

I really feel assured reserving a Southwest fare realizing that because of the provider’s versatile fares, which let you modify your flight at no cost as much as 10 minutes earlier than boarding, if wanted. I can at all times cancel or change my flight.

If you happen to use Southwest Rapid Rewards Factors for reserving your flight, you’ll solely be refunded these factors; If you happen to use money, you will get flight credit score to make use of on a future flight.

Associated: How to redeem points with the Southwest Rapid Rewards program

Not solely do I recognize the flexibleness and quantity of day by day flights, however I additionally like that the airline’s fare sorts are sometimes far more inexpensive than rivals, so I typically fly Southwest for routes like these. spend much less for

Nevertheless, working at a spot like TPG implies that generally I have to fly different carriers. So, despite the fact that I’ve developed a terrific love for Southwest since I first began flying the airline as a younger lady, I’ve discovered myself flying American Airlines Commonly this 12 months.

Regardless of my choice for Southwest, American is the provider I’ve used for each home flight to this point in 2022.

The explanation for this variation in loyalty is easy — I used to be gifted 30,000 Advantage of American Airlines Loyalty factors through a raffle at a TPG perform in early 2021. that Loyalty points Automated means AAdvantage gold statusAmerican’s entry-level.

Whereas this low-level standing could seem trivial to some, it was a giant deal to me, as I had by no means held airline standing earlier than. So, I modified my flight technique to maximise my time within the air with American in an effort to achieve AAdvantage Platinum – the following elite tier – by March of 2023.

Associated: Chasing American Airlines’ elite status? Here are 14 ways to earn loyalty points

When it got here time to e book flights residence for the vacations, I discovered myself conflicted. Ought to I fly residence with Southwest, as I’ve achieved for each vacation season to this point, or ought to I contemplate American for loyalty factors and standing?

In the long run, I made a decision to maintain with custom and e book Southwest. Here is why the provider prompted me to stay with my standard itinerary as an alternative of flying American.

Flights price in money and factors

To find out which airline I ought to use this vacation season, I turned to each carriers’ web sites to check costs for Thanksgiving and Christmas flights. I began with my most well-liked Thanksgiving journey dates of November 18th and thirtieth.

After I checked out American flights, I discovered the most cost effective nonstop possibility in the principle cabin costing $300 round-trip or 13,000 miles plus $11.20 in taxes and charges.

Alternatively, I will pay $240 in money or 16,274 Speedy Rewards factors plus $11.20 in taxes and charges for a nonstop Wanna Get Away fare on Southwest.

For Christmas, flight costs had been comparable. On my journey dates of December seventeenth and January third, flying American foremost cabin would price me $340 or 15,000 miles plus $11.20 in taxes and charges.

In the meantime, the most cost effective Wanna Get Away fare for a nonstop route would set me again $240 in money or 16,274 Speedy Rewards factors plus $11.20 in taxes and charges.

Since I’d save a complete of $160 for each journeys by selecting to fly Southwest, the provider was my most suitable choice. Nonetheless, I additionally wished to remember the worth of Flying American for my place search.

Associated: Finally Reunited: How 100,000 Southwest Points Are Taking Me Home for the Holidays

Worth of American flight to get standing

Past the rental value, I calculated the influence of the missed earnings alternative with American.

to Earn AAdvantage Loyalty PointsYou will want to fly with American or one in all its many companions or a cobranded credit card.

While you’re on American flights, you will at all times earn as many loyalty factors as you do redeemable miles, so 1 base mile equals 1 loyalty level. The space of the flight flown is just related Oneworld companion flights.

Calculating my earnings for these Thanksgiving and Christmas flights was a cinch. I merely multiplied the rental value earlier than taxes and charges (which had been $251 and $288, respectively) by seven—that is for the 40% elite mileage bonus I get as a Gold member—to reach at a complete of three,773. Loyalty Factors

I did the identical for the 2 round-trip Southwest choices, multiplying each journeys (with out taxes and charges) by six — the incomes charge for Wanna Get Away fares — to get a complete of two,356 Speedy Rewards factors.

Then, I used Current prices of TPG For AAdvantage Loyalty Factors (1.77 cents per level) and Speedy Rewards Factors (1.5 cents per level) to find out the worth of all flights. My loyalty factors would earn me $66.78, whereas my Speedy Rewards factors can be value $35.34 to me.

Whereas the loyalty factors can be value extra, it would not utterly offset the $160 financial savings in further $31.44 worth that Southwest was providing with its decrease fares. Since saving cash is my prime precedence, Southwest turned out to be one of the best ways to go.


Lastly, I could not ignore the low price Southwest flights I discovered for trip. Regardless of the missed alternative to earn extra loyalty factors, the worth of these potential earnings wasn’t sufficient to justify paying further to fly American — if I had determined to make use of money.

As luck would have it, I had over 32,000 Speedy Rewards factors in my loyalty account, so I may cowl each flights with factors. This was an added bonus to my determination to fly Southwest, since I solely had just a little over 14,000 American miles, which might have lined the Thanksgiving journey however not my Christmas flights.

If my Gold standing with American was on the road, I’d probably contemplate paying extra for American flights.

Nevertheless, I plan to fly a Oneworld companion to Asia earlier than the eligibility interval expires, so I am assured I will have Platinum standing by March. Keep tuned for extra about that flight and the way it helped me attain my objectives of American Elite standing later this fall.

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