Southwest Airlines is a favorite among many travelers. However, plenty of others don’t love the airline’s unique boarding process, which involves boarding positions instead of seat assignments. One of the best ways to circumvent the process and ensure you’ll get your pick of the best seats is with Southwest’s Upgraded Boarding.
Upgraded Boarding gets you an A1 to A15 position, and the best part is that select Southwest credit cards come with Upgraded Boarding credits.
In this article, we’ll talk about what Upgraded Boarding is, how to use it, and how to use the Upgraded Boarding credits that come with selected Southwest credit cards.
Let’s get to the details.
What Is Southwest Upgraded Boarding?
Upgraded Boarding is the best way to ensure your first choice of seats on a Southwest Airlines flight. When you purchase it, you’ll be assigned a boarding position in the range of A1 to A15.
There are 2 ways to get upgraded A1 to A15 boarding on Southwest.
- Purchase a Business Select fare
- Purchase Upgraded Boarding beginning 24 hours before departure
Upgraded Boarding can be purchased online at Southwest.com, in the Southwest mobile app, at a ticket counter, or at the gate up to 30 minutes before departure.
Prices start at $30 per segment per person, and a segment is any single flight. If you have a layover and are taking 2 separate flights or segments, you must purchase Upgraded Boarding for each flight separately.
Upgraded Boarding vs. EarlyBird Check-In
If you’re unfamiliar with Southwest’s unique boarding process, understanding the difference between Upgraded Boarding and EarlyBird Check-In can be confusing.
EarlyBird Check-In automatically checks you in for your flight starting 36 hours ahead of time, but there is no guarantee you’ll get an A boarding position. Anytime fares automatically come with EarlyBird Check-In, while passengers with Wanna Get Away Plus or Wanna Get Away fares can purchase it at the time of booking or up to 36 hours before departure.
Upgraded Boarding means a guaranteed A1 to A15 boarding position. It comes automatically with Business Select fares or can be purchased 24 hours before departure. Only 15 of these slots are available on a flight, and once they are sold out, the ability to acquire Upgraded Boarding is removed.
A customer with EarlyBird Check-In but wants a higher boarding position can still purchase Upgraded Boarding.
Upgraded Boarding and EarlyBird Check-In are 2 different ways to secure a better boarding position on Southwest Airlines. Upgraded Boarding, which guarantees an A1 to A15 position, is superior to EarlyBird Check-In, which checks you in automatically but doesn’t guarantee an A boarding position. However, it’s more limited, so there’s always a chance it will be sold out.
Which Southwest Cards Come With Upgraded Boarding?
There are 2 cards that come with Upgraded Boarding credits — the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card.
This card focuses on the Southwest traveler with anniversary points, travel credit, upgrades, and money back on inflight purchases.
Learn More(at Chase’s secure site)
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the most premium personal Southwest card offering from Chase. When you peel back the curtain, it is easy to see why.
Not only does the card offer multiple bonus categories to help you earn more Southwest Rapid Rewards points, but it is also loaded with benefits that are sure to offer quite a bit of value to Southwest flyers.
Here is a full overview of the card to help you decide if it is a good fit for your wallet.
Southwest frequent flyers will love the upgraded boarding positions, inflight Wi-Fi credits, and bonus points on each cardmember anniversary.
Learn More(at Chase’s secure site)
Each of these cards comes with 4 Upgraded Boardings per anniversary year (based on your statement closing date, not the date you were approved for your credit card.) Upgraded Boarding starts at $30 per segment, so this benefit is valued at ~$120. This perk is an excellent bonus of having either card.
Other Southwest credit cards may offer EarlyBird Check-In credits, but these are not the same as Upgraded Boarding.
The Southwest Priority card and the Southwest Performance Business card each come with 4 Upgraded Boarding credits per anniversary year, which can be used to purchase A1-A15 boarding positions.
How To Check Your Upgraded Boarding Credits
If you don’t keep detailed records, you may be unsure how many available Upgraded Boarding credits you have. Don’t worry — it’s easy to check!
From your Chase credit card account, navigate to More and then the Rewards dashboard.
You’ll see an easy-to-read graphic that lets you know exactly how many Upgraded Boarding credits you have left for the year.
How To Use Southwest Upgraded Boarding Credits
Using your Southwest credit card’s Upgraded Boarding credits is quick and easy. The Southwest Priority card and the Southwest Performance Business card each come with 4 Upgraded Boardings per year.
These can stack, so you would have 8 Upgraded Boardings per year if you have both cards.
To use your Upgraded Boarding credits, you only need to use your eligible card to purchase Upgraded Boarding. Then, you’ll see a credit for the charge posted to your statement automatically — there’s no need to register or submit anything.
The credit can take up to 8 weeks to post, but in my experience, it posts quickly, often within a day or 2 of the charge.
There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when purchasing Upgraded Boarding:
- There are only 15 slots available, and once they sell out, you won’t be able to purchase Upgraded Boarding.
- Each Upgraded Boarding credit is good for 1 flight for 1 person only. If you have a layover and want to upgrade both segments, you’ll use up 2 Upgraded Boarding credits. Similarly, if you want to upgrade 2 people on 1 flight, you’ll use 2 Upgraded Boarding credits.
- If you change or cancel your flight, the cost of Upgraded Boarding will not be refunded.
- If you travel with others, they cannot board with you unless they also have an A1 to A15 boarding position.
Only 2 Southwest credit cards come with 4 Upgrading Boarding credits each— the Southwest Priority card and the Southwest Performance Business card. Each boarding credit is worth at least $30, making this a valuable and easy-to-use perk of having these cards.
All you need to do is use your eligible Southwest credit card to purchase Upgraded Boarding starting 24 hours before departure, and the cost will be automatically credited to your account. Then, you’ll get to enjoy A1 to A15 boarding on your Southwest flight.
Credit: Source link