I was looking for a way to travel to Charleston, SC for the F2B Charleston Sessions without spending too much on my plane ticket, but I couldn’t justify using United or Delta miles to fly there because the tickets weren’t that expensive. I thought I had looked in all of the programs that I had miles in for deals, but it turns out that I forgot about Airtran! Now, Airtran doesn’t strictly fly into or out of CHS, but as you can [maybe] see in the photo below, Southwest does! (Look at the orange dot near the lower part of the East Coast — that’s CHS)
Because of the Southwest/Airtran merger, it is possible to book award flights on Southwest using A+ credits… but it requires a little more work. I couldn’t find a guide on how to transfer credits and book my ticket, and it definitely took more time than was necessary — so hopefully someone finds this guide useful because I wish I had it!
First, you will have to transfer your A+ credits to Southwest credits… You may be confused, because you thought Southwest had points based on your spending, right? Well, Southwest used to have credits, so you will actually be transferring your A+ credits to Old Southwest credits.
To transfer, follow these steps:
- Log on to your account at Southwest.com
- Click on My Account
- Click on My Rapid Rewards
- Click on Transfer Between A+ Rewards and Rapid Rewards
- You will then have to login to you A+ Rewards Account
- Indicate that you would like to transfer from A+ rewards to Southwest rewards (if that is indeed the case), type in the number of credits you want to transfer, and click transfer!
The credits should show up in your Southwest account pretty quickly. If you transferred 16 credits, you will be awarded a Southwest Standard Award Certificate, which can be used for a round trip flight. Note, that the availability rules are not the same as normal on Southwest! Normally you can book any flight that there is an open seat when redeeming your points, but this is not the case with the Standard Awards! It is more similar to Airtran, where there had to be standard availability on the flight that you are looking at.
When you’re ready to book your flight using your Southwest Standard Award, you will need to follow steps below:
- Login to your Southwest account
- Click View My Old Credits and Awards
- Click on Standard Awards Availability
- You can then search for the flights you are interested in and book your flights!
In my case, for the Charleston Sessions, there was only availability on the way there. On the way back I elected to buy a ticket from Southwest because cost and timing wise that made the most sense. Hope you are thinking about joining us in Charleston! Tickets can be purchased here.