Are Southwest Airlines Anytime Fares a Better Deal than Wanna Get Away Fares?

Good afternoon everyone, I am speaking at the OC TravelCon travel conference this weekend (more info) and I needed to purchase a flight to Orange County (SNA).  I was looking at the 7:05pm Southwest Airlines flight on Wednesday evening from SFO.  The cheapest option (Wanna Get Away fare) was $212, while the Anytime fare was $223, and the Business Select fare was $251.  Obviously the Wanna Get Away fare is the best deal, right?

SWA Anytime Wanna Get Award SFO-SNA Fare

After some Photoshop magic, I was able to place all 3 prices side by side and show the corresponding number of Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points that would be earned for each fare class.

  • Business Select: $251, earning 2,634 points
  • Anytime: $223, earning 1,935 points
  • Wanna Get Away: $212, earning 1,100 points

All Price Comparison SWA

At this point, I should remind you that each fare bucket earns a different number of points per dollar.  The Wanna Get Away fare earns 6 points per dollar, the Anytime fare earns 10 points per dollar, and the Business Select fare earns 12 points per dollar.  Each Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Point is worth 1/70 of a cent (1.43 CPP).  Here are the calculations:

SWA Calculations

Based on the number of points earned per fare, the Anytime fare actually has a cheaper “new price” if you subtract the original price from the value of the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points.  If I was set on purchasing a Southwest Airlines flight, I would definitely purchase the Anytime fare, especially since you can easily get on an earlier or later Southwest Airlines flight.

Before going any further, I checked the points price for each fare class.

  • Business Select: 26,344 points
  • Anytime: 19,349 points
  • Wanna Get Away: 12,828 points

SWA Anytime Wanna Get Award SFO-SNA Points Fare

I then did the calculations to determine how much value I would be getting for each Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Point.  By redeeming points for a Wanna Get Away fare, I would get 1.65 CPP in value, compared to only 1.15 CPP for an Anytime fare, and 0.95 CPP for a Business Select fare.  Generally speaking, the Southwest Airlines CPP calculations will be the same for most flights, regardless of routing or any other factor.

SWA Calculations 2

What does this all mean?  If you are planning on redeeming Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward Points, you get the most value for your points when redeeming for a Wanna Get Away fare.  On the other hand, if you are purchasing a Southwest Airlines ticket, it may make sense to do the calculations and see if the “new price” for the Wanna Get Away fare is really cheaper than the Anytime fare.  As for me, I transferred a few thousand Chase Ultimate Reward Points to Southwest Airlines and redeemed the points for the flight.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

14 thoughts on “Are Southwest Airlines Anytime Fares a Better Deal than Wanna Get Away Fares?

  1. askmrlee

    That’s great that the spread for SFO-SNA was only $39. I just priced the new OAK-CMH non-stop and the spread is $377! $190-$539 or $567 each way. In your case, $11 to go from Wanna Get Away to Anytime looks like a real bargain to get a flexible, refundable ticket.

  2. Jay

    Wow! how come you can be so good at math and calculations like this! amazing! is it what you do at work or related to your field too? it took me a while to digest all of these info since I am not really good at math and calculation like this…
    Nice post and keep it up! it sure helps people like me to learn something new like this.

  3. Jeff

    Grant! Gotta book the Southwest flight earlier. I book a bunch of speculative flights since they’re so easy to cancel :)
    I’m going to TravelCon too and I booked my Southwest flight in Dec.
    For SFO – SNA roundtrip I only used 11,917 points for a wanna get away ticket.

    1. Grant

      I actually do the same thing with SWA flights. I booked 2 one way flights leaving Friday and 2 separate one way flights coming home Sunday night and Monday morning. Leaving on Wednesday night was a last minute change to my schedule. I just have to remember to cancel the wrong flights before they depart. See you at TravelCon!

  4. Pingback: PSA: Sometimes Booking Flights Individually is Cheaper than Booking Together | Travel with Grant

  5. Frank

    I’m going to Denver with al my family but I don’t have a lot money you guy think buying wanna get away there good for me since I’m not planning to go back any time soon

  6. Pingback: The Complete Guide to Southwest Airlines

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