Flying Southwest Airlines is great for many reasons and their cancellation refund policy may just top the list. With some airlines charging hefty fees to change or cancel a flight, Southwest gets bragging rights. Why? For one, Southwest does not charge a fee for changes or cancellations! Southwest Airlines cancellation refund policy is among the best in the industry. As with everything Southwest, this policy is nuanced and varies depending on the type of ticket you purchase.
What You Need To Know About Canceling Your Flight
There are two different scenarios for canceling a flight. First, if you paid cash for your flight and then cancel, your money comes back to you in a credit called a travel fund. If you paid for your ticket using Rapid Rewards points, you get a full points refund.
As you can see from the chart above, different fare types come with different rules for refunds as to whether your ticket is refundable, or your ticket cost becomes reusable as travel funds.
What Are The Rules For Wanna Get Away Fares
Most of us book Wanna Get Away tickets because they are the lowest price fares that Southwest offers. These fares have different cancellation rules than either Business Select or Anytime fares.
When canceling a Wanna Get Away fare, the full purchase price will be saved as reusable travel funds for future use. No matter which fare class your ticket falls into, you can even cancel your flight 10 minutes before departure and your ticket purchase price will be credited to you as either a full refund or as unused travel funds.
The travel funds must be used within 1 year of the purchase date of the ticket. It’s important to note that travel funds expire 12 months from the original ticket purchase date, not 12 months from the original flight date.
In effect, if you purchased a Wanna Get Away fare using Rapid Rewards points and then cancel your ticket, all your Rapid Reward points go back into your Southwest Airlines account. Any taxes paid on the ticket go into your travel fund account. You can reuse them on a future flight.
Remember, tickets purchased with Rapid Rewards points are fully refundable.
How To Earn Southwest Points
It’s easy to earn lots of Southwest points, even without flying! Don’t forget, in addition to the credit cards that Southwest offers, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card and/or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio. Check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for a great all-around travel credit card that earns flexible points that can be transferred to Southwest Airlines.
What’s Rule #1
Rule # 1 with all things Southwest is to ALWAYS make a note of the confirmation number from the canceled flight. You will need this to access any travel funds associated with the ticket. ALWAYS save the confirmation number for your next SWA booking!
How To Cancel A Flight In 4 Easy Steps
Step 1. Sign in to Southwest and click on My Account
Scroll down to the My Trips section and find the trip you want to cancel.
Step 2. In the middle of this screen you will see all of your upcoming flights. Choose the flight you want to cancel and click on Cancel Flight.
Step 3. On the next screen confirm the flight you want to cancel and choose how you want your refund. If you purchased a fully refundable fare, you will have the options of requesting a refund or holding the funds as a travel fund for future use. If the ticket was non-refundable (Wanna Get Away tickets), you will be able to request travel funds for future use.
Step 4. Click the yellow Cancel Flight button at the bottom of the screen to complete the cancellation.
How To View and Redeem Travel Funds
Because they do not just appear in your account, viewing your travels funds takes some effort. Strange but true, you have to look for them. Going back to Rule #1 with Southwest, KNOW your confirmation number from the ticket you canceled.
Step 1. Go to the Manage Reservation tab and click View Travel Funds.
Step 2. Enter your confirmation number, your name, and don’t forget that captcha code. Next, click Check Now. You can add and check up to 4 travel funds at the same time.
When you are ready to pay the next time you book a Southwest ticket, as one of the payment options click Apply Travel Funds, enter the confirmation number and your name and then click Apply Funds. You can enter up to 4 travel funds to pay for your ticket!
Using SWA Gift Cards and Canceling a Ticket
Gift card purchases for a Southwest flight are in the non-refundable category. These tickets are handled differently than tickets paid for with cash or Rapid Reward points.
If you do not take a flight purchased by a gift card, the funds will be held as reusable travel funds with an expiration date. The expiration date is usually 12 months. If you use another form of payment along with the gift card, the earliest expiration date counts.
If you cancel your flight 24 hours or less before take off and paid for all or part of it with a Southwest gift card, you will need to contact Southwest Customer Relations at 1-855-234-4654.
Remember These Rules:
The first thing you need to remember is Rule #1. You must know your travel fund’s confirmation number to access them.
Travel funds are available to use for flights, taxes, and fees for the originally ticketed passenger only. You can not use travel funds to purchase a ticket for someone else. Bummer, I know!
Travel funds expire 12 months from the original ticket purchase date, not 12 months from the original flight you canceled.
Any taxes paid when booking a Southwest Companion fare are fully refundable to the original form of payment.
Southwest Airlines is an airline that does a lot of things right for its customers. One example is their generous cancellation policy, whether you’ve paid for your ticket with points or cash. Southwest points are easy to earn, easy to use, and easy to reuse when you cancel a flight.