How to Cancel a Southwest Airlines Flight & View Travel Funds

by Shelli

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.

southwest cancellation policy by fare type

Fare type determines cancelation policy

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

Southwest Log in to account

Scroll down to the My Trips section and find the trip you want to cancel.

Southwest Airlines Add a Companion

Locate your upcoming trip to cancel it.

 

Southwest Airlines Add a Companion

You are all set to cancel your flight.

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.

Southwest Ticket Refund Options

Depending on the fare class of your ticket there are refund options.

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 Cancel A Southwest Flight

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!

Southwest View Travel Funds

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.

Bottom Line

Southwest Airlines is an airline that does a lot of things right for its customers. One example is the Southwest Airlines cancellation policy. It’s a 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.

Related: What Exactly Is A Southwest Wanna Get Away Fare

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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5 comments

melrowgo January 23, 2019 - 2:54 pm

In the past, when cancelling a flight booked with RR points, the taxes and fees refunded to my original form of purchase, even on Wanna Get Away fares. Has this recently changed to crediting to travel finds?

Reply
Shelli January 23, 2019 - 6:56 pm

Good question, melrowgo. Not sure about in the past, but it’s my understanding that now the fees are held for the traveler on the original confirmation number and must be used for that traveler only, and within one year from the date of purchase. Thanks for reading!

Reply
dan January 24, 2019 - 9:26 am

think that t&f is still refundable to the CC if booking with anytime / biz class fare

Reply
Robert Marshalla August 22, 2019 - 3:25 pm

Why won’t SWA refund my Early Bird Checkin fees? I cancelled 3 flights less than 24 hours after making the reservations, but I was not refunded the $65 I paid for early Bird Checkin.

Reply
Shelli August 22, 2019 - 5:49 pm

Hi Robert, I am not Southwest Airlines. My best advice is that you get in touch with the airline directly so you can sort out your cancelled flights and refunding of fees.

Reply

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