One of the perks with Southwest Airlines is their cancellation policy. I used to think it was amazing, but now I think they are falling into the ways of all airlines and they don’t really stand out. Southwest allows you to cancel you reservation up to 10 minutes before takeoff and that full fare is good for travel within 1 year. (or points redeposited into your account if you used points.) Well I am learning out the hard way that’s not always true.

In February we booked flights from Costa Rica to Oklahoma City as our final leg of our South American Trip. We ended up cancelling those flights as we realized you cant fly to Costa Rica after visiting Ecuador and Peru within the past 10 days and not having a yellow fever shot. I figured no big deal as the $277 per person ticket would/should be good though Feb 2019. However I used a $100 voucher I received in Nov 2017 for a delayed flight. When I used this voucher, it made my entire fare only valid through Nov 2018. That doesn’t help me for booking an upcoming ski trip in Dec.

Southwest System Map 04-04-2018

I thought surely that can’t be correct. Maybe $100 expires in Nov, and the remaining $177 expires in Feb. A least that’s what logic would say. I looked all over Southwest’s website and couldn’t find any documentation of this policy. I then called, emailed, and tweeted out to Southwest.  I received consistent replies back all saying something along the lines of :

If the Customer uses travel funds and/or a Southwest LUV Voucher, the expiration date of the ticket is the earliest expiration date of the form of payment. “

Southwest also replied back that this policy is sent on the confirmation email. In looking at my email confirmation, it definitely does not say this in a clear manner. It only says the following:

“If you do not plan to travel on your flight: In accordance with Southwest‘s No Show Policy, you must notify Southwest at least 10 minutes prior to your flight’s scheduled departure if you do not plan to travel on your flight. Customers who fail to cancel reservations for a Wanna Get Away fare segment at least ten (10) minutes prior to travel and who do not board the flight will be considered a no show, and all remaining unused Wanna Get Away funds will be forfeited. All remaining unused Business Select and Anytime funds will be converted to reusable travel funds. If you no show your reward travel reservation, the points will be redeposited to the purchaser’s Rapid Rewards account. Any taxes and fees associated with your reward travel reservation will be held for future use in the form of reusable travel funds under the name of the traveler(s).”

So even if I had a $1 leftover voucher, then entire amount now expires at the same time that $1 does. The only good thing is that for me this only applies only to my ticket in my name. My family members still have the full amount valid for a full year.


I will be writing a formal letter to Southwest. Just a heads up to others so you don’t lose travel funds like I am about to.


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I love to travel, I love to get a good deal, and I love to negotiate. Of course after God, family, and friends, or even better when its with them.

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