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Guarding Your Money for the Holidays

Explorer C
Joe McDaniel is one of Southwest's Security Specialists  A big part of the Holiday Season is visiting family, and travel is a popular gift.  As a member of Southwest's Security Team for the past seven years, I want to make sure you have all of the facts to consider when making your buying decisions this year. I have talked with countless Customers who chose to purchase Southwest Airlines' tickets (paper and electronic), southwestgiftcardsTM, and Rapid Rewards Awards from unknown, unaffiliated third parties or from a "friend of a friend".  Far too often, the victimized Customers are left stranded at the airport because they chose not to deal directly with the airline or a known travel partner.  When I ask them, "Who did you pay?" the response is usually someone other than Southwest Airlines.  Several recent cases I have investigated involved people who wired money to unknown third parties in Indonesia and Russia.   When I ask why they chose to purchase the reservation or the southwestgiftcard from an unknown third party, the usual response is, "To save some money."  While there is nothing wrong with saving money, especially around the Holidays, people who respond to ads like these often end up paying for the trip twice, or jeopardizing their travel plans altogether.  For those who just can't seem to let a "too good to be true" bargain pass by, it is important to understand the risks involved when responding to an unknown third party that posted a random ad on the web or in a newspaper.  Below are some Southwest Airlines' policies and important tips that I would like you to remember when you are shopping/surfing for discounted airline travel.  These policies and tips will help prevent your travel from being interrupted.   
  • Avoid purchasing reservations, southwestgiftcards, or Rapid Rewards Awards from auction or "garage sale" websites, newspaper classified ads, or from any "travel agent" who can not be verified. 
  • Southwest reserves the right to cancel or refund any reservation, southwestgiftcard, or travel voucher if it was purchased or obtained fraudulently.
  • It is against Southwest Airlines' policy to buy or sell Rapid Rewards Awards
  • To maintain the integrity of your ticketless transaction, purchase your reservations directly from the airline or from a verifiable travel agency.
  • For southwestgiftcards, we recommend that you purchase them directly from Southwest Airlines, or from an approved third party vendor.
  • Many Southwest Airlines tickets and southwestgiftcards are currently being sold on web sites and in newspapers far below face or market value. Ask yourself, "Why?"
  • Avoid wiring funds to unknown third parties. This method of payment offers no protection if you become a victim.
Should you purchase a reservation, a southwestgiftcard, a Rapid Rewards Award, or a travel voucher from an unknown third party, we can not guarantee the validity or security of that purchase.  If you have any concerns about a questionable advertisement or sale related to Southwest Airlines, please contact us directly.  I would like for every current and potential Southwest Airlines' Customer to have a positive experience during and after their reservation purchase. Just remember, if an advertisement from an unknown third party catches your eye and it "looks too good to be true" then it probably is!  Have a happy, safe and prosperous Holiday Season!  Joe McDaniel