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Travel Funds expire 9/7/2022 (planning trip for Dec 2022)

5travelswa
New Arrival

Hi,

Looking for clarification, options or others experience.

I had a trip planned March 2020 (that we COVID canceled) and received Travel Funds set to expire 9/7/2022.

I'm planning our family trip for December 2022.  What are our options for using these travel funds (~$2200) for our December 2022 trip?

Will I be able to book a trip in December using those funds? or is there an option to extend those funds? or any workaround that anybody has been successful with? 

 

Appreciate any advise. I'm trying to figure our options before it's too late. 

Thanks!

 

26 REPLIES 26

Re: Travel Funds expire 9/7/2022 (planning trip for Dec 2022)

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

Only option that allows you to use any of the credit towards travel after the expiration date is to allow the travel funds to expire.  Then, after they expire, contact Southwest in writing (use the contact us link at the bottom of the page) and send a message saying you would like to have expired travel funds X,Y, and Z for passengers A, B, and C reinstated as LUV vouchers.  The value of each travel fund will be reduced by $100 each and you have six months after they are reinstated to use them.  You have up to 6 months after expiration to request this, but do it as soon as possible after expiration since it can take a month for Southwest to complete the process.  It also helps to acknowledge the $100 "fee" per travel fund in your initial request.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Travel Funds expire 9/7/2022 (planning trip for Dec 2022)

5travelswa
New Arrival

Thank you for the reply and guidance.  Very much appreciated.

 

I may try to use these in August (before expiration), if that plan falls through and I need to cancel, do those Travel Funds still expire on 9/7/2022? or would they be from 1 year from purchase?  I recall FAQ's saying if you used the funds to purchase a ticket and canceled, they would have a 1 year expiration from purchase using those funds (but maybe that is if the one year is less than the more generous Covid exception of 9/7/2022)?  

 

Also, I apologize, I did not realize I posted this to "Inflight Experience".

 

Thanks again!  Definitely looking forward to traveling again!

 

 

Re: Travel Funds expire 9/7/2022 (planning trip for Dec 2022)

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

You raise a good question because the original statement from Southwest regarding the travel funds that were extended out to Sept 2022 was that if you used them and then cancelled that reservation, the travel funds would no longer expire Sept 2022, but rather they would expire one year from the date you used the travel fund to make that purchase.  So, based on that, if you use the travel fund currently set to expire Sept 2022 and made a purchase today for a flight in August, then you decided to cancel that, in theory you would have a new expiration date of one year from today.  That sounds too good to be true though since Southwest has never provided a way to extend expiration before other than the extension of funds out to September 2022 and I'm inclined to believe as you said, that might have been only if the one year is earlier than the September 2022 date.  I could be wrong, but I don't think the situation can get any worse for you since the funds were going to expire before the December trip anyway.  So you could use the funds now to purchase a flight for August then if you decide to cancel that you can see what expiration date the new travel funds get.  An earlier expiration date gives you more time to deal with the conversion of the expired travel funds to LUV vouchers and a later expiration date may let you use the travel funds for the December trip.  Just remember you have 6 months to use vouchers so wait until at least June or to request them (must be after travel funds expire).

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Travel Funds expire 9/7/2022 (planning trip for Dec 2022)

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Southwest was pretty clear about how it's supposed to work when they first posted the September, 2022 extension policy, even including an example:

 

southwest post sept funds.png

 

At that time, I reached out to a representative here, who responded to me via private message and verified that:

 

Once the travel funds are used to make a purchase, they will then expire 12 months from the date of purchase, overriding the original expiration date. So if you use the benefits August 2022 and for some reason the flight is cancelled, they will then expire August 2023. If not used, they would expire September 7, 2022.

 

 

Whether or not this means anything now (or more importantly, will mean anything in the upcoming months heading into September 7, 2022) remains to be seen.

 

 

Re: Travel Funds expire 9/7/2022 (planning trip for Dec 2022)

jksobonya
Rising Star

@chgoflyer wrote:

Southwest was pretty clear about how it's supposed to work when they first posted the September, 2022 extension policy, even including an example:

 

southwest post sept funds.png

 

At that time, I reached out to a representative here, who responded to me via private message and verified that:

 

Once the travel funds are used to make a purchase, they will then expire 12 months from the date of purchase, overriding the original expiration date. So if you use the benefits August 2022 and for some reason the flight is cancelled, they will then expire August 2023. If not used, they would expire September 7, 2022.

 

 

Whether or not this means anything now (or more importantly, will mean anything in the upcoming months heading into September 7, 2022) remains to be seen.

 


This is how I always understood it. For those travel funds that were extended to Sept 2022, if you attempted to use those funds and then cancelled the flight at any point prior to Sept 2022 they would get a new expiration date one year from when you initially reused the funds to book.

 

--Jessica

Re: Travel Funds expire 9/7/2022 (planning trip for Dec 2022)

gsking
Rising Star

... which would mean the funds would be past expired and would instantaneously vanish...Poof.

 

Hmm...I wonder how that's going to work this year 🤔 

 

I converted all my TF over to points.   O cancel my flights too much and didn't want to deal with it. 

Re: Travel Funds expire 9/7/2022 (planning trip for Dec 2022)

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@gsking wrote:

... which would mean the funds would be past expired and would instantaneously vanish...Poof.

 

Hmm...I wonder how that's going to work this year 🤔 

 

I converted all my TF over to points.   O cancel my flights too much and didn't want to deal with it. 


 

Hmmm. There's really no scenario in which the funds would vanish instantaneously.

 

1) Funds are good for travel through September 7, 2022, period. When cancelled they retain the September 7, 2022 expiration. You can't book a flight for any date past September 7, 2022.

 

OR

 

2) Funds are good for travel through September 7, 2022, and once used obtain a new expiration date of one year from the date of booking. If you were to cancel a reservation for say, an August 7, 2022 flight that you booked in July, 2022, you'd receive funds with an expiration of July, 2023. Any further bookings would retain that July, 2023 expiration.

 

 

To be clear, the 2nd scenario is how it's actually been working. Those with September 2022 expiration funds that used them to book new flights did find upon cancellation that they were now valid for one year from booking (effectively shortening their usability timeframe if booked prior to September, 2021). The funds didn't revert back to their September 2022 expiration. This is because Southwest's systems likely don't have the ability to retain two different expiration dates for each travel fund, and/or prioritize them correctly.

 

I suspect we'll see the same behavior going forward. Perhaps someone will post here with their experience. I do think that this only affects a small number of customers, as many converted their funds to points or have already used them to rebook.

 

 

Re: Travel Funds expire 9/7/2022 (planning trip for Dec 2022)

5travelswa
New Arrival

Thank you everyone for your replies and insight.

 

I did try booking a quick trip for my husband with some of the funds he had (expired 9/7/2022), but when I canceled, the expiration date remained 9/7/2022.  They did not take on the new "valid 12 months from booking" as suggested.  I'm thinking that policy has now changed since we are now in 2022 and inching closer to 9/7/2022.

As I get closer to finalizing my plans for December (and those flights open up), I may reach out to Southwest.  I'm really hoping I don't lose all the money, don't mind having to pay something, but we are a family of 5 and those Travel $$'s really added up. I understand and appreciate the advise on letting them expire, then pay $100 for voucher, but I'd like to have flights booked before waiting until end of Sept (or longer) for a voucher.

I really  had every intention of taking a trip and honestly thought 9/7/2022 was very generous and gave "plenty of time" to use...but we all know what has been happening since then.

Anyway, if I gain anymore insights, I'll share here what I learn.  Again, very grateful for the comments and suggestions,

Thanks,

Re: Travel Funds expire 9/7/2022 (planning trip for Dec 2022)

KC308
New Arrival

I'm in the exact same boat! I rebooked a trip for our family of 5 in June 2021 for Dec 2021 using travel funds from Mar 2020. Unfortunately, my son started to have COVID like symptoms so we had to cancel again... Now we have $2500 in travel funds with expiration of 6/11/2022. (lucky you, still got 9/7/22 expiration date, not me!)  It is too expensive or limited availability to book for spring break and our kids won't be out of school until end of June.   We have a few trips coming up this summer but I don't want to see ticket price goes up while waiting for the funds to expire.  

 

What if I book a trip that costs more than the travel funds before the funds expire and cancel. Will the new travel funds still have expiration date of 6/11/22? or since I paid more, will it generate a new expiration date? Any thought or suggestions? I wish I had known that I had an option to convert the travel funds to points but it seems like it was for a limited time.