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Re: Travel Fund....Poor Customer Service

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@dfwskier wrote:

@gsking wrote:

 That's the problem SWA has to avoid... people getting around the 1 year rule by buying a new ticket and inheriting a new expiration.   I'm not smart enough to know why having unlimited fund expiration is a bad thing,  but the rule you suggest would allow that.   It does seem to me to not be such a bad thing. 


It's an accounting thing. Travel funds and FF points  are accrued liabilities. As long as they are o the books, thee's nothing to prevent a lot of people (many more than normal) from using them at one time. TFs with no expiration could gow to be such a large amount that it could impact the airline financially.

 

That's why some organizations (I'm thinking hotels) put a expiration date on  hotel points. It's use it or lose it..


 

That's been referenced before, but my understanding is that it's not completely true. Or at least is more complicated than that. There are ways of accounting for these types of potential unclaimed assets that can be used to avoid the necessity of expiration dates. In general, the revenue is recognized when the "performance obligation" is transferred to the customer. Meaning that the money becomes revenue as soon as Southwest has it, regardless of when or whether or not the customer actually flies.

 

Another example would be Rapid Rewards points. Previously, what you reference was often cited as the reason they expired after 2 years without account activity -- now, they never expire. Southwest found a way to account for unredeemed points, albeit at a very small cost/liability compared to their customer value, that would allow them to be competitive in the market.

 

 

 

Re: Travel Fund....Poor Customer Service

dfwskier
Top Contributor

@chgoflyer wrote:

@:

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Another example would be Rapid Rewards points. Previously, what you reference was often cited as the reason they expired after 2 years without account activity -- now, they never expire. Southwest found a way to account for unredeemed points, albeit at a very small cost/liability compared to their customer value, that would allow them to be competitive in the market.

 

 

IMO it is not a coincidence that SW changed  it's policy right after United did. So ,   the change was likely made for competitive reasons. 

 

SW could stay with AA and the ULCCs in having a restrictive policy, or join Delta, United, and JetBlue on the "points never expire" bandwagon. 

 

 


 

Re: Travel Fund....Poor Customer Service

Bshatc01
New Arrival

@dfwskier 
The travel fund, from an accounting standpoint, is no different than a gift card that has no expiration date (as most have). Financial accounting is in place for this. 

Re: Travel Fund....Poor Customer Service

gsking
Active Member

I get it... accrued liabilities in general are a bad thing.   But in the middle of a pandemic... accrued liabilities are a GOOD thing.   It's what they use to avoid borrowing money.   Look at the benefit they got from NOT buying a bunch of Maxes right before they didn't need them. 

 

Besides,  if everyone used them at once... they would be worth LESS.   The average cost per flight would go up. 

 

Not to mention inflation and interest  that they get from the free loan.

 

It still doesn't make a whole lot of sense in normal times, and less sense in these times.   Yes,  they want to force people to use their funds to fill up planes,  but the negative goodwill doesn't seem worth it. 

Re: Travel Fund....Poor Customer Service

Bshatc01
New Arrival

Thanks for the feedback. Contrary to this post, I love SW. I just think SW is better than the policy in place. They have the money...don’t refund it, that makes sense. But, I can’t wrap my brain around why new money doesn’t receive the same treatment across the board in reference to how long it is useable.  Oh well, life goes on!

Re: Travel Fund....Poor Customer Service

Papashaps1
New Arrival

I am in the same boat as many , how do you get the expired travel funds converted to a travel voucher I would gladly pay the $100

Re: Travel Fund....Poor Customer Service

chgoflyer
Top Contributor
Solution

@Papashaps1 wrote:

I am in the same boat as many , how do you get the expired travel funds converted to a travel voucher I would gladly pay the $100


 

Once your funds are expired, reach out to Customer Relations (not the regular phone line, see below) and request re-issue as a voucher. You have 6 months from expiration in which to make the request, and the voucher will be valid for 6 months from the date of issue. Vouchers can be used by anyone (not just the original passenger(s) as with Travel Funds) but are only valid for the airfare portion of travel (not any taxes or fees). The fee is (currently) $100 per fund/passenger, which is deducted from the Travel Funds balance. If you have multiple small funds for the same passenger(s) consider combining them (by applying to "dummy" booking(s) then cancelling) so that you only pay one fee.

 

Contact Customer Relations 

(I recommend via Twitter or Facebook direct message)

Re: Travel Fund....Poor Customer Service

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@Bshatc01 wrote:

Thanks for the feedback. I still circle back to why do I have to do this in the first place. It’s ridiculous that money spent 15 days ago gets tied to an old ticket and there’s NOTHING they can do?!  Please. I even told them I was fine losing the other credits I have tied to the tickets purchased a year ago. That I understand, it has been a year. I can’t get on board with losing money spend 15 days ago. It’s wrong, policy or not it is theft...I have somehow donated 400 dollars to SW for no service provided. 


 

Unfortunately, that's how it works. Any new funds added to a booking take on the earliest expiration date of any travel funds used. It tells you this when you apply the travel funds, but many people don't bother to read it. Sorry.

 

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Re: Travel Fund....Poor Customer Service

bec102896
Top Contributor

Did you try what I told you? It should help you get the expiration date pushed just a little later so you could take your trip to Tampa. The reason you could do this right now is Southwest has a waiver for all flights in mid March through the 9th of April and once you book the placeholder flight for March you can move your flight a month later and reports I’ve seen show those with expiring funds could still move the flight up to 30 days later. The waiver could go away at any time and your chance to get the trip to Tampa with the truthfully expired funds will go away and you would then have to try the contacting customer relations and hope they will give you a voucher for 6 months ($100 fee would apply) as dfwskier mentioned 

 

 

Re: Travel Fund....Poor Customer Service

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@bec102896 wrote:

Did you try what I told you? It should help you get the expiration date pushed just a little later so you could take your trip to Tampa. The reason you could do this right now is Southwest has a waiver for all flights in mid March through the 9th of April and once you book the placeholder flight for March you can move your flight a month later and reports I’ve seen show those with expiring funds could still move the flight up to 30 days later. The waiver could go away at any time and your chance to get the trip to Tampa with the truthfully expired funds will go away and you would then have to try the contacting customer relations and hope they will give you a voucher for 6 months ($100 fee would apply) as dfwskier mentioned 

 

 


 

My complete guess is that the current waiver will disappear tonight. They seem to start near the end of the week and then are gone after 3-5 days (at most).

 

Being able to change any flight within in a specific time period to any other flight (same airport pairs), regardless of fare, up to 30 days either direction is 1) caused by covid schedule changes; 2) due to systems limitations that will eventually be fixed; and 3) an incredible tool that can be leveraged to their great advantage by informed travelers.