Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Highlighted

Travel Funds

New Arrival

Can I use travel funds in my account to purchase a ticket for my spouse?

15 REPLIES 15
Highlighted

Re: Travel Funds

Active Member
Solution

No, travel funds are linked to the original ticketed passenger. 

 

However, it's been stated that sometime soon you can convert them to RR points, which would then allow you to use them for anyone. 

 

The timing of this opportunity and its specific details are as of now unspecified. 

 

https://www.southwest.com/RRCoronavirusUpdates/

 

Keep in mind that the "going rate" is generally more expensive than paying directly, so you may lose up to half your value.  Currently, there is a sale for 45% off, which puts the cost of points at nearly the same as paying cash.    Let's hope SW carries the "discount" over to this transaction.

Highlighted

Re: Travel Funds

Top Contributor

@gsking wrote:

No, travel funds are linked to the original ticketed passenger. 

 

However, it's been stated that sometime soon you can convert them to RR points, which would then allow you to use them for anyone. 

 

The timing of this opportunity and its specific details are as of now unspecified. 

 

https://www.southwest.com/RRCoronavirusUpdates/

 

Keep in mind that the "going rate" is generally more expensive than paying directly, so you may lose up to half your value.  Currently, there is a sale for 45% off, which puts the cost of points at nearly the same as paying cash.    Let's hope SW carries the "discount" over to this transaction.


 

I think you may be confused.

 

It's important to note that the rate to currently purchase RR points with cash (via points.com, a 3rd party Southwest partners with to offer points sales, gifting & transfer options) has nothing to do with the exchange rate Southwest will offer once the Travel Funds to RR points conversion functionality becomes available.

 

In fact, Southwest's announcement specifically says the exchange rate will be "the same rate you would be able to purchase a ticket with points today." Presumably, that's the current rate for points ticket purchases, which is 78 points per $1 of base airfare.

 

Option to convert select travel funds into Rapid Rewards® points.

We have added a new benefit for our valued Rapid Rewards Members. Those Members who have travel funds that are set to expire or funds that are created between March 1, 2020 and September 7, 2020 will have the option to convert those travel funds into Rapid Rewards points at the same rate you would be able to purchase a ticket with points today. We hope this provides our Members ultimate flexibility as Rapid Rewards points never expire, never have cancel or change fees (fare difference may apply), and you can redeem your points for anyone you choose.

 

 

Points purchases are generally not a good deal. While special offers such as the current 45% discount can make the option more attractive, purchasing points is generally best for when one might need a smaller amount to "top off" their points balance in order to obtain a specific fare.

 

In summary, purchasing points with cash is not the same as exchanging Travel Funds for points. Two completely different functions.

 

Hopefully this functionality will be made available soon.

Highlighted

Re: Travel Funds

Active Member

Point well taken.  I know it's not the SAME thing, but the recent sale in points had me fixated on the relative value of "regular" price vs 45% off.

 

Indeed, transferring travel funds to points "at the current rate" would by definition be at "full value".  It just so happens to be about half of what it would normally cost you to buy points directly.

 

So the only value "lost" in the transaction would be the accrual of additional points on the travel funds if used to book a flight directly.

Highlighted

Re: Travel Funds

Top Contributor

@gsking wrote:

Point well taken.  I know it's not the SAME thing, but the recent sale in points had me fixated on the relative value of "regular" price vs 45% off.

 

Indeed, transferring travel funds to points "at the current rate" would by definition be at "full value".  It just so happens to be about half of what it would normally cost you to buy points directly.

 

So the only value "lost" in the transaction would be the accrual of additional points on the travel funds if used to book a flight directly.


 

Well... sort of. 😉

 

You're still conflating two different things. One is the cost of points as sold by points.com (a 3rd party -- not Southwest) and the other is the relative value of points when converted from Travel Funds by Southwest, which is presumably based on the current points redemption value. Neither of these things has any effect on the other.

 

The only shared aspect of the two is the relative "cost" or "value" of a point in each scenario. Which is, I believe, what you're focused on.

 

For reference, the various costs/values are as follows:

 

-- Purchase points from points.com, regular price: 3.00 cents per point (cost)

-- Purchase points from points.com, 45% off sale: 1.65 cents per point (cost)

 

-- Redeem points for Southwest flights: 78 points per $1 (cost)

-- Convert Travel Funds to Points (presumably): 1.28 cents per point (value)

 

With regards to not accruing new points on bookings once Travel Funds are converted: Keep in mind that additional "values" may be recognized from the transferability, refundability, and non-expiration of points -- all of which are features Travel Funds do not offer.

 

Also, (prior to the temporary CARES Act tax holiday) points bookings did not trigger the collection of additional taxes, which were collected on cash/Travel Funds bookings. This also increased the "value" of a RR point by comparison.

 

Highlighted

Re: Travel Funds

New Arrival

I wish I would have known that before I changed my flight for myself and my daughter. 

I think it's disingenuous that when you go to change the flight and its confirmed it will show a Total Travel Funds of the combined amount which would make you think that since you paid for all tickets that the funds should be returned to the original payer. 

Has SWA explained the reasoning for this? Last time I checked my 5 year old daughter didn't pay for the flight and yet they keep the funds in her name. Just shady practices and that little tease just goes to show that in the end its only for profit. 

How do I get my travel funds from my daughters account or would it just be wasting my time?  

Highlighted

Re: Travel Funds

Active Member

Give them a call.  They may be able to covert them over.  Or just wait for the RR points conversion.

Highlighted

Re: Travel Funds

Top Contributor

@talljoker wrote:

I wish I would have known that before I changed my flight for myself and my daughter. 

I think it's disingenuous that when you go to change the flight and its confirmed it will show a Total Travel Funds of the combined amount which would make you think that since you paid for all tickets that the funds should be returned to the original payer. 

Has SWA explained the reasoning for this? Last time I checked my 5 year old daughter didn't pay for the flight and yet they keep the funds in her name. Just shady practices and that little tease just goes to show that in the end its only for profit. 

How do I get my travel funds from my daughters account or would it just be wasting my time?  


 

I'm not sure I understand -- would knowing this policy have made a difference in you changing your flight?

 

The reasoning for this is that airline tickets (and by extension, travel funds) are non-transferrable. Once booked, they can only be used by the originally named passenger(s). There's nothing shady about it -- it's disclosed to you when you make the purchase, and it's a standard that applies to every single domestic air carrier's non-refundable tickets.

 

Your travel funds are now held under the confirmation number of the flight you cancelled. 50% of the total would apply to you and 50% to your daughter. To use them, you use that conformation number to apply the funds as a form of payment when making a new reservation.

 

If you haven't already, set up a Rapid Rewards account for your daughter. Once the function to convert travel funds into Rapid Rewards points becomes available, you can do that for her travel funds and then use the points towards purchase of a flight for anyone.

 

 

Highlighted

Re: Travel Funds

Active Member

Yes, I am comparing cost to value, because they have a lot of similarities.  Most of us make these sorts of calculations many times a day.

 

But you bring up a good point, since they devalued points due to the tax issue.  But it seems on my check that they are "back to normal" from what I can tell.  (I lost points on a trip I booked before, then they cancelled it, and didn't tell me.  When I rebooked it, the price in points was higher). 

 

A $49 flight is only 3033 points, so 1.6 cents per point (again).  A $160 flight came out to 1.4, since taxes aren't linear.  You must have calculated your value on a more expensive flight to get 1.28.

 

So it appears there isn't a "fixed" rate.  A cheaper flight would result in fewer points per dollar, a more expensive flight more points per dollar.

 

They'll have to fix it to a certain value.  If it's 1.28, then you could "make money" spending those points on cheap flights.  If it's 1.6, then most people will lose value.

Highlighted

Re: Travel Funds

Top Contributor

@gsking wrote:

Yes, I am comparing cost to value, because they have a lot of similarities.  Most of us make these sorts of calculations many times a day.

 

But you bring up a good point, since they devalued points due to the tax issue.  But it seems on my check that they are "back to normal" from what I can tell.  (I lost points on a trip I booked before, then they cancelled it, and didn't tell me.  When I rebooked it, the price in points was higher). 

 

A $49 flight is only 3033 points, so 1.6 cents per point (again).  A $160 flight came out to 1.4, since taxes aren't linear.  You must have calculated your value on a more expensive flight to get 1.28.

 

So it appears there isn't a "fixed" rate.  A cheaper flight would result in fewer points per dollar, a more expensive flight more points per dollar.

 

They'll have to fix it to a certain value.  If it's 1.28, then you could "make money" spending those points on cheap flights.  If it's 1.6, then most people will lose value.


 

 

Sigh.

 

So, repeating again: There has been no recent points devaluation by Southwest.

 

The cost for a points booking is 78 points per $1 of base fare.

 

It was that way prior to the CARES Act tax holiday, and it remains that way now.

 

78/$1 of base fare is literally the formula that Southwest uses to calculate the points price of every fare.

 

--

 

FYI:

 

Points bookings: The total fare you pay includes the base fare plus the 9/11 fee.

 

Cash bookings: The total fare you pay includes the base fare plus the 9/11 fee, plus airport fees (which differ by airport). Previous to the tax holiday this also included additional excise fees and federal segment fees.

 

(see the attached chart)

 

--

 

When you compare total cash fares to total points fares, you're comparing different things -- one includes additional fees. So if you use that cash cost as a basis for calculating a points value, you're introducing variability.

 

As I've explained before, the reason that some different fares may represent different overall point values is because (prior to the tax holiday, and to a lesser extent now) the additional taxes and fees collected on cash fares represent a greater portion of the overall fare when the base fare is small. Or when the comparison is between different airports.

 

And comparing a pre-tax holiday fare to a post-tax holiday one is also apples and oranges.

 

Hence the importance of using the base fare only, to determine the conversion rate.

 

So, again... the fixed conversion rate remains 78 points per $1 of base fare.

 

$1 / 78 = 0.128, or 1.28 cents per point.

 

 

Hope this helps, since I'm not sure I can explain it any other way, or in more detail than I have. 😉

 

fees.png