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Travel Funds

New Arrival

I booked a flight On Aug 4, 2016 for Nov. 2016.  When booking the flight, I applied $51 in travel funds, $60 in gift cards and the rest was paid for by credit card.  When I look at my travel funds for this trip, it states they expire March 8th.  Now I know the applied $51 travel funds should expire on March 8th, but I am being told the whole credit expires because when booking it took on the earliest expiration date.  The rest of my credit should expire Aug. 4th, one year from booking, to be fair to customers. I have been in a situation before where my applied travel funds expired, but the rest of my credit didn't expire until 1 year from purchase.  Everything I read states that you have one year from purchase to use the credit.  Nowhere have I seen that the WHOLE purchase takes on the expiration of the applied funds.  If I am missing it in writing, can you please show me where to find it?  Additionally, this should be stated at the time of cancellation. If this is the policy, this is NOT customer friendly, which I thought SWA was all about. I am not trying to get anything other than what I am rightfully entitled too, which is 1 year of time from purchse date to use travel funds.

3 REPLIES 3
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Re: Travel Funds

Top Contributor

Unfortunately, that's how the system works. Any funds applied to any itinerary cause that entire itnierary to take on the earliest expiration date. That expiration date is shown on the confirmation email you receive when booking, changing or cancelling an itinerary, along with the fare rules:

 

Fare Rule(s): NONREF/NONTRANSFERABLE STANDBY REQ UPGRADE TO Y -BG WN
Valid only on Southwest Airlines. All travel involving funds from this Confirmation Number must be completed by the expiration date. Unused travel funds may only be applied toward the purchase of future travel for the individual named on the ticket. Any changes to this itinerary may result in a fare increase. Failure to cancel reservations for a Wanna Get Away fare segment at least 10 minutes prior to travel will result in the forfeiture of all remaining unused funds.

 

Southwest allows customers to resue funds without a fee (unlike most carriers), but they place limitations on them.



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Re: Travel Funds

New Arrival
Same thing happened to me!  I purchased a ticket on March 10th last year for travel at the end of March.  I used $10 in travel funds from a previous canceled trip so they wouldn't go to waste.  I paid the remaining $370 for my fare with my credit card.  I had no idea that using those $10 in funds would cause the expiration of my ticket to be Jan 21 of this year instead of the end of March.  So now I'm currently out $380.
 
I have been a loyal customer to Southwest, making them my primary choice for air travel for over 25 years, and I can safely say this is the first time I have ever been unhappy with their service.  To say I am extremely disappointed with this new way they have chosen to do business in regards to travel funds, would be a vast understatement.   
 
The first year they changed the cancelled travel funds policy I lost over $400 because I was so used to them never expiring I forgot about the change.  Since that happened I've made sure to remember that they expired in 12 months and now I find out that they also created a loop hole with the policy change to modify expiration dates if you use any previous funds!  
 
Apparently Southwest decided to join the likes of other companies that only care about being part of the "Rich getting Richer" crowd.  I'd love to meet the exec that came up with this sneaky way to steal from loyal customers.  I'm sure he got a nice raise after implementing the program as they have to be making millions on fares that are purchased and don't get used before they expire.  
 
Going to post this in as my threads as I can to make sure customers are aware as nowhere does it state that using partial funds to purchase a fare will "prorate". for lack of a better term, your expiration date.  Also, when you call customer service you are told it's a 12 month expiration from the date of travel with no mention of "unless you also used some travel funds with your purchase".
 
For those interested, there is currently a Class Action lawsuit filed in California against Southwest for this very issue.  Southwest of course filed a motion to dismiss but the court is still waiting to rule on that motion. 
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Re: Travel Funds

Top Contributor

Southwest does many things wrong, and, unfortunately, as they grow they move towards implementing more and more consumer un-friendly policies. But one thing they do not do wrong is their "no change fees" policy.

 

Unlike other carriers, they don't charge a fee to reuse funds from changed or cancelled flights - -even on non-refundable tickets. They do however place significant limitations on those funds. They always have -- this is not new.

 

It's easy to get tripped up when using them, and, sadly many phone reps just aren't great about communicating the details, which leads to confusion. (Especially concerning the initial expiration, which is one year from the date of purchase, not travel.)

 

Now, more than ever, it's up to the responsible consumer to fully understand the terms and conditions of every financial agreement they enter into.

 

Any class action regarding this is destined to fail. The tickets are non-refundable when purchased. This info, and the expiration date of the ticket/funds is communicated on every email confirmation when booking, changing or cancelling a ticket.

 

Q: There is a way to possibly recover some funds once expired -- was that option not offered to you?