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Traveling on points

New Arrival

Booked a flight with my points, then tried to get on a earlier flight the day I was coming home that had availability and they wanted to charge me 21000 points to do this!!!!  Makes no sense to me . Theres a available seat why not allow your loyal customers to just take that empty seat.  Airlines are getting sooo greedy 

7 REPLIES 7
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Re: Traveling on points

Top Contributor

Southwest does require non A-List flyers to pay the fare difference if changing flights.  Unlike other airlines there's no change fee in addition to the fare difference.  In your case, the difference in fare between what you paid for the flight and what the fare at that moment was 21,000 points.  A-List flyers can switch to an earlier flight for free if a seat is available, it's a great perk for the most loyal customers.  In general, airlines charge to change flights because they don't want people booking cheaper flights then switching to the more expensive flight for free.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Traveling on points

Active Member

@TheMiddleSeat wrote:

A-List flyers can switch to an earlier flight for free if a seat is available, it's a great perk for the most loyal customers.  

 

--TheMiddleSeat


Oh I didn't realize this, what a great perk!!

 

--Jessica

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Re: Traveling on points

Rising Star

@jksobonya Here is the fine print for the benefit.  It is indeed a great one!

 

"On the day of travel, please see a Customer Service Agent at the airport for this benefit. Free same-day standby is not available at Southwest® kiosks. Free same-day standby will be provided for A-List and A-List Preferred Members traveling prior to the original scheduled departure, between the same city pairs, on the original date of travel, where a seat is available. On flights that do not meet these qualifications, A-List and A-List Preferred Members will receive priority standby and will be required to pay the difference in fare if a seat becomes available. If an A-List or A-List Preferred Member is traveling on a multiple-Passenger reservation, free same-day standby and priority standby will not be provided for non-A-List or non-A-List Preferred Members in the same reservation."

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.
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Re: Traveling on points

Top Contributor

It's not greed. it's business. I'll use $ instead of points in my example, but the same would apply to points 

 

If Southwest allowed what you suggest , what would prevent EVERY traveller from booking the cheap last flight of the day ($49), and then showing up at the airport and demanding to be put on the 2pm flight which costs $300?

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Re: Traveling on points

Active Member

@Psturgell60 wrote:

Booked a flight with my points, then tried to get on a earlier flight the day I was coming home that had availability and they wanted to charge me 21000 points to do this!!!!  Makes no sense to me . Theres a available seat why not allow your loyal customers to just take that empty seat.  Airlines are getting sooo greedy 


Literally no airline on earth does what you suggest. Every airline makes you pay the fare difference AND an outrageous change fee, *except* for Southwest. They only make you pay the fare difference (and not even that, if you are an A list member, I have just discovered). 

 

It's pretty hilarious that you think that once you book an airline ticket that you can change it for free and not pay for any differences with either dollars or points. Maybe your reasoning is because you purchased a flight with points using the Rapid Rewards program, you can change your flight at will since you are a RR member.

 

Nope. 

 

Although I'm quite curious what flight you are changing to that has a whopping 21,000 point increase. I just changed a flight booked with points for about 300 more points. I live within my means 😄 21,000 has to be the equivalent of several hundred dollars. It probably wasn't a Wanna Get Away fare. 

 

--Jessica

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Re: Traveling on points

Top Contributor
Solution

@jksobonya wrote:

@Psturgell60 wrote:

Booked a flight with my points, then tried to get on a earlier flight the day I was coming home that had availability and they wanted to charge me 21000 points to do this!!!!  Makes no sense to me . Theres a available seat why not allow your loyal customers to just take that empty seat.  Airlines are getting sooo greedy 


Literally no airline on earth does what you suggest. Every airline makes you pay the fare difference AND an outrageous change fee, *except* for Southwest. They only make you pay the fare difference (and not even that, if you are an A list member, I have just discovered). 

 

It's pretty hilarious that you think that once you book an airline ticket that you can change it for free and not pay for any differences with either dollars or points. Maybe your reasoning is because you purchased a flight with points using the Rapid Rewards program, you can change your flight at will since you are a RR member.

 

Nope. 

 

Although I'm quite curious what flight you are changing to that has a whopping 21,000 point increase. I just changed a flight booked with points for about 300 more points. I live within my means 😄 21,000 has to be the equivalent of several hundred dollars. It probably wasn't a Wanna Get Away fare. 

 

--Jessica


 

Unfortunately, there's lots of incorrect information here.

 

People often don't understand the differences in how standby works on Southwest vs a legacy carrier, and this is where the frustration and anger can come from -- when a flyer expects standby to work on Southwest the way it does with nearly everyone else. Your post helps illustrate that confusion, but in the reverse -- an understanding of how Southwest does it with an incorrect assumption that this applies to other carriers as well.

 

It doesn't. Standby policies on legacy carriers vs standby on Southwest are very different things.

 

Most legacy carriers charge only a small fee for standby travel or same-day changes, and none charge a fare difference. For example, on Alaska it's $25 or $50, and on most others it's $75. And this is often waived, automatically for loyalty program members, with certain fare types, or at the discretion of an agent.

 

Standby changes are relatively inexpensive on almost every carrier except Southwest.

 

On Southwest, standby isn't available for free unless you're traveling on a BS or Anytime fare, or are an A-List member. Otherwise, you pay the fare difference to upgrade to full-fare, which, on the day of travel, can often be very large (because a Wanna Get Away fare is no longer available).

 

Unlike most carriers, Southwest allows flight changes in advance with no change fee (just the fare difference), but that policy also applies to same-day or standby changes. For flight changes in advance, Southwest is a clear winner. But for standby or same-day changes, nearly any other carrier comes out on top.

 

Generally, Southwest fares vary much more than most carrier's fares do. Even within the same day, it's not uncommon to see differences on the same route of hundreds of dollars between early morning/late evening flights vs those at more popular travel times. On other carriers those differences aren't so great. Because Southwest's fares can be time-specific it's in their best interest to not allow free or cheap standby to anyone but their most loyal frequent flyers. (Otherwise, people could book the cheapest flight of the day and then attempt standby on their desired, more expensive itinerary.) On other carriers, since fares on the same day can be relatively similar in price, there's no real reason to not allow passengers to take an earlier flight for a small fee (or even without charge).

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

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Re: Traveling on points

Active Member

@chgoflyer I think we interpreted the OP differently! I initially read their post as saying that they booked a flight with points, and wanted to change their return flight home prior to travel, and it was a 21,000 point increase (hence paying for the difference in fare, change fee info, etc). But re-reading it, it sounds like they were trying to change it on the day of travel itself, which is a different situation. I'm not nearly as familiar with same day standby rules, so thanks for explaining it! It makes sense now why there was such a large point variation. 


--Jessica