A lot of Go to Travel Gal readers want to know: Will Southwest extend the expiration dates of their travel funds and credits?
It’s important to many travelers right now who have had to change or cancel flights, thus getting refunds in the form of Southwest Unused Travel Funds (read our full guide about these funds) and the deadline of their Southwest travel funds’ expiration is close or occurred this month.
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Because these travelers know they won’t be able to use their funds before the deadline due to the concerns about travel around the virus, most were hoping Southwest will step up and extend the expiration date.
Well, good news, Southwest HAS extended expiration dates on travel funds that expire between March 1 and May 31, 2020!
Several hotel chains, for example, have also extended expiration dates for their loyalty points and other benefits in light of the worldwide issues, which we share in the below guide.
Review our complete guide to cancelling and changing travel with major US airlines, hotels and vacation rental companies
The Details of the Southwest Travel Funds Extension
At the beginning of this crisis, Southwest service reps were telling people they would not extend their travel funds much to their disappointment.
In the past, Southwest has usually extended travel funds for up to a year if you ask them, but they reduce your credit by $100 to do so. But it seemed that wasn’t even an option.
But the airline announced on their website on the evening of March 19 that due to customer feedback, they had decided to make an exception. Way to go, everyone!
Here’s how it works:
- Southwest Unused Travel Funds that expire between March 1-May 31, 2020, now expire June 30, 2021
- Newly-created travel funds due to a flight cancellation between March 1-May 31, 2020, will now expire June 30, 2021
They have granted you more than a year extension. Hooray!!
When will we see these changes?
Southwest has asked that you have patience and give them a couple weeks to make these updates.
“This gesture of goodwill gives customers an additional year to use their funds and take the same trip next year as they were planning to take this year,” it says on the Southwest website.
What About Flight Cancellations?
Southwest has announced that they will cut flights by at least 20% sometime soon for flights from mid-April to early June. And Go to Travel Gal readers are reporting that their flights are beginning to be cancelled.
That means your flight might get cancelled, too.
According to the US Department of Transportation, if an airline cancels your flight, they are required to refund even nonrefundable fares back to you in the way you paid for it. So if you paid with a credit card, you should get money that back on your card if you want.
Southwest said on this same page that they will OFFER cash refunds for those whose flights are cancelled and who don’t want to re-book or use travel funds for future travel and those will not expire (per above) until June 30, 2021. But they are hoping you’ll take the travel fund instead, so they can keep the cash. And I understand. They need it right now!
I had great hope that Southwest would do right by their customers, because they are known for their outstanding customer service, which is one of the many reasons I love to fly Southwest.
Way to go, Southwest! We can’t wait to fly you again as soon as this is all over.
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