Some people have been able to extend the expiration date for their travel funds after they expire by paying a $100 reinstatement fee. The travel funds are then converted into LUV vouchers when the reinstatement takes place. You may only have 6 months to request the reinstatement and the voucher may only be valid for 6 months from issue. The good thing about getting a travel voucher is that you can use that for anybody. So in some instances, it could be very well worth it to pay $100 dollars so that you can apply those funds to a different traveler.
Regardless of the type of fare that you purchase, you can cancel your fare 10 minutes prior to departure. If you’ve purchased an Anytime fare or Business Select, you’ll simply get a refund but if you purchased an Anytime fare you’ll be issued travel funds. Southwest travel funds will expire one year from the purchase date (booking date) of the original flight and can only be used for the passenger who had their ticket cancelled.
Southwest allows you to make changes for free to your flights. If you change your flight, you’ll only be responsible for the difference between the fares. This can work in your favor if the price decreases from the time of your purchase. If the price in cash or Rapid Rewards goes down from the time you book, you can rebook your flights and be credited for the difference. Wanna Get Away fares get a travel credit and Business Select and Anytime can get a cash refund. When the flash deals come out always check if your route is cheaper.
Unlike many other carriers, Southwest does not allow you to book flights a year out in advance. Instead, you may only find flights about 7 months in advance. Southwest will publish their release dates and you should be able to start making bookings early that morning (though sometimes technical difficulties require you to wait). With the new flights coming to Hawaii, you’ll definitely want to jump on some of these routes as quickly as possible to lock down the best rates Click here to see the latest release dates.
Business Select, Anytime fares, and A-List members can opt for earlier flights when they have opened up free of charge. But Business Select and Anytime fares can simply be changed to earlier flights when there’s availability so sometimes it doesn’t make sense to go the standby route. Wanna Get Away passengers can sometimes get put on standby two hours before or after their flight — this is an unstated policy though so YMMV. The deadline for making changes to your flight is 1 hour prior to departure.
One important tip for flying Southwest, is that last minute flights on Southwest can be very expensive. It’s somewhat dependent on the route but it usually pays to book Southwest flight well in advance. This is especially true when flying internationally — for more on all of the Southwest international routes and prices, click here!
Wanna Get Away fares are the cheapest Southwest fares and don’t allow you to cancel them and get a cash refund (though you still get a credit for the originally ticketed passenger only). These fares can be dirt cheap, especially when Southwest runs flash sales. These flash sales come around a few times a year and offer some exceptionally low fares as low as $40 one way. Keep an eye out for these fares because they can save you tons but you they require you to act fast and are often limited to flights on certain days of the week (that aren’t very desirable like Tuesday or Wednesday).
If you’re flying on a holiday or it’s near your birthday or anniversary, you should let the flight attendants know and they might hook you up with a free drink or two. We’ve also gotten free drinks from just starting conversations with some of the nice flight attendants.
Southwest allows each passenger two free checked bags. So you usually don’t have to worry about paying for your luggage. If you want to check a third bag, it will cost you $75. If you’re considering flying with low-cost carriers like Frontier and Spirit, be sure to factor these savings in!
Instead of paying the high prices for business select, consider upgrading to business select at the gate. It will cost you $30 to $50 depending on the distance of the route. I usually first inquire about which spot we’ll be given upon upgrading. For example, it might be A1 or A10, you never know. If it’s near the top, that almost always means that seats in the emergency exit rows will be available (and so you might be able to get the row with only two seats or extra leg room). This usually doesn’t work on routes with high business travel traffic but often works out great when flying to places like the Caribbean. You can read more about upgrading to business select here.