17 Oct No Change/Cancellation Fees Sets Southwest Airlines Apart

I got mad LUV for Southwest Airlines! The more that I fly them, the further I fall in LUV! Yet for as much as I enjoy them, I am not blind to the fact that many people do not share my burning love…

The haters out there will try to put Southwest down, saying…

“They don’t offer a first class product. The boarding process is annoying. Rapid Rewards elite status is nothing special. And they don’t even fly to Europe…”

Hogwash! You can keep your fancy first class seats and European routes, because Southwest offers me the single greatest perk of any airline, foreign or domestic, that keeps me on the gravy train!

No Change/Cancellation Fees

Airlines make a TON of money capitalizing off of your ever-changing plans… not Southwest, though!

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American Airlines is on pace for $1B in Cancellation/Change Fees this year…

And they love to tell you all about it each and every chance that they get!

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SW and I both hate change fees!

In my opinion, this is the single most valuable attribute that an airline can offer. Whether you are a first time flyer, or an A-List Preferred Elite Rapid Rewards member, this benefit is available to you. Southwest’s no change/cancellation fees applies to all – fancy suit or flip flops!

Seriously, show me a better airline benefit…

And don’t tell me about some super special elite benefit like personalized tarmac car service!

Plans change and Southwest allows me the flexibility to book flights, change flights, cancel flights – without the ridiculous fees. The only thing you will pay is the difference in airfare.

Not only can you cancel trips when plans change, but you can also re-book your existing flights and receive a refund if the airfare decreases below what you originally paid. That means it literally pays to keep monitoring for lower fares after purchasing your flight!

Fare Types

The type of refund you receive will depend on the type of Southwest fare you booked, and when you booked it.

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Different fare types = different prices = different benefits

Business Select and Anytime fares are considered refundable (which is why they typically cost more) and you may request a refund to your original form of payment or apply the fare toward future travel on Southwest Airlines (for the originally ticketed passenger only).

Wanna Get Away fares are considered nonrefundable but  you can still request a refund to your original form of payment if purchased within 24 hours of purchase. If you past the 24 hours after booking you may cancel and apply the fare toward future travel on Southwest Airlines (for the originally ticketed passenger only).

Note – Nonrefundable fares that are cancelled outside 24 hours will result in future Travel Funds, which must be used to purchase a fare travelling within 1 year of the original date of purchase.

While Southwest is generous to provide this benefit, they will not be proactive about alerting you when Travel Funds are set to expire, so always be sure to track your own funds and set reminders/alerts regarding expiration! Some suggest that it is possible to extend this date by calling customer service, but your experience may vary.

You can always check your Travel Funds Balance and Expiration here!

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My Personal Experience – I use this benefit like CRAZY! I frequently find myself booking 4 to 5 trips during a Southwest Fare Sale, only to cancel 3-4 of them shortly after. I have had much practice with the No Change/Cancellation Fee policy and the one thing I cannot stress enough is to definitely pay attention to your Travel Funds expiration dates!

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One last bit of advice – be very careful carrying forward old travel funds to new reservations, as the expiration dates of your old Travel Funds will apply to any new funds…

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The Rapid Rewards Points Factor

While the no change/cancellation fees benefit is valuable when paying cash for Southwest flights, it is even more rewarding when redeeming Rapid Rewards!

That’s because cancelling a trip booked using Rapid Rewards will not result in any Travel Funds, but your points will just be deposited back into your account!

Note: Always request for the $5.60 taxes/fees per segment to be refunded to the original form of payment so you do not have to keep track of these separately!

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My Favorite Ways of Accumulating Rapid Rewards?

So glad that you asked! If you are really looking to leverage the Southwest No Change/Cancellation Fees policy then work to build your Rapid Rewards balance!

1) Transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards

2) Chase Southwest Credit Cards 50k points each – Personal Cards (Plus, Premier) & Business Card (Premier)

3) Marriott Flight & Hotel Travel Packages

Tip – If you maximize #2 & #3 specifically, you may even mess around and earn yourself 110,000 Rapid Rewards points and the Companion Pass – featuring BOGO Southwest travel!

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The Companion Pass – What’s better than BOGO travel!?

Final Thought

I absolutely LUV the Southwest Airlines No Change/Cancellation Fee Policy! I can speculatively book flights during Southwest fare sales without worrying about additional costs if my plans change!

Sure, it may not be the most glamorous airline benefit (like sippin’ Dom Peringon in Singapore Airlines Suites Class), but day in and day out I know I can count on it to maximize trip planning flexibility and most importantly – save me money!

Are you maximizing the Southwest No Change/Cancellation Fee Policy?

Is there some other more value airline benefit that I don’t know about!?

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Get your head in the clouds people!

Happy [Southwest] Travels!

DW

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