PSA: Cancel, Don’t Change, Southwest Flights

When it comes to the best fare rules in the sky, Southwest flights have the best. Generally speaking, every Southwest flight is refundable, usually as credit to use later, except with the new system.

Unfortunately, that reality has changed as Southwest made their transition to Amadeus. For one reason or another Southwest’s new reservation system doesn’t seem to offer the same flexibility that the old reservation offered with respect to changing your ticket. 

Why cancel Southwest flights instead of changing them?

Here’s the message that you get when you attempt to change your ticket:

Southwest Airlines, Nonrefundable, Southwest Flights

The second and just as important caveat is the fact that the new reservation will inherit the earliest expiration date, so you no longer have the opportunity of extended funds. What this means is, if you book a flight 6 June 2017, you’ve got only a year from that, whether you book another flight in August and cancel.

Overall this doesn’t necessarily impact the value of flying Southwest, but you just have to be mindful of the new way of doing things–that is, Cancel, don’t change Southwest Flights. 

Have you have any issue changing / cancelling your reservations since the migration to the new system?




7 thoughts on “PSA: Cancel, Don’t Change, Southwest Flights

  1. I saw this message when changing a points reservation last week. Since the reservation was for a friend and not my own family, I didn’t want to mess up the refundability so I cancelled and rebooked. (Actually I rebooked first and then cancelled to avoid a quick price change.)

    Will a points reservation really become non-refundable? That is, would the taxes be non-refundable and the points then somehow stuck with the passenger and have an expiration?

    It worked out fine for me since I have a large cache of SW RR points (from Marriott transfers for CP and UR points), but someone who has limited number of SW RR points would not necessarily be able to book a second reservation and cancel the first. Then they are risking the price going up if availability changes while they wait for the points to be returned to their account.

  2. So does this mean it’s better to book every Southwest flight as a one way? In most instances where I’ve wanted to reprice either the outbound/inbound and the inbound/outbound was actually more expensive for my chosen flights?

    • I always recommend one way flights with Southwest – I don’t know that you get any value from booking a round trip.

  3. It works fine with points. Just have to call to make changes on your flight. And, we have always recommended to buy one ways always.

  4. Pingback: Travel: Hyatt Takes Suite Upgrades Seriously - Tagging Miles

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