Southwest Airlines Eliminates Expiration Dates On Flight Credits

Southwest Airlines announced today they’ve eliminated expiration dates on flight credits. Flight credits will now be valid indefinitely.

Beginning today, Southwest Customers will begin seeing a placeholder expiration date of December 31, 2040, on valid flight credits ahead of additional work later this year that will update technology systems to altogether remove expiration dates on flight credits.

Note: previously expired flight credits do not come back to life, this is only valid credits which are still unexpired or for flights booked out from today and beyond.

Major positive change, and hopefully something that pressures other airlines to follow suit. It really makes it easier to lock funds into a major airline with a cash booking when you know that, if cancelled, you’ll have forever to use up the credit.

This can also make it easier to use up Amex airline credits (and maybe others) since, anecdotally, a lot of people have success buying low-cost Southwest tickets and getting reimbursed. Going forward, you can buy a ticket, cancel, and bank the funds with no expiration.

Update 7/29/22: Multiple readers are reporting seeing Luv vouchers also showing no expiration anymore. Initially the reports were that Luv vouchers will continue to expire. We’ll have to wait and see if this is indeed a confirmed change for Luv vouchers as well.

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PedroNY
PedroNY

I did some trial and error with my travel credits. I recommend to book them all in Wanna Get Away Plus fare bucket, and cancel. You will get a new travel credit that can be transferred to anyone. Same goes for LUV vouchers.

Cheers,

PedroNY

monnu
monnu

PedroNY you mean to say if i have LUV voucher with expiration date,and if i book and cancel,i will get infinite validity on those LUV voucher?

VL
VL

Almost. You will get a travel credit NOT the LUV voucher. Travel credits unlike LUV vouchers can only be used for the person who’s name was on the cancelled ticket, when LUV voucher can be used for anyone… but that travel credit will never expire. Therefore if you have expiring LUV voucher you can convert it to the travel credit and “save” the funds this way.
One more important aspect – if you buy WannaGetAway fare, when you cancel it you will get the travel credit for that person and who was ticket for.. BUT.. if you buy and cancel WannaGetAwayPlus fare, you will be able to transfer that credit to any other person ones.. Only ones, after that if that fare is canceled the travel credit becomes “untransferable”… still never expires, but now stuck with that person #2.

Also, the travel credits can only be transferred in full.. so if you have $200 in transferable travel credits, and need to transfer only $100.. bad luck, you would have to transfer the full $200 to another person… so if you are to create some travel credits – create them in smaller increments (which will be equal to the ticket price), but not too small, as there is a limitation on how many forms of payments you can use for any single purchase.

Convoluted.. but at least.. never expires 🙂

Good luck

Monnu
Monnu

You are my savior…thanks

PedroNY
PedroNY

That second person can rebook the same Want To Get Away Plus fare snd cancel it again, and now they can transfer that credit over.

Do you can keep on transferring to another person if you want in a loop. Why, would you do that? Say you have a family of 5, you have $128 sitting in each account. You can book higher bucket fares, transfer them all into one account. Find a $256 fare, rebook, cancel, now you have a single $256 travel credit you can transfer. Why? Because there is a 3 types of payment limit, so you can only use 3 credits at a time. You want to book a fare that is $512, you have options, otherwise you could only use travel credits $128 + $128 + put the rest on a credit card.

Cheers,

PedroNY

VL
VL

PedroNY
Are you sure that the new travel credit received from cancelling WGAPlus fare for person #2 is transferable again? From the IT stand point of view you may be right (as it is a totally different credit with probably a different amount), but I would not be surprised if SW still tracks it down and blocks from the second transfer.
Have you tried that? Or you just assume it may be working?

Thanks!

PedroNY
PedroNY

Tried it, worked like a charm. I did P1 -> P2 ->P3 multiple times. I had total of 7 people pool into one account. After it was all there, I had to do a lot of book/cancel to get around 3 forms of payment situation. Good luck.

Cheers,

PedroNY

VL
VL

PedroNY , thank you!!!

Amazing!!! This is great news (if SW does not plug that hole), as using this technique you could easily split your one big credit into smaller ones when you actually need to transfer it to somebody. Just book a WGAP tix for yourself for the amount you want to transfer, then cancel and transfer.

This would require some searching to find the fares of the right price (what you would like to transfer) but doable.

I can totally see why SW IT implemented it that way. It would be very very difficult to trace the credit back to its original source (given that multiple credits may be combined into one new credit). Much simpler just to mark specific credit with a flag in the system if it is transferable (True/False)… and that is what they did according to your research.

Great DP. Thank you for all your efforts and for sharing!

Note: Also, if you are finally booking the ticket to fly and want to save some funds, you would probably want to book WGA fare, but at this moment those funds loose their transferability forever… so I would probably always use my credit for WGAPlus fares. The price difference is usually not significant.

VL
VL

Monnu , with new details provided by PedroNY , I have to agree, that it is better to accumulate one BIG transferable credit in one account (you can do it as Pedro suggested by booking and cancelling WGAPlus fares). This results in much simpler management of your credit (keep track of only 1 big chunk of funds vs many small ones), and also works around the 3 payment restriction.

When you need to buy a tix for somebody else, and you need to transfer only the portion of that credit, it is (as we just found out thanks to Pedro) is not a problem anymore. Just make another WGAPlus booking and cancel it right away to “chip the piece off your big credit”… and transfer it. As a matter of fact you can use exactly the same flight you need to book for another person, to make a dummy booking for yourself to “cut” a part of your credit for the transfer.

I would advise to book WGA Plus fares only to keep full transferability of the funds forever.

Great info!!! That makes a lot of other things much more usable as well… (Am ex Airline Credit, Ch ase Rit z Carl ton)…

Good luck!!

betterplanetbob

Got 4 free drink tickets from SW in the mail. Looks like they still have an expiration of Aug 31, 2023.

MikeyBee
MikeyBee

SWA has finally updated their website on whether LUV vouchers are considered travel credits:

“No. A Southwest LUV Voucher is issued by Southwest® and can be applied toward a future flight. However, Southwest LUV Vouchers have an expiration date by which travel must be booked and flown. Additionally, Southwest LUV Vouchers cannot be applied toward government-imposed charges and fees.”

VL
VL

Yes, that has been there from earlier.. so what we need to confirm now, is if we can book Wanna Get Away Plus fare, then cancel it and convert expiring LUV voucher into never expiring and “permitted to transfer once” travel credit.

Any DPs would be greatly appreciated!!

MikeyBee
MikeyBee

Just got email from SWA. They continue to muddy the water with conflicting or missing conditions. For example, footnote 4 in the email is nowhere to be found: https://ecp.yusercontent.com/mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fres.iluv.southwest.com%2Fres%2Fsouthwe_mkt_prod1%2F2934033-7230049-sec-ehero2-pod-20220801.png&t=1659373704&ymreqid=c250070f-8c4f-e1cf-1cee-b30001017100&sig=8LVoLvmUY4PajS7IrIuhng–~D

MikeyBee
MikeyBee

Has anyone canceled a flight that was originally purchased (wholly or partly) with an LUV voucher? Did the value of the voucher convert to travel funds? Were you able to use the voucher code to rebook? I haven’t seen any evidence that LUV vouchers now do not expire. The SWA website still says: “Southwest LUV Vouchers must be redeemed and all travel completed by the expiration date indicated. If applied in conjunction with any other accepted form(s) of payment, the earliest expiration date of all payments applies. Once the voucher is applied to a reservation, it can only be used by the ticketed Passenger. Validity of Southwest LUV Vouchers will not be extended and any unused value will be forfeited upon expiration.”

gary
gary

don’t know if cnn doesnt understand the difference between vouchers and flight credits or if they got confirmation from sw but

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/southwest-airlines-voucher-expiration/index.html

MikeyBee
MikeyBee

Seems they don’t even realize there is a difference.

Andrew H
Andrew H

Has anyone tried booking with LUV voucher and cancelling? Does it turn into no expiration travel credit?

Joey
Joey

Still seeing exp

Monnu
Monnu

I still see expiration date on luv voucher.
I too got that pop up of excuse our dust,but doesnt mean anything unless expiration date changes.

VL
VL

One important note…
I already see people planning spending LUV vouchers or cash or GCs or Amex Travel credits, canceling and getting never expired travel funds… Yes, that is great… but keep in mind…

If you book the cheapest fare (Want to Get Away) using cash or LUV voucher, and need to cancel, you are getting back the travel funds attached to your own account (each passenger gets their own), which now no longer expire, but are NOT transferable!
To be able to transfer those travel funds (and transfer them only ones to somebody) you would need to book Want to Get Away Plus, which is usually not that much higher.
Yes, it is unnecessary (in most cases) extra expense, but you are basically “buying” an ability to transfer those funds to someone else one time if you have to cancel.

If you book Anytime or Business Select the tix are just refundable, so nothing changed there.

Good luck.

Source: https://www.southwest.com/airfare-types-benefits/transferable-flight-credits