Travel Tips

How to Apply Travel Funds on Southwest Airlines?

If you’ve ever had to cancel or change a Southwest Airlines flight, you may have received a travel credit or voucher towards a future flight. On Southwest, these credits are referred to as travel funds. It’s important to use these funds before they expire, usually within a year of issuance. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explain how to easily view your travel funds balance and apply them towards new flight bookings on Southwest.

What Are Travel Funds on Southwest?

Travel funds are credits placed in your Southwest Airlines account when you cancel or make qualifying changes to paid flights. For example, if you cancel a nonrefundable ticket, the amount you paid minus the cancellation fee will be held in your travel funds account. If you voluntarily change a flight more than 2 weeks in advance, the fare difference is usually put into travel funds.

Southwest travel funds can be used to purchase new flights for yourself or anyone else. The funds apply like cash towards the base fare and taxes only, not towards extras like EarlyBird Check-In or upgrades. Some key things to know about travel funds:

  • They are tied to your Southwest account and can’t be transferred.
  • Funds expire 1 year after the original ticket was issued.
  • The expiration date can’t be extended except in special cases where Southwest issued the credit due to flight changes.
  • Travel funds are forfeited if not used before expiration.

With this use-it-or-lose-it nature, it’s essential to keep track of your balance and expiration dates in order to maximize the value.

Check Your Southwest Travel Funds Balance

The first step is to log into your Southwest account online or in the mobile app to view your current travel funds balance and expiration dates.

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Southwest Website

On Southwest.com, you can check your funds in your account profile:

  1. Click “Account” in the top navigation
  2. Click “Account Activity” from the dropdown menu
  3. Select “Travel Funds” on the sidebar

This will display your travel fund credits, organized by confirmation number. You’ll see the amount, expiration date, and whether the credit is reusable or not.

Southwest Mobile App

In the Southwest app:

  1. Tap the profile icon in the bottom right
  2. Tap “Account”
  3. Select “Travel funds”

You’ll then see the full list of travel funds in your account with key details on each.

Monitoring this often allows you to use the funds before expiration. You can also set calendar reminders for any that are expiring soon.

Booking a New Southwest Flight

Once you know your available travel fund amount, you can start booking a new flight to put those credits towards. Follow the regular process as if purchasing with cash, and you’ll be able to apply funds at the payment stage.

On Southwest.com or the app:

  1. Enter your departure and arrival airport codes along with travel dates
  2. Select the flight(s) you want
  3. Fill in passenger information
  4. Proceed through to payment to apply travel funds

Be sure the passenger name matches the account holder of the travel funds when booking. The funds are tied to the person, so booking under the same name ensures the credits appear.

Apply Travel Funds at Payment

The key step is applying travel funds during the payment process of booking a flight. Southwest makes this easy.

On the payment page after selecting flights:

  1. Your travel funds balance automatically populates in the “Use Travel Funds” box.
  2. Adjust this amount up or down if needed.
  3. The remaining balance is then payable by credit/debit card.
  4. Complete the booking to redeem the funds.
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And that’s it! The travel funds are seamlessly applied like cash towards the base fare and taxes of your newly booked flight.

If you have multiple travel fund credits in your account, the system will automatically use the credit with the soonest expiration date first. This helps prevent funds from expiring unused.

You can also enter multiple travel fund credits on one booking. Just manually input each confirmation number and amount in the “Apply additional travel funds” section.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions on using Southwest travel funds:

How do I get travel funds in the first place? Travel funds are issued in these cases:

  • Cancelling a nonrefundable fare (amount paid minus cancellation fee)
  • Voluntarily changing a flight more than 14 days before departure (fare difference)
  • Southwest changing or canceling your flight (full original fare)
  • Compensation for major service disruptions

Can I use travel funds on award tickets? No, travel funds can only be applied towards the base fare and taxes on paid tickets, not towards award flights booked with points.

What if my funds expire before I use them? Unfortunately expired travel funds are forfeited, so it’s crucial to use them within the 1 year validity period. The only exception is if Southwest issued the credit due to a flight cancellation or major schedule change.

Can I transfer my travel funds to someone else? No. Travel funds are tied to the individual passenger’s Southwest account and can’t be transferred to other people.

Do my funds expire exactly 1 year after booking? The expiration is tied to 1 year after the original ticketed date, not necessarily the travel date. So it expires 1 year after you first booked and paid for the flight.

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What’s the maximum balance I can have? There is no maximum cap on your travel funds balance. You can accumulate and apply multiple credits towards future bookings.

Get the Most Value From Your Travel Funds

To recap, here are some tips to maximize Southwest travel funds:

  • Check your balance and expiration dates frequently. Set reminders if any funds will expire soon.
  • Book a trip soon after receiving a credit to use it before expiration.
  • Take advantage of Southwest sales and deals to stretch your funds further.
  • Apply funds towards longer flights or peak travel dates to get more value.
  • Consolidate multiple credits on one booking when possible.
  • Allow enough time to use funds with short validity periods. Avoid last-minute bookings.

Using your Southwest travel funds smoothly is easy when you understand how to view your account balance and redeem credits. Follow this guide to avoid losing your flight credits and fly more for less!

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