SWA Travel Funds not really good for a year

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Aug 28, 2016
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I made a reservation in March of 2016 and paid via a combination of a travel voucher that expires 10/16 and my personal credit card. I had to cancel the trip and therefore received Travel Funds from SWA. But because I used the travel voucher for a portion of the payment the entire value of the travel fund is set to expire 10/16, including the portion I paid for with my credit card. If I had not used the travel voucher, but only my credit card, for the trip the travel funds would not expire until March of 2017.

I think this is an unfair policy. SWA has refused to budge. Any suggestions? Thank you.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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I made a reservation in March of 2016 and paid via a combination of a travel voucher that expires 10/16 and my personal credit card. I had to cancel the trip and therefore received Travel Funds from SWA. But because I used the travel voucher for a portion of the payment the entire value of the travel fund is set to expire 10/16, including the portion I paid for with my credit card. If I had not used the travel voucher, but only my credit card, for the trip the travel funds would not expire until March of 2017.

I think this is an unfair policy. SWA has refused to budge. Any suggestions? Thank you.
It actually is fair. If everyone were able to use their vouchers combined with cash to book new travel and then cancelled the rebooked trip- there would be no point in the expiration deadline as the credit could be extended in perpetuity.

Are you saying you would prefer to have the voucher portion expire in October and the cash portion expire in March? Would that make a difference in your plans since the voucher portion is expiring in October anyway.
 
Aug 28, 2016
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It actually is fair. If everyone were able to use their vouchers combined with cash to book new travel and then cancelled the rebooked trip- there would be no point in the expiration deadline as the credit could be extended in perpetuity.

Are you saying you would prefer to have the voucher portion expire in October and the cash portion expire in March? Would that make a difference in your plans since the voucher portion is expiring in October anyway.
Sorry I was not clear. I paid with a $50 voucher and $160 my credit card. I'm asking the $160 only be good for a full year from date of reservation having been made. I get the voucher expired.

I do not think fair that if you do a combo payment you lose out.
 
Aug 29, 2015
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The terms of using travel funds are actually quite clear on the SWA website. This the price for being able to re-price a trip at any time and get a credit in your account to use for a future trip. It means that when you go to use those travel funds later on, all funds you add to those travel funds expire on the earliest date.

Southwest doesn't budge on this in general. They tend to be the most lenient airline around, when it comes to letting you rebook as it is.

What you might be able to do is let the funds expire, then contact customer relations and ask the funds to be released as LUV voucher, minus the $100 service charge. Sometimes they will do that.
 
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Feb 9, 2016
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It probably would have been best to ask if you could have turned that voucher into southwest miles. For your present situation, have you asked that question ? Ask them if you can use the funds to purchase miles to put into your account. Dollar for dollar you will not get the value by purchasing miles but the expiration date on miles is a lot longer out.
 
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kenish

Sep 1, 2015
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What you might be able to do is let the funds expire, then contact customer relations and ask the funds to be released as LUV voucher, minus the $100 service charge. Sometimes they will do that.
The downside risk is if they don't agree to a favor, you forfeit the entire amount (voucher *and* credit card).

@R. O'Brien As others mentioned, SWA policy is quite a bit more generous than other airlines, since they don't charge a $200-$400 fee to change a ticket or get a credit for future travel. You would be "down" by double this amount on any other airline since you've cancelled twice.

Also, SWA is exceptionally transparent and "plain English" on the rules. Simply put, you can't kick the can down the road and get serial extensions of the expiration. Sorry if this seems unfair but it's the "least unfair" of all the major airlines I know of.
 
Aug 28, 2016
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The downside risk is if they don't agree to a favor, you forfeit the entire amount (voucher *and* credit card).

@R. O'Brien As others mentioned, SWA policy is quite a bit more generous than other airlines, since they don't charge a $200-$400 fee to change a ticket or get a credit for future travel. You would be "down" by double this amount on any other airline since you've cancelled twice.

Also, SWA is exceptionally transparent and "plain English" on the rules. Simply put, you can't kick the can down the road and get serial extensions of the expiration. Sorry if this seems unfair but it's the "least unfair" of all the major airlines I know of.

Thanks for all the feedback but the policy makes no logical sense and is unfair. If, for example, I buy a ticket for $300 all on my card, cancel in time, I have one year from purchase date to use the $300. If instead, I had used $50 voucher that expires in, say, 4 weeks, and $250 on my card and cancel on time, I only gave 4 weeks to use the $250? I should have the full year on the $250.

And sure would like to see where this policy is spelled out because I can't find it. Thank you.
 

kenish

Sep 1, 2015
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Thanks for all the feedback but the policy makes no logical sense and is unfair. And sure would like to see where this policy is spelled out because I can't find it. Thank you.
Though I understand your point, you can argue fair/unfair all day. What prevails is the contract we agree to when purchasing a ticket. As mentioned, SWA is more generous than other airlines (and I'm not a fan or sycophant for SWA, they don't match my travel preferences).

Google is your friend, see Section 3 on page 13:
https://www.southwest.com/assets/pdfs/corporate-commitments/contract-of-carriage.pdf

SWA may have been willing to extend the expiration on the first go, but it sounds like they aren't on this second cancellation (especially if they already granted an exception the first time). Have you cancelled and rebooked often in the past? That also reduces your chances when they pull up your customer profile.

How far you escalated your request with SWA? You can always keep trying. However SWA is usually proactive at granting requests on the first engagement...their customer service people seem pretty empowered to make decisions without involving layers of managers.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
What you think is fair and how they run their business are two totally different things. Unfortunately, we can't make an airline change their policies. Our only suggestion is to use our company contacts to write to the executives one by one from the lowest to the highest and see if you can get one to make an exception.
 
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jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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Thanks for all the feedback but the policy makes no logical sense and is unfair. If, for example, I buy a ticket for $300 all on my card, cancel in time, I have one year from purchase date to use the $300. If instead, I had used $50 voucher that expires in, say, 4 weeks, and $250 on my card and cancel on time, I only gave 4 weeks to use the $250? I should have the full year on the $250.

And sure would like to see where this policy is spelled out because I can't find it. Thank you.
I'm sorry that this happened to you. I look at Southwest's policy as their form of accommodating their passengers instead of hitting them with ugly change fees. To use your example of a $300 tix, had you made this purchase from one of the other majors, the change fee would have been $200.

From a business standpoint, this policy makes perfect sense. Keeping track of partial use and credits would be a logistical and bookkeeping nightmare. Attempting to do this for their customers would create more problems than this policy does. I'm sorry we can't assist you here, but I hope we've added to your understanding.
 
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Aug 28, 2016
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I'm sorry that this happened to you. I look at Southwest's policy as their form of accommodating their passengers instead of hitting them with ugly change fees. To use your example of a $300 tix, had you made this purchase from one of the other majors, the change fee would have been $200.

From a business standpoint, this policy makes perfect sense. Keeping track of partial use and credits would be a logistical and bookkeeping nightmare. Attempting to do this for their customers would create more problems than this policy does. I'm sorry we can't assist you here, but I hope we've added to your understanding.
Thank you all. But if you have to go to section 3 on page 13 of SWA policies they are not being transparent. The shorter version of their policies does not spell this out. As for tracking this for SWA being difficult I don't see that as an issue. It's simple software to track. I have worked for large and small companies and tracking this kind of distinction is simple. And this is the first time I have ever canceled a trip and my first escalation with them got me no where. Very frustrated with how I was treated by SWA. I live near O'Hare so I have options and will not be flying SWA again. Thank you.
 
R

Realitoes

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Another example of having to find it in the birdseed details. The policy makes no sense and is wrong.
Unfortunately, not every detail can be in big bold print, just imagine the size of the pages this would require! ;)

Actually the policy is also spelled out right at the point where the voucher is applied. No birdseed here! :)

Capture.JPG

If I remember correctly, you use to able to do what your wanting, and folks abused it, kept the credit rolling basically forever. As others have indicated, SWA policies are the most consumer friendly within the industry.
 
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kenish

Sep 1, 2015
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Thank you all. Very frustrated with how I was treated by SWA. I live near O'Hare so I have options and will not be flying SWA again. Thank you.
With all due respect, if you consider this policy unfair enough to not fly SWA, you won't be flying at all ! Why? Because AA, UA, DL, etc. policies are far more restrictive and obfuscated- they would charge a $200 change fee each time your travel plans changed ($400 total in your case). That probably means you would be out the entire cost of your original ticket, and the "oldest date applies" policy still applies.

You claim SWA's policy is not transparent....for homework, find and then try to understand the policy for each of the other airlines. It will be a difficult assignment! :)

Since you will not fly SWA again, we can't help you any further on this specific issue. The only further suggestion is purchasing a fully refundable fare when your travel plans are not certain. It's a form of built-in travel insurance, and with any insurance, it's a value judgment on whether the extra (steep) cost outweighs the probability and expense of simply forfeiting a cheaper non-refundable ticket.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,567
21,563
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Unfortunately, not every detail can be in big bold print, just imagine the size of the pages this would require! ;)

Actually the policy is also spelled out right at the point where the voucher is applied. No birdseed here! :)

View attachment 1093

If I remember correctly, you use to able to do what your wanting, and folks abused it, kept the credit rolling basically forever. As others have indicated, SWA policies are the most consumer friendly within the industry.
Good catch. It is hard to miss that.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,248
10,032
113
San Francisco
Unfortunately, not every detail can be in big bold print, just imagine the size of the pages this would require! ;)

Actually the policy is also spelled out right at the point where the voucher is applied. No birdseed here! :)

View attachment 1093

If I remember correctly, you use to able to do what your wanting, and folks abused it, kept the credit rolling basically forever. As others have indicated, SWA policies are the most consumer friendly within the industry.
That's kinda what I meant about keeping track of it all. They'd have to create a whole new department to handle the calls from people who didn't think their rollover credits were correct.