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Expiring Travel Funds

KKilmer
New Arrival

I as many work hard for my money and the joy to be able to take my family on a trip that requires air travel.  I also spent 10 years in financial analysis in the airline industry so I know a bit about policy tactics.  I had to cancel a trip due to a hurricane tearing through Panama City, FL causing our family to have to rebook the dance national to Galveston, TX.  I rebooked and I had $600 of funds left to use.  The expiration date was 1.1.2020.  In the main body of the cancellation email, the message states to apply the funds before the expiration date.  It doesnt say in the main body to complete the travel by the expiration date, which would be EXTREMELY easy to state in the MAIN BODY messaging.  So shame on Southwest for burying that key necessity in the FINE PRINT.  If a representive, once you discover this error you have made says, "read the fine print at the very bottom"  the Company, their attorneys and their marketing department who approve every bit of the layout ought to be shamed for skillfully and intentionally bilking consumers out of hard earned cash.  And what does Southwest mean by Transparency?  I would not have expected Southwest to take $300 of unearned money just to issue an extension (which they contributed to that error).  Agregious.

9 REPLIES 9
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Re: Expiring Travel Funds

jksobonya
Active Member
Solution

It's pretty clear on the Southwest web site that that is exactly what it says:

 

https://www.southwest.com/flight/travel-funds-search.html

 

Things to know before you book

All travel booked with unused funds or a Southwest LUV Voucher must be completed by the expiration date. Don’t let your trips takeoff without you!

 

--Jessica

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Re: Expiring Travel Funds

maricris823
New Arrival

This also just happened to me, even though part of the purchase was less than 5 months ago. I went to book and saw 100% expiring and travel had to be completed in my case by next week. 

 

The good news is I learned Delta has the same refund policy plus they actually let you look up your redunds in your account with clear expiration information. This was the single reason I always flew southwest. I am now switching to Delta. I have 11 years in the industry as well, and this whole thing is shadey.  

 

Apparently WN has some extension policy that wasn't even offered when I called to ask why all my funds were expiring, even from an August purchase. Poor service, the agent didn't offer anything other than a tough luck attitude, and as an ex-res agent, I was really nice because I know how hard that job is. 

 

 

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Re: Expiring Travel Funds

dfwskier
Top Contributor

@maricris823 wrote:

This also just happened to me, even though part of the purchase was less than 5 months ago. I went to book and saw 100% expiring and travel had to be completed in my case by next week. 

 

The good news is I learned Delta has the same refund policy plus they actually let you look up your redunds in your account with clear expiration information. This was the single reason I always flew southwest. I am now switching to Delta. I have 11 years in the industry as well, and this whole thing is shadey.  

 

Apparently WN has some extension policy that wasn't even offered when I called to ask why all my funds were expiring, even from an August purchase. Poor service, the agent didn't offer anything other than a tough luck attitude, and as an ex-res agent, I was really nice because I know how hard that job is. 

 

1) As of 12/3 SW also lets you see  your travel funds(created on or after that date) and expiration dates on line

 

2) SW clearly states that if one uses travel funds to buy a ticket, and then that ticket gets cancelled, that the expiration date for the travel funds will be the expiration date of the used travel fund that comes up soonest. My guess is that's why you had a fund expire in 5 months.

 

3) SW lets people convert expired travel funds to vouchers for a fee of $100/travel fund. This can only be done after a fund expires.

 

Delta charges$200 every time you change or cancel a flight. I don't know about you, but that would kill me. I trade in tickets for lower priced tickets all the time. Not on Delta.

SW's policy gives me flexibility. I have a friend who needs survey, but we don't know exactly when. I have  three outbound flights on three different days. I'll take one flight and cancel two   and get travel funds. Doing that on Delta would cost me $400.

 

HAppy flying to you whatever you decide to do.

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Re: Expiring Travel Funds

maricris823
New Arrival

Yes, after learning about the $100 fee to extend the date, I went back to customer service and asked for it. I don't understand why it wasn't offered to me in the first place. And as someone noted elsewhere, the "must complete travel by" and "this adopts the old expiration date" should be really obvious. My mom died. I had a trip planned and canceled it. I wanted to use these now to book the funeral in the spring, we all agreed it was too hard to do in the winter with small kids and the early winter back east. I know that isn't their problem but if I had known, I would have booked one leg only with the refund and the other leg paid.  Im not dumb, this is an obvious trick. 

 

Anyway, I got the extension information. I shouldn't have had to complain to find out about it. About any of this really. It all feels like they want you to forfeit money. Yes, it Is bad business to hide credits, not remind if expiration, and not advise of any unusual situations on pirchase. It IS their job. 

 

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Re: Expiring Travel Funds

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

I would counter that it's the customers job to keep track of their flight credits and any associated funds since they are the ones canceling or their changing their flights.

 

Expiration dates are shown on every confirmation email you receive, and Southwest now allows you to look up funds on the Southwest website. When you apply funds to a new booking, the website specifically tells you that those funds will take on an earlier expiration date, although many people fail to notice this information.

 

Southwest, unlike Delta, allows customers to apply funds to new flight bookings without a heavy rebooking penalty. With this comes the responsibility to track your own funds.

 

The representative probably did not mention the voucher conversion of expired funds since this is a special consideration Southwest makes, on a case-by-case basis. This is not a published policy, and this is subject to change at any time.

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Buried Disclosure: Deceptive

A_more
New Arrival

Similar to others, I tried to use my expiring travel funds only to discover that I need to FLY by the expiration date.  The email I received for my cancellation has a 1 footnote and in small print at the bottom of the email indicates that "All travel involving funds from this Confirmation Number must be completed by the expiration date."

 

I work in a regulated industry and our lawyers would NEVER allow us to include such important details in a footnote and fine print.  Super shady practice for Southwest to keep more of the unused funds.

 

So, our spring break plans which had to be cancelled last year are again dashed this year with $437 down the tubes.  This is the kind of thing you share with friends and family as a buyer beware. 

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Re: Buried Disclosure: Deceptive

dfwskier
Top Contributor

@A_more wrote:

Similar to others, I tried to use my expiring travel funds only to discover that I need to FLY by the expiration date.  The email I received for my cancellation has a 1 footnote and in small print at the bottom of the email indicates that "All travel involving funds from this Confirmation Number must be completed by the expiration date."

 

I work in a regulated industry and our lawyers would NEVER allow us to include such important details in a footnote and fine print.  Super shady practice for Southwest to keep more of the unused funds.

 

So, our spring break plans which had to be cancelled last year are again dashed this year with $437 down the tubes.  This is the kind of thing you share with friends and family as a buyer beware. 


Have your funds expired? If so, read a post upthread about converting travel funds into vouchers - cost $100/travel fund.

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Re: Expiring Travel Funds

stingerjay
New Arrival

Hello: i have a similar issue and have funds that expire next week because we are still not able to travel after just having our baby which caused us to cancel our flights last year because of my wife's medical travel restrictions.  What is the best time frame that one should call when seeing if they can convert to the LUV voucher given that those expire 6 months from date issued? Being that my son is only 2 months old now, we still wouldn't want to travel with him just yet if i call this month and would have to use them in Aug. Is there a time limit for calling in after funds expire?  Thank you for anyone that helps or comments.  

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Re: Expiring Travel Funds

dfwskier
Top Contributor
Solution

@stingerjay wrote:

Hello: i have a similar issue and have funds that expire next week because we are still not able to travel after just having our baby which caused us to cancel our flights last year because of my wife's medical travel restrictions.  What is the best time frame that one should call when seeing if they can convert to the LUV voucher given that those expire 6 months from date issued? Being that my son is only 2 months old now, we still wouldn't want to travel with him just yet if i call this month and would have to use them in Aug. Is there a time limit for calling in after funds expire?  Thank you for anyone that helps or comments.  


First of all, congrats on the baby.

 

Here's my understanding. If I am wrong about anything, I'll let someone else chime in.

 

1) you can convert travel funds to vouchers after the funds have expired. The cost is $100 per fund. You and your wife would process separately. Do you have more than one each? If so, 

use them combined to buy a flight to anywhere, and then cancel that flight. In doing so you turn multiple travel funds (and multiple $100 fees) into one travel fund and one $100 fee.

 

2) I believe you have to do the above within 6 months of the travels funds expiration date.

 

3) Vouchers issued in place of travel funds expire six months from date of issue and are NOT extendable.

 

So it seems that the above means you have from 6-12 months to use yor vouchers - depending on when you convert your travel funds into vouchers.