One of the things we love most about Southwest Airlines is the option to cancel a flight and put the unused funds towards future travel. If you’ve made use of this perk and have future travel plans, it’s time to cash in.
You can use your funds to fly for free on your upcoming trip. Not sure how best to use your Southwest Travel Funds — or even how to check what funds are available to you? We’re here to walk you through the process.
What are Southwest Travel Funds?
Southwest Travel Funds are essentially credits toward future flights. They aren't the same thing as miles you earn from one of the air carrier's co-branded Chase credit cards. A passenger earns these funds when they cancel a Southwest reservation for any reason up to 10 minutes before the flight is scheduled to take off.
You can also earn credits towards future flights from:
- Southwest gift cards you’ve been given
- Southwest LUV vouchers you’ve received for inconveniences on past trips
These can be used similarly to Southwest Travel Funds, but different rules may apply.
You can redeem your funds by going to the Southwest website at Southwest.com, by phone, through the mobile app, or at a Southwest ticket counter for future flights. You can reach Southwest customer service at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792).
You can also use Southwest Travel Funds to cover any taxes and fees associated with rewards travel. And since Southwest doesn’t charge cancellation fees, the entire cost of your canceled ticket can be put toward your next flight; you’ll pay only if there’s a fare difference.
If you’ve canceled a flight in the past, it’s important to know that you’ll have only one year from the date the ticket was issued to use your funds toward a future flight. You’ll need to complete your trip by the expiration date, so booking something for the future the day before your funds expire won’t work. Furthermore, booking a new flight won’t extend the expiration date of the funds should you decide to cancel again.
As for gift cards or LUV vouchers, you can find the expiration date listed on the card or travel voucher, or you can check the expiration date online.
Another caveat is that you can’t use your Southwest Travel Funds to purchase a ticket for another person. So if you’re not planning to travel within the year and you want to transfer your funds to a friend or relative, you’re out of luck. If you’re nearing the expiration date on your Southwest Travel Funds, do yourself a favor and take a last-minute trip — or risk losing your funds for good.
How to use Southwest Travel Funds
To see how much money you can put toward your next trip, view your travel funds on Southwest's site. If you received the funds on December 3, 2019 or later, log into your Rapid Rewards account and click "View Travel Funds" to view your available balance. When you're ready to use the money, you'll have to manually enter the travel fund info when you book your new flight.
If you received travel funds before December 3, 2019, the process is different. Visit Southwest’s Check Travel Funds page to look up your info. You'll enter your name and confirmation number for your canceled ticket; you can enter up to four confirmation numbers at a time.
It’s important to keep track of your flight confirmation numbers if you plan to use the lookup tool, since this information won’t be accessible from your Rapid Rewards account. If you’ve misplaced your flight confirmation number, try doing an email search for your Southwest confirmation notice.
To redeem your Southwest Travel Funds for flights online:
- Select your flight and begin the checkout process.
- Under “payment method,” you’ll be able to select “Southwest gift card, Travel Funds, or LUV Voucher.”
- Enter the information requested (e.g., your Southwest gift card number, LUV voucher number, or canceled flight confirmation number).
You can also call Southwest or visit a ticket counter to redeem your unused funds.
How to make the most of your Southwest Travel Funds
Sometimes, your Southwest Travel Funds won’t be enough to cover the cost of your flight. This can be frustrating, especially if you weren’t planning to travel and just want to make use of your funds. But with Southwest Rapid Rewards, you’ll always earn bonus points toward future travel when you have to make a purchase.
If your Southwest Travel Funds aren’t enough to cover the cost of your upcoming flight, consider using a Southwest credit card to cover the difference. Chase is the credit card issuer for the Southwest credit cards, but you'll earn Southwest rewards, not Chase Ultimate Rewards. You’ll rack up some serious Southwest point and perks through one of these credit cards, which are known for being some of the best airline credit cards.
For example, a Southwest credit card can even help you earn the Companion Pass faster, which lets you take a travel companion with you for free on all your Southwest flights, excluding taxes and fees. You can also use travel funds in conjunction with Rapid Rewards points or with a Southwest gift card.
Southwest’s cancellation policy is extremely generous and is just one of the reasons we love the airline. Even though their cards are some of the best travel credit cards, you’ll need to be aware of the rules associated with redeeming your Southwest Travel Funds and keep track of any information you’ll need to access your funds. With these tips in mind, you can worry less about canceling flights because of a travel disaster and start putting your funds toward your next travel adventure.
FAQs about Southwest Travel Funds
How many Southwest travel funds can I use?
You can use up to three forms of payment per Southwest transaction, including travel funds and vouchers. As long as your travel funds are valid for the flight date and passenger(s) in question, you can apply as many as three separate vouchers to the same purchase.
It’s important to note that because Southwest only allows up to three forms of payment per transaction, your combined vouchers must cover the entire cost of the flight(s), including fees and taxes. If you don’t have enough in travel funds to pay the entire balance — or are using LUV vouchers, which require taxes and fees to be paid separately — you’ll be limited to using two vouchers. In that case, you will need to use an alternate form of payment, like a travel credit card, for the balance.
Can I use my travel funds on the Southwest app?
Yes, you can use travel funds (as well as LUV vouchers and Southwest gift cards) when booking a flight through the Southwest mobile app.
As with all other Southwest booking platforms, you are limited to a total of three payment options per booking. If you are using multiple travel funds or LUV vouchers to book a flight, you’ll need to ensure they cover the full cost (airfare plus any government fees, taxes, or charges).
Otherwise, the maximum number of travel funds or vouchers you can use per booking is two. That is so you can cover the difference with a credit card or other payment method without exceeding the three-payment-method maximum.
Should I convert my Southwest travel funds to points?
If you have unexpired Southwest travel funds, you’ll have the option to convert travel funds into Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Depending on how you plan to use those funds, this may or may not be a good idea.
If you plan to book a flight prior to your funds’ expiration, converting might not make sense. In many cases, you could lose money on the funds-to-points conversion, which gives you less flight for your money.
However, there are some cases in which converting might be the right idea. This is the case if:
- You have existing Rapid Rewards points but are slightly short of how many you need to book the desired flight. Converting funds to points would give you a large enough balance to book the trip you want.
- Your funds will expire before you can use them. In this case, converting to Southwest points is a great way to keep the bulk of your credit from expiring and preserve your credit for future use.
- You book flights for your family, friends, or other groups. Travel funds are linked to your name and can be used only for your own flights. Rapid Rewards points can be transferred, shared, or used to book flights for others.
How do I extend my Southwest travel funds?
Southwest travel funds expire one year after the original purchase date, regardless of when your original flight is changed or canceled. Although Southwest never charges change fees, it also has a very strict policy of never extending travel funds beyond that one-year date.
If your funds do expire before you’re able to use them, all is not lost. You can call Southwest and ask that your expired funds be converted into a LUV voucher. If approved, this one-time courtesy comes at a cost of $100 (which is deducted from the voucher’s value). You’ll then have six to 12 months to spend the funds on that LUV voucher.
LUV vouchers can be used by anyone — not just the original traveler — offering even more flexibility for the use of these funds.
Note: Southwest has a special website page dedicated to COVID-19 travel information, including how coronavirus is disrupting travel to certain destinations and how it may impact your refunds and travel funds.
Can I transfer my Southwest travel funds to someone else?
Southwest travel funds are assigned to a specific traveler and, as such, can be redeemed on airfare only for that traveler. If expired travel funds are converted to a LUV voucher — or if unexpired funds are converted into Rapid Rewards points — those can be transferred to or used by someone else.
Generous Welcome Bonus
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points (plus a 30% off promo code) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
3X points on Southwest purchases; 2X points on participating Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners; local transit and commuting, including rideshare; and on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming; and 1X points on all other purchases